SAN ANTONIO — U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, the San Antonio Democrat weighing a challenge to Ted Cruz, is providing a scathing assessment of the Texas senator's deliberations over whether to endorse his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
"That’s what happens when you have no principles, when you have no real principles," Castro told The Texas Tribune. "This whole thing with Trump exposed a phoniness that many people believed was clear from the beginning but now more people can see for themselves."
Cruz finally endorsed Trump, Cruz's former primary rival, in September after a months-long holdout. The period included a speech at the Republican National Convention in which Cruz urged delegates to vote their conscience, a move some Cruz critics saw as the senator hedging his bets in case Trump easily lost in November.
On Tuesday, Castro suggested Cruz was again acting in his self-interest by getting behind Trump.
"Ted Cruz has always only worked for Ted Cruz," Castro said, speaking with the Tribune after a news conference to push back on Trump's visit to San Antonio. "[Cruz] doesn’t spend any time working for Texas. If he’s re-elected, he’s not going to spend any time working for Texas. He’s going to be running for president. It’s a soulless kind of politics."
A Cruz spokesperson did not have an immediate response to Castro's comments, but the senator has previously argued that regardless of whether he ultimately endorsed Trump, he would be criticized for making a political calculation. "That's the attack that gets thrown — it doesn't matter what you do," Cruz said last month at the Texas Tribune Festival.
Castro's comments come as he continues to hold open the door to taking on Cruz in 2018. The Texas senator has not shied away from the potential battle, sending a fundraising email attacking Castro in July amid renewed buzz about the congressman's political ambitions.
On Tuesday, Castro said his current focus is on helping elect Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and other Democrats in Texas and across the country. But as far as a Senate run is concerned, he reiterated he will "do my due diligence and take a close look at it in the next several months."