This is probably just the right balance for Ted Cruz:
Senior Republicans have been asking Cruz to apologize to [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell so they can unite behind his bid to defeat Donald Trump.
But Cruz did offer some kind words for McConnell Thursday.
“Now I will tell you this, I am happy to praise Mitch McConnell and praise him effusively for his stand, along with (Senate Judiciary Chairman) Chuck Grassley, saying we are not going to hold hearings on a replacement” to the Supreme Court, Cruz told Bash. “Mitch McConnell’s doing the right thing, Chuck Grassley’s doing the right thing, and I’m proud to commend them. I’ve done so publicly many times.”
If Cruz apologizes for his criticism of McConnell, it will come across as disingenuous and an implicit admission that his view of McConnell — and by extension, his entire approach during the government shutdown — was wrong. But if Cruz sidesteps that past bad blood, and gives honest praise to McConnell and other Senate Republicans for stances, and taking the conservative position when it’s not easy (as we’re seeing in the Supreme Court nomination), it takes a step towards uniting the party.
Right now, Cruz is the main non-Trump option. He’s got to win over as many of his former foes as possible.