Rick Tyler, a leading Republican analyst and so-called Never Trumper, told Yahoo News on Monday that his former boss Sen. Ted Cruz is “just a coward” for publicly supporting Trump even though Cruz knows he’s a bad president.
“You have a choice in this world: You can be a political leader and talk about principle,” Tyler told the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast. “Or you can do the popular thing — [and] in Texas supporting Trump is a popular thing — and try to hold all your supporters together because you want to maintain power. But you know what? Sometimes you’ve just got to be willing to give up power. Sometimes you’ve got to be willing to stand for the truth.”
Tyler, an MSNBC commentator and communications consultant, is a longtime Republican Party operative who rose to prominence as communications director for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a seminal figure who many consider a precursor to Trump as the first hyperpartisan figure of the age. Tyler was the communications director for Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. His new book, “Still Right: An Immigrant-Loving, Hybrid-Driving, Composting American Makes the Case for Conservatism,” hit bookstores last week.
Tyler is an outspoken critic of Trump. He recounted that his grandmother taught him that the right thing to do is always the hardest thing to do — and he says voting for Joe Biden will be hard for him, though he will do it. Cruz, he said, did not do the hard thing and stand up to Trump even though he knows better.
“It would be a very hard thing to do, for Cruz to point out all the times that Trump doesn’t tell the truth or his policies take us in the wrong direction,” Tyler said. “He would rapidly lose part of his base, which are Trump supporters.”
Tyler maintains Cruz privately indicated to him more than two years ago that he is not pleased with the Trump administration.
“Basically, we’re just going to have to get through this, was the sense that I got,” Tyler said of the discussion with his former boss.
For Tyler, the assault on truth under Trump has been particularly hard to tolerate. Trump’s opening address at the Republican National Convention on Monday, Tyler said, “was just full of lies.”
Tyler is indignant that the president has been emphasizing the risk of fraud if people vote by mail. There is no evidence that voting by mail leads to fraud, Tyler said, which is also the view of the great majority of political scientists.
“All these elections may get challenged simply because Donald Trump put out the idea that fraud exists in mail, in voting, even though their own campaign couldn’t demonstrate a single instance where it does exist,” Tyler said. He added that he believes Trump is making the charge to intimidate voters.
Tyler predicts that that strategy will backfire and that the Republican Party will be decimated in the election, leading to a potentially historic Democratic monopoly on the executive and legislative branches.
“I think the Republicans will get wiped out in this cycle, and if the Democrats can demonstrate that they can be a stable governing majority, I think they can be in a majority for a very long time, as they were for 40 years,” Tyler said. “I hope the Republicans do get wiped out, and I’m cheering for the Democrats. Not because I believe in their policies — I don’t. My philosophy right now is you need to kill the alligator that is closest to the boat. And the alligator that is closest to the boat is Donald J. Trump.”
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