class="p1">Sen. Ted Cruz said Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee for president because the majority of his supporters would end up voting for the Texas lawmaker instead.
Cruz also said he could beat Trump based on his principles in an interview with WABC's Rita Cosby taped Thursday and set to air in full on Sunday.
"I think that's right. I think in time I don't believe Donald is going to be the nominee, and I think in time the lion's share of his supporters end up with us," Cruz told Cosby. "And I think the reason is what I was just saying, that if you look to the records of all the Republican candidates, there's a big difference between my record and that of everyone else if you ask, who has stood up to Washington?"
He added: "Who's taken on not just Democrats, but taken on leaders in their own party? Republican leadership, whether it was leading the fight to stop Obamacare? Whether it was leading the fight to stop executive amnesty? Or actually, just going back to last week. You know at the last Republican debate in California, every Republican candidate stood up there and said, 'We need to defund Planned Parenthood.' But last week, when we had an epic drag down fight in Washington, not one of them showed up."
Cruz, unlike the other GOP candidates, has declined to criticize Trump on the campaign trail. He also reiterated that is he is "glad" Trump is in the 2016 race and that his views have actually helped positively reflect his own. The two even appeared together at a rally against the Iran nuclear deal.
"And I'll note, you know I think the most beneficial thing Donald Trump's involvement in the race has been, I think his involvement has been tremendously helpful to my campaign, because it's framed the central question of this primary as: Who will stand up to Washington? And if that's the central question, the natural next question, that any voter will ask is, 'OK, well who actually has stood up to Washington? Who has a record in that regard?'" Cruz asked.
Daniel Scavino, Trump's senior adviser, disagreed with Cruz's comments, tweeting early Friday, ".@TedCruz expects 2get #Trump2016 supporters...saying @realDonaldTrump will not get the #GOP nominee. I disagree!"
In a RealClearPolitics average of polls, Trump leads the field with 23.2 points. Cruz sits in sixth place with 6.2 points. Trump is first and Cruz is fifth in the Washington Examiner's presidential power rankings.