Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) has invited Donald Trump to attend a September 9 rally against the Iran deal, but other 2016 presidential candidates who want to join might not receive the same courtesy.
“Two other presidential candidates called me — they didn’t call me directly, their top aides called me — asking if they can speak and I simply referred it to Ted Cruz. It’s really not appropriate for me to make that decision since they’re all competitors,” says Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, which is helping organize the rally at the U.S. Capitol, when reached for comment Monday.
Cruz announced that he had invited Trump to speak at the September 9 rally on Thursday, whereupon representatives from two of “the most prominent of the people running” asked Klein if they might also attend. Klein says he passed the requests to the senator and his senior staff.
If Cruz declines to allow his other rivals to speak at the rally, it would be another indication that he’s attempting to cultivate a special relationship with Trump, presumably because he hopes to attract Trump’s supporters in the event the real-estate mogul flames out. It could also give oxygen to complaints that Cruz is willing to sacrifice party unity to boost his presidential prospects — an accusation that GOP critics have lodged against the Texas freshman almost since he took office.
#share#The organizers haven’t yet decided on a final list of speakers, and the famously vindictive Trump could also influence the lineup. “There’s discussion internally in the Cruz camp about that, there’s discussion in the Trump camp, and the [activists] camp,” a Cruz campaign spokesman told NR on Friday. “There’s no consensus by anybody about what the agenda is going to be, and so we’re working on that right now.”
#related#Klein “personally would want more presidential speakers,” but the idea of the rally grew out of a meeting between Cruz and other activist groups — the Tea Party Patriots and the Center for Security Policy are also sponsoring the event — and so he will defer to Cruz’s decision. “I would be inclined, although I don’t know, to think that they would maybe not feel comfortable to bring another presidential candidate in,” he says.
In any case, the rally will not be devoid of hatchet-burying. Glenn Beck, perhaps Trump’s biggest critic in conservative media, will speak at the rally. “Just found out this minute that Beck has accepted,” Klein says.
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.