Trump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest'
Cruz in 2016 said 'something fundamentally wrong' with Christians who back Trump: book
Former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) reportedly said during the 2016 campaign that there was "something fundamentally wrong" with evangelical Christians who supported then-candidate Donald Trump.
"If you're a faithful person, if you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, emerged from the grave three days later and gives eternal life, and you're supporting Donald Trump, I think there's something fundamentally wrong with you," Cruz told friends amid a fierce GOP presidential primary, according to a new book titled "American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump," The New York Times reported.
The book by Tim Alberta, which is set to be released Tuesday, chronicles the transformation of the Republican Party and how Trump ascended to become the face of the GOP.
The Times, citing the book, reported that Trump became incensed with evangelical allies of the Texas senator after they seized on a slip-up the then-candidate made while referencing a book of the Bible.
Bob Vander Plaats, a well-known Iowa evangelical leader, was one of many who criticized Trump after he referred to Second Corinthians as "Two Corinthians" in an appearance at Liberty University. The criticism reportedly led Trump to lash out at "so-called Christians" to a party official.
Trump also voiced anger at Vander Plaats and others "hanging around with Ted," referring to them in vulgar terms, the Times reported.
Evangelical voters represent a key constituency for Trump, and advisers acknowledge he wouldn't have won the presidency without them, the Times reported.
Trump unleashed numerous attacks on Cruz during the 2016 presidential campaign. Among other things, Trump threatened to "spill the beans" on Cruz's wife, Heidi, and retweeted an unflattering photo of her compared to one of Melania Trump. He also pushed the unsubstantiated theory that Cruz's father may have been involved in the assassination of former President Kennedy.
Cruz vociferously criticized Trump during the primaries. But he has since joined forces with the president and defended his policies on numerous occasions.
Cruz's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.