Presidential races

Trump sides with Rubio over Cruz in NSA surveillance debate

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Tuesday sided with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) over Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on restoring surveillance measures under the Patriot Act. 
“I tend to err on the side of security, I must tell you,” Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt when asked about the metadata program.
{mosads}”When you have the world looking at us and would like to destroy us as quickly as possible, I err on the side of security,” Trump added.
The position marks a contrast with Cruz, whom Rubio has targeted for opposing the bulk metadata program. 
Trump and Cruz have maintained an amicable relationship throughout the 2016 race. The Texas senator has refused to criticize Trump while others, including Rubio, have sparred with the celebrity businessman. 
Trump recently remarked that Cruz “actually backs anything I do, because we have similar views.” Still, Cruz, who has been rising in recent polling, reiterated this week his belief that Trump won’t be the GOP nominee. 
Trump said his position in favor of the NSA data collection had been the same since before last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which stoked fears of international terrorism and revived debate over government surveillance measures. 
“I assume when I pick up my telephone people are listening to my conversations anyway, if you want to know the truth,” Trump told Hewitt. “It’s a pretty sad commentary.”
Trump indicated Monday that he had been closely tracking the back-and-forth between Cruz and Rubio over the U.S. surveillance program, which shifted to a more targeted system over the weekend. 
“I’ve been watching this little debate between Rubio and Cruz and I loved it because I haven’t been so involved. It’s the one thing [where] I haven’t been involved,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” 
“They seem to be attacking themselves very strongly because somebody wants to be standing to challenge me,” Trump said. 
Trump said Tuesday that he would be “fine” with restoring provisions of the Patriot Act to allow for the bulk data collection, something candidates such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have also called for that was banned with the passage of the USA Freedom Act, which Cruz supported.
“As far as I’m concerned, that would be fine,” Trump said. 
Tags 2016 GOP primary Donald Trump Marco Rubio NSA surveillance programs Ted Cruz
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