Trump recounts 2016 feud with Cruz at Houston campaign rally

Trump recounts 2016 feud with Cruz at Houston campaign rally
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE on Monday opened a Houston campaign rally for Texas Republicans up for reelection by recounting his on-again, off-again political relationship with Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz5 takeaways from Barr’s testimony Republicans seek to temper fallout from latest Russia bombshells Cruz says Americans outside Beltway unconcerned with Mueller investigation MORE, calling the onetime primary foe a "really good friend of mine."

"You know we had our little difficulties, right? But actually, if you remember, the beginning, it was a love fest," Trump told a crowd at the Toyota Center, recalling the 2016 presidential campaign.

"We actually had a rally in Washington, D.C., together, and nobody could believe it," he said, referring to an event the two GOP presidential candidates held in opposition to the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal. "But we had the rally together and then we said, 'you know, it’s time.' That’s what has to happen."

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"And it got nasty," Trump added. "And then it ended and I’ll tell you what, nobody has helped me more with your tax cuts, with your regulation, with all of the things that we’re doing including military and our vets, than Sen. Ted Cruz."

Trump and Cruz put their differences aside on Monday as the two men urged voters to support the incumbent over Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeNew Hampshire is ‘must-win’ state for Warren, says veteran political reporter Democratic dark horses could ride high in 2020 Julián Castro announces 2020 White House bid, swipes at Trump MORE.

Trump strode onto the stage at 7 p.m. local time to roars from an estimated crowd of 18,000 people. As he reached the podium, he and Cruz shook hands before coming together for a brief hug.

The two men have been publicly supportive of one another since a 2016 presidential campaign in which they regularly exchanged personal insults. The president labeled Cruz "Lyin' Ted," suggested his father was involved in a conspiracy to kill former President John F. Kennedy, and attacked the appearance of Cruz's wife.

The senator blasted then-candidate Trump as a "sniveling coward" and a "pathological liar."

Earlier Monday, Trump said he no longer calls the Texas senator, "Lyin' Ted," but rather refers to him as "Beautiful Ted." 

In a brief speech prior to introducing the president, Cruz credited Trump with moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and predicted the president’s “overwhelming” reelection in 2020.

"I am honored that President Trump is here endorsing and supporting my campaign, and I look forward to campaigning alongside him in 2020,” Cruz said to cheers.