President Donald Trump is heading to Texas on Monday night for a long-anticipated rally with Sen. Ted Cruz, and before he took off, he gave the press a few minutes for questions.
Reporters immediately began asking about Trump’s relationship with Cruz, which was rocky during the 2016 presidential campaign and has still experienced a bit of friction since he’s been in the White House. During the campaign, Trump referred to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted,” and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) dropped the name during his Senate debate with Cruz.
But on Monday, Trump said he has a new nickname for the senator.
“To me, he’s not Lyin’ Ted anymore,” Trump said. “He’s beautiful Ted. I call him Texas Ted.”
Watch the clip below:
Trump has a new nickname for Ted Cruz pic.twitter.com/pnwWzsoy8E
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) October 22, 2018
Perhaps the more bizarre statement came later in his remarks when he was asked if he regrets implying that Cruz’s father was in on former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
“I don’t regret anything, honestly,” the president said, keeping with his usual pushback strategy.
.@kaitlancollins: "Do you regret implying that Ted Cruz's dad killed JFK?"
Trump, on his way to Houston to rally with Ted Cruz: "I don't regret anything, honestly. It all worked out, very nicely." pic.twitter.com/3lA8bIsaF8
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) October 22, 2018
Trump’s rally in Texas has been hotly anticipated. He hasn’t held a rally in the state since he’s been elected but has made stops in several other states multiple times. On Sunday night, there was already a long line outside of the Toyota Center in Houston for the rally.
O’Rourke has since apologized for calling Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” during their debate, saying that he “took a step too far.”
“I don’t know that that’s the way I want to be talking in this campaign,” he added.
O’Rourke also came to Cruz’s defense after a group of protesters cornered the lawmaker in a Washington, D.C., restaurant.
Cruz is ahead in all the polls, holding a 7-point lead in the RealClearPolitics average. But O’Rourke has made some serious moves in the last couple of months. He pulled in a massive set of donations in the last quarter that added up to $38.1 million, which is more than Cruz has raised over his entire campaign.