Bob Dole: Trump would be better nominee than Cruz

Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) is warning of "wholesale losses" for Republicans if Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMcConnell faces GOP pushback on debt deal Democrats seek to avoid internal disputes over Russia and China GOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' MORE (R-Texas) is the party's nominee, and says only Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE can stop him.

“I question his allegiance to the party,” the 1996 GOP presidential nominee said about Cruz in an interview with The New York Times published Wednesday. “I don’t know how often you’ve heard him say the word ‘Republican’ — not very often.

“If he’s the nominee, we’re going to have wholesale losses in Congress and state offices and governors and legislatures,” Dole continued.

ADVERTISEMENT

He went on to praise Trump as someone who could work with Congress, noting his skills as a “deal-maker.”

“I think Trump can probably work with Congress, because he’s, you know, he’s got the right personality and he’s kind of a deal-maker,” Dole said.

Dole also said Trump would have an easier time in a general election match-up against Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBen Affleck: Republicans 'want to dodge the consequences for their actions' through gerrymandering Republican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema MORE.

“I think she’d be a pretty easy target in the general, if we nominate the right person,” he said.

Dole said Clinton would easily defeat Cruz.

“No, he’s not that person. If he does it, I think she’ll win in a waltz,” he said about a Cruz-Clinton general election matchup.

Dole, who’s endorsed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s campaign, has previously railed against both Cruz and Trump.

In an interview early last month on MSNBC, he panned Trump for insulting the other GOP candidates and called Cruz “so extreme.”

Dole maintained his support for Bush, calling him an “honest guy who’s had experience" and "dealt with a legislature.”

But he conceded that the former governor is struggling to gain ground in a crowded GOP field.

“He needs to break out, and he hasn’t done it yet.”