The evolution of Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) perspective on Donald Trump has been amazing to watch. In June 2015, for example, the month Trump launched his candidacy, the Texas Republican declared, "I like Donald Trump. I think he's terrific.... I think he speaks the truth."
Asked about Trump's racist antics, Cruz added soon after, "He has a colorful way of speaking. It is not the way I speak. But I'm not going to engage in the media game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans. I'm just not going to do it."
That, of course, was when the senator assumed Trump was a sideshow clown whose time in the spotlight would quickly fade. When the reality-show host became the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, and he went after the Texan's family, Cruz's posture changed. Indeed, as their rivalry intensified, Cruz told Americans that Trump is a “pathological liar,” a “bully,” a “narcissist,” “utterly amoral,” and my personal favorite, a “sniveling coward.”
But now that the senator is running for re-election, Cruz has come full circle, deciding to reinvent himself as a presidential ally, his previous condemnations notwithstanding.
But this uneasy alliance is not without challenges. Yesterday, for example, Trump declared he has an "absolute right" to pardon himself -- a claim Cruz surely knows to be wrong. Is he willing to say so? The Weekly Standard reported overnight:
[W]hen asked whether he agreed with Trump about the president's pardoning ability, Texas senator Ted Cruz fell silent for 18 seconds until, prompted by a reporter, he said that he hadn't studied that particular aspect of constitutional law.
The audio of the exchange, posted by the Weekly Standard's Haley Byrd, is online here. After the Texas senator's 18 seconds of silence, Cruz eventually said, "That is not a constitutional issue I've studied."
As evasive answers go, I've heard worse, but in this case, there's no reason to accept the line at face value.