Ted Cruz: 'I salute Donald Trump'

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Cruz Defends Trump, Slams 'Washington Cartel' on Immigration

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday doubled down on his praise for rival GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

"I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration. The Washington cartel doesn't want to address that," Cruz said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Cruz was reacting to the ongoing controversy over Trump's campaign launch speech. On June 16, Trump blasted Mexico for supposedly sending "rapists" and drug runners to the US.

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," Trump said then, according to a transcript. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Since then, Cruz emerged as one of the only presidential candidates speaking out in Trump's defense. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), former New York Gov. George Pataki (R), and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) all criticized Trump and called his remarks offensive.

But Cruz praised the real-estate magnate for his blunt immigration talk.

"I like Donald Trump," Cruz said Sunday. "He's bold. He's brash. And I get that it seems the favorite sport of the Washington media is to encourage some Republicans to attack other Republicans. I ain't gonna do it. I'm not interested in Republican-on-Republican violence."

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