The Brief: Is Cruz Warming Up To Trump?

It seems U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have found common ground.

President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen Ted Cruz.

The Big Conversation 

It seems U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have found common ground: stopping the Obama administration from transferring oversight of the internet domain system to an international organization.

In a tweet Wednesday, Cruz — who received backlash for not endorsing Trump at the Republican National Convention —  thanked Trump for his "support of our efforts to keep the internet free."

Following his convention speech, Cruz went mostly silent on his views of the presidential race, opting to tour his home state during the congressional recess. In recent weeks, however, he’s received harsh criticism from Texas politicians, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who believe he should endorse Trump. On Monday, Patrick warned that Cruz would be left "in the rearview mirror of the Republican Party" if he refused to endorse the party’s candidate.

As the Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reports, Cruz’s recognition of Trump on Twitter does not mean he’ll issue an endorsement anytime soon. In a statement to the Tribune, Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said, "We are grateful to have [Trump's] support in the effort to protect our freedom on the Internet. Cruz continues to watch the race closely, no change to that end."

Trib Must Reads

Texas College Republicans Split on Donald Trump, by Alex Samuels — Much like some party elders, college Republican groups in Texas are ambivalent about embracing presidential nominee Donald Trump.  

Kevin Brady: Trade Deal Ball is in Obama's Court, by Abby Livingston — The Trans-Pacific Partnership could still pass Congress, says the Texan at the center of the trade deal fight.

In Hurd-Gallego Rematch, Veterans Issues Again a Flashpoint, by Patrick Svitek —If it's an even-numbered year, there's a good chance of a competitive race for Texas' 23rd congressional seat, a perennial swing district sprawling across West Texas.

Texas Medical Board's Executive Director Announces Resignation, by Elena Mejia Lutz — After almost 16 years with the Texas Medical Board, Mari Robinson announced Wednesday that she is stepping down as executive director.

Texas Threatens to Withdraw from Refugee Resettlement Program, by Alexa Ura — As part of its fight to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, Texas is threatening to withdraw from the nation's refugee resettlement program if federal officials don't “unconditionally approve” a state plan requiring additional vetting.  

John Kasich to Campaign for Will Hurd in Re-election Battle, by Patrick Svitek  — U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, is getting support from former presidential candidate John Kasich in his campaign to hold on to his West Texas seat.

The Day Ahead 

•    Tribune CEO Evan Smith talks with Pete Gallego, the Democratic challenger in the contest for Congressional District 23. The early-morning event takes place at The Austin Club and will be livestreamed on the Tribune’s website for those unable to attend in person. 

•    Hillary for America National Deputy Director of Voter Outreach and Mobilization Cristobal Alex and Hillary for Texas will open a general election office in El Paso. The 5:30 p.m. event is free, but RSVPs are required. Click here for more information.

•    The Court of Criminal Appeals will mark its 125th anniversary during a morning ceremony at the Tom C. Clark Building at the Capitol complex. Former Presiding Judges John F. Onion and Michael J. McCormick along with Presiding Judge Sharon Keller will offer remarks. Members of the Texas State Bar and public are invited to attend. 

•    The House Committee on Appropriations will meet during a morning hearing to hear invited testimony on trends in state contracting and recommend new strategies to ensure all contracting is executed transparently.

•    The House Select Committee on Mental Health will meet to hear invited testimony on mental health bed allocation at Texas' state hospitals and availability of mental health services at Texas institutions of higher education.

Elsewhere

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Texas county approves $1.8M settlement in Sandra Bland suit, The Associated Press 

Judge drops Art Briles and former Baylor athletic director from federal lawsuit, Austin American-Statesman 

Texas has added more than 1 million new voters since 2012, The Dallas Morning News 

Seven Texas education issues to watch in 2017, Houston Chronicle 

James Dickey reclaims leadership of the Travis County Republican Party, Austin American-Statesman 

UT system’s ‘dirty little’ drilling secret targeted by environmentalists, San Antonio Express-News

City testing UH tap water, but official says no danger drinking it, Houston Chronicle 

Cases of improper teacher-student relationships hit 8-year high, Austin American-Statesman 

Former board member used connections to land 6-figure DART job created just for him, The Dallas Morning News 

Quote to Note

“Empathy must be balanced with security. Texas has done more than its fair share in aiding refugees, accepting more refugees than any other state between October 2015 and March 2016. While many refugees pose no danger, some pose grave danger, like the Iraqi refugee with ties to ISIS who was arrested earlier this year after he plotted to set off bombs at two malls in Houston."

— Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement Wednesday on Texas' plan to withdraw from the Refugee Resettlement Program.

Today in TribTalk

Time to get serious about securing the Texas border — Our nation needs the political courage necessary to ensure America's borders are secured in a way that stops the drug traffickers, human smugglers, waves of illegal immigrants and, God forbid, terrorist infiltrators from taking advantage of this vulnerable situation, writes congressional candidate Jodey Arrington.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   The Washington Post's Politics & Pints with Chris Cillizza: TTF Edition on Sept. 24 at Scholz Garten

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

•   The Texas Response To Zika on Oct. 18 at BCBSTX Headquarters in Richardson

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Andrew Murr and Jason Isaac on Nov. 14 at Schreiner University in Kerrville