Like Republican presidential hopefuls before him, Sen. Ted Cruz scheduled a visit to Donald Trump in New York City.
While in town on a fundraising push, the tea party firebrand who led the GOP charge at shutting down the government was set to squeeze in a Friday afternoon meeting with the TV reality star at Trump Tower in Manhattan.
“Mr. Trump is a friend and the senator had some down time in NYC,” a Cruz spokeswoman told Politico.
Cruz and Trump first met at the Family Leader summit in Iowa over the summer, and stayed in touch. In October, they also attended an American Spectator dinner at Washington’s JW Marriott.
Rumors of a 2016 presidential run have swirled around the Canadian-born Cruz--a potential source of conflict with Trump, a top crusader of the controversial birther movement.
When questioned about this issue, Trump told ABC News in August that Cruz is “perhaps not" eligible for the White House “if” he was born in Canada. “I don’t know the circumstances. I heard somebody told me he was born in Canada. That’s really his thing,” Trump said.
Trump became a frequent presence on the 2012 campaign trail--which may not have helped Mitt Romney, whom he endorsed. Trump repeatedly suggested President Obama was actually born in Kenya–which, if true, would make the president ineligible to hold the nation’s highest office. The Obama administration proved those accusations to be false; President Obama was born in Hawaii.
Multiple times over the years, the businessman claimed to be toying around with the idea of a presidential run himself, but never actually went through with it.
“I will not be running for president as much as I’d like to,” Trump said in 2011. “Ultimately, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.” He also floated the idea of a run for the White House in 1988 and 2000.
Trump planned to hold a debate for 2012 Republican candidates, but ultimately opted to cancel the event over low turn-out: only two contenders--Gingrich and Santorum—planned on going. Research suggested the GOP candidates were better off skipping out.
A 2011 NBC News poll found Trump’s stamp of approval on Republican candidates may be poisonous with primary voters. In Iowa, 32% of likely caucus-goers said Trump’s endorsement made them less likely to vote for a politician. And in New Hampshire, 37% said Trump’s approval would do more harm than good for the candidate.