Sen. Ted Cruz made clear Tuesday night that the Republican Party needs to wake up and think of him as the candidate with the best chance of defeating Donald Trump.
After winning Texas and Oklahoma but losing several other states, Cruz gave a speech to supporters in which he tried to seize the anti-Trump mantle, repeatedly claiming that he had the best chance of taking down the Republican frontrunner.
"After tonight, we have seen that our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten, that can beat, and that will beat Donald Trump," Cruz said. "We are the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump once, twice, three times. Fifteen states have now voted. Every one of those states so far has been won by either Donald Trump or myself."
Though he didn't mention him by name, Cruz appeared to suggest that it was Marco Rubio — who finished ahead of Cruz in a number of states — who should instead drop out of the race.
"Tomorrow morning, we have a choice. So long as the field remains divided, Donald Trump's path to the nomination remans more likely. And that would be a disaster for Republicans," Cruz said. "For the candidates who have not yet won a state, who have not racked up significant delegates: I ask you to prayerfully consider our coming together."
Below is a rush transcript of Cruz's remarks.
Thank you, Texas! God bless the Lone Star State. God bless the great state of Oklahoma. In 324 days, Marine One will depart Washington, D.C. With a very important dignitary on board.
Former President Barack Obama. This much is certain. January 20, 2017, will be President Obama's last day in office. And on that day, we will have a new president of the United States. Tonight this campaign enters a new phase. We began with 17 Republican candidates. Through the first four states, the race narrowed considerably. Tonight was another decision point.
And the voters have spoken. Tomorrow morning, we have a choice. So long as the field remains divided, Donald Trump's path to the nomination remans more likely. And that would be a disaster for Republicans. For conservatives. And for the nation. And after tonight, we have seen that our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten, that can beat and that will beat Donald Trump.
I congratulate Donald Trump on his victories tonight. But we are the only campaign that has beaten Donald Trump once, twice, three times. 15 states have now voted. Every one of those states so far has been won by either Donald Trump or myself. Republicans, we have a choice. We are blessed with a deep, talented, honorable field. For the candidates who have not yet won a state, who have not racked up significant delegates: I ask you to prayerfully consider our coming together. Uniting.
We welcome you on our team, united as one. That is the only way to beat Donald Trump. Our campaign beats Donald Trump resoundingly. For that to happen, we must come together. And the Republican primary voters in upcoming states, you, too, have a choice. In our nation's darkest hours, FDR told us that we have nothing to fear, but fear itself. JFK told us not to ask what our country could do for us, but to ask what we could do for our country.
America shouldn't have a president whose words would make you embarrassed if your children repeated them. Our president should make us all proud, should inspire hope in all of us. We can nominate a Washington deal maker, profane and vulgar with a lifelong pattern of using government power for personal gain. Or we can nominate a proven conservative who's fought consistently for working men and women. And to defend the Constitution.
It's our choice. Donald Trump has pledged to expand Obamacare into socialized medicine. With the federal government controlling and rationing your health care. As president, I will repeal every word of Obamacare. Donald Trump promises to cut deals with Democrats and to continue the Washington cronyism just like he supported Obama's T.A.R.P. Wall Street bailout. I will stand with the people of this country and end corporate welfare. Adopt a flat tax and abolish the IRS.
Trump funded the Gang of Eight. With your help, I led the successful opposition to the Gang of Eight's amnesty plan. Donald Trump supports Planned Parenthood. I will direct the justice department to investigate Planned Parenthood. Donald Trump promises to compromise with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer on Supreme Court nominees. I will never compromise away our religious liberty. Unlike Donald Trump, I will never compromise away our second amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Donald Trump pledges to be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians. As president, I will not be neutral. America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel. Donald Trump says he will keep in place the Iranian nuclear deal to try to renegotiate ... I will rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal on the very first day in office.
If you're angry with Washington, I understand. But Donald Trump has been part of the Washington corruption for 40 years. He's Harry Reid's favorite Republican candidate. And Jimmy Carter's. Just yesterday, it was reported that The New York Times has a secret tape recording of Donald saying he doesn't mean what he's saying on immigration — this it's all flexible; he won't build a wall; that he won't deport illegal aliens. But Donald refuses to allow them to release the tape. Donald, release the tape. If you are telling The New York Times editorial board that you're lying to the voters, the voters have a right to know.
Enough with the Washington corruption. With the deception. With using government to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of the American people. Five years ago, I promised the people of Texas to fight with every breath in my body to stop Obamacare. To stop amnesty and to secure the border. To stop the debt that is bankrupting our kids and grand kids. To defend religious liberty, the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights. And I have kept my promise. That's why we were supported in this election by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
By lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, our campaign chairman. By former Governor Rick Perry, a true patriot. By nearly half of the Republican state legislators in Texas. And by thousands upon thousands of Republican women and grassroots activists. They know my record. They know me personally. They know my heart. And they know that I have kept my word to fight for them each and every day. America, I'll do the same as president.
Together we will repeal Obamacare. Abolish the IRS. Pull back the EPA regulators that are killing small businesses. Stop amnesty and secure the borders. And the results will be small businesses exploding, millions of high-paying jobs, wages going up and young people coming out of school with two, three, four, five job offers. From this day forward let us together show that Reagan's love optimism and faith in the American people were not misplaced.
Let us show that we will not let the American light go out, that we will fight for our Constitution, for life and for freedom. You have shown that we remain a strong and just people. A people who do not give in to fear but rise always in our righteous might to meet the challenges of the future. Together, we can do it. If we stand together and return to the free market principles and the constitutional liberties that built America ...
Thank you, and God bless each and every one of you.