Cruz calls out O'Rourke for supporting NFL players' protests during anthem
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate CNN ripped for hiring former Republican operative as political editor: 'WTF?!?!' The Hill's Morning Report - Can Bernie recapture 2016 magic? MORE (R-Texas) on Saturday lambasted his Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times Sanders on Trump insult: Crazy that president 'is a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and a fraud' Trump revives 'Crazy Bernie' nickname one day after Sanders enters race MORE, for supporting NFL players' protests during the national anthem.

“When Beto O’Rourke says he can’t think of anything more American (than players taking a knee), well I got to tell you, I can,” Cruz said during a campaign stop in Corpus Christi, Texas, according to The Caller Times.

Cruz, who is running against O'Rourke for state Senate, reportedly went on to use service members as an example, noting that those on U.S. military posts salute the flag and stand for the national anthem.

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Cruz's comments came as a direct response to statements O'Rourke made last week defending NFL players' on-field protests during the national anthem.

O'Rourke, asked at a town hall meeting if players' protests were disrespectful, replied that they were not and that he could think of nothing "more American than to peacefully" protest for a cause one feels strongly about, The Caller Times reported.

The attack from Cruz comes as O'Rourke continues to gain momentum in his quest to unseat the GOP senator. 

Despite the fact that Texas has not elected a Democrat to the Senate in three decades, polls have continued to show that the midterm election could be extremely tight. 

The Cook Political Report shifted the race from its “likely Republican” column to “lean Republican” earlier this month, saying that recent polling suggests a tighter contest. A poll earlier this month from Quinnipiac University that Cruz held a 6-point lead over O'Rourke.

O'Rourke announced earlier this week a $1.27 million media buy after Cruz had launched attack ads against the three-term Congressman.

"Texans in all 254 counties of our state are proving that together, we will be the big, bold, confident answer to the small, petty, negative attacks that are coming our way," O’Rourke said in a release.

-- Updated Aug. 19, 11:29 a.m.