Ted Cruz arrived in Central Florida for a rally Friday morning, joined by Fox News anchor Sean Hannity and former candidate Carly Fiorina, who recently endorsed the Republican White House hopeful.
During a speech at the Faith Assembly of God megachurch in Orlando, the Texas senator doubled down on promises he’s been making on the campaign trail – smaller government, repealing Obamacare and helping small business.
Between Cruz’s pitch to voters, he exchanged quips and banter with Hannity, decrying both fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. Trump, he said, isn’t pushing any real conservative ideas and had “no solutions” for his proposals.
“Donald agrees with everything President Obama and Hillary Clinton are doing,” Cruz said. “He just says he’ll negotiate a better deal on affordable health care. Two words that I never hear come out of Donald’s mouth: small business.”
To rousing applause, Cruz touched his usual talking points, concluding with a return to less government regulation in all areas.
Cruz told the audience he would establish a flat tax, abolish the IRS, do away with corporate subsidies and lobbyists’ interests, and simplify things. From there, he launched a declaration to “immediately repeal every word of Obamacare,” which he called “the biggest job-killer in the country.” He then blasted the health care law, which was destroying small businesses that couldn’t afford it and hurting individuals who couldn’t pay.
“If you just graduated from college and you’re wondering why there are no jobs,” Cruz said. “One of the big reasons is because small businesses are getting crushed with Obamacare and can’t afford it. You’re a single mom, you’re waiting tables, working two or three part-time jobs, and you’re at 29 hours, because Obamacare kicks in at 30 hours.”
With that, he also said the current Washington establishment wasn’t strong enough – and that he would be better.
“In every battle we’ve had with Obama, we’ve seen what happens,” Cruz said. “Which is, we end up not winning because Republicans pre-emptively surrender. There’s a difference if you have a conservative in the White House who says ‘if you send me a bill that’s filled with corporate welfare, I will veto.'”
When Hannity asked if there were any areas of compromise, Cruz said no. He pointed to his firm pledge to voters, but then qualified his statement by saying there were acceptable times for give-and-take.
“There are areas on which you can have little compromises,” he said. “If we have battled like crazy, and fought for lower tax rates, and we couldn’t get 10 percent – I’m going to fight tooth and nail for 10 percent. But if we end up cutting it to 12 percent? I’ll take 12 percent. But you don’t compromise on principles, you don’t compromise on the Constitution.”
Cruz and Hannity also agreed on the “cultural divide” between Islam and the United States. Cruz acknowledged the public’s frustration with Obama, who he felt was an apologist to radical Islam and “not keeping the country safe.” That was why Cruz could understand their support for Trump.
Fiorina touted Cruz as a true fiscal conservative – what she said the country needed in the White House.
Friday morning, Sen. Marco Rubio‘s press team issued a statement warning Florida voters that a vote for anyone but Rubio was “a vote for Donald Trump,” evoking Thursday night’s debate as proof Rubio was the best choice.
“Last night, by hitting home runs on issues important to Florida Republicans, Marco reminded voters here why they elected him in 2010,” the statement read. “Donald Trump once again showed that when he is pressed for policy details on important issues he has no answers. Florida voters who want to stop Donald Trump need to rally around Marco Rubio because he is the only one that has a chance of beating him.”
Cruz addressed such strategies at the rally.
“It’s Washington’s last gasp,” he said. “It’s real simple. How do you beat Donald Trump? You beat him.”