Conservative radio host Sean Hannity and Sen. Ted Cruz had a testy back and forth on the host’s Tuesday show, with Hannity telling the Texas senator at one point that he was “getting sick of” Cruz dodging “legitimate questions.”
The interview got off to a tense start right off the bat. Hannity suggested Americans were wondering about what role delegates play in the process of choosing a nominee, with talk of a contested Republican convention heating up.
Cruz sharply disputed this notion.
“Sean, with all respect, that’s not what people are concerned about,” Cruz said. “I’m campaigning every day. People are concerned about bringing jobs back to America. People are concerned about raising wages. People are concerned about getting the federal government off the backs of small businesses, and people are concerned about beating Hillary” Clinton.
Cruz said the media “loves to obsess” about the process of choosing a Republican nominee for president. He said what amounted to “whining” from Donald Trump’s campaign about the delegate process being unfair is “silly.”
Hannity came back at Cruz, telling him that he hears from people who tell him that they “find this whole process confusing.”
Trump has went on a tear over the past several days, calling the delegate process “rigged” after a series of contests in which Cruz’s campaign outmaneuvered Trump in the battle for delegates. If no candidate reaches the required 1,237 delegates to lock down the Republican nomination, many delegates that would be bound to Trump on the first convention ballot could vote for a different candidate on subsequent ballots.
Hannity pointed out that the Cruz campaign has focused on wooing delegates who might be able to switch their vote from Trump to Cruz on a second convention ballot.
“It’s more than a process question,” Hannity said. “It’s an integrity-of-the-election question.”
Cruz responded that the “only people asking this question are the hardcore Donald Trump supporters.”
Hannity told him he had to “stop.”
“Senator, why do you do this every single time,” Hannity said, cutting Cruz off as he was speaking. “You’ve got to stop. Every time I have you on the air, and I ask a legitimate question, you try to throw this in my face. I’m getting sick of it. I’ve had you on more than any other candidate on radio and TV. So if I ask you, senator, a legitimate question to explain to the audience, why don’t you just answer it?”
Cruz asked if he could answer Hannity’s question “without being interrupted.”
“Go ahead,” Hannity responded.
Cruz explained his view on the delegate process at length:
All of this noise and complaining and whining has come from the Trump campaign because they don’t like that they lose five elections in a row. That Republicans are uniting behind our campaign. So they’re screaming on Drudge and it’s getting echoed, this notion of voter-less elections. It is nonsense. They are making it up. Over 1.3 million people voted. We won landslides in all five.
Now there is a second component beyond the elections, which is the individual delegates are elected by the people. Donald Trump’s campaign does not know how to organise on the grassroots. And so when the delegates are elected, conservative activists, real conservative activists show up, and we are winning those elections over and over and over again. The Donald Trump campaign doesn’t know what they’re doing. They don’t show up.
Cruz said later that he “couldn’t help” that the Trump campaign “does not seem capable of running a lemonade stand.”