Ted Cruz says he declined to directly attack Donald Trump for much of the Republican primary because those who did ended up "as roadkill."
"Well, listen, there is a season to politics," Cruz said Wednesday to radio host Charlie Sykes of WTMJ. "When we started, there were 17 candidates in this race," he continued. "It was a wonderfully diverse, talented, dynamic, young field. It had really incredible talent. If you look at a number of the candidates that took on Donald Trump early on, they ended up as roadkill."
Cruz, who called Trump a "sniveling coward" on Thursday after the businessman attacked his wife on Twitter, made the comment when asked about a tweet he sent in December in which he called Trump "terrific."
"The Establishment's only hope: Trump & me in a cage match. Sorry to disappoint -- @realDonaldTrump is terrific. #DealWithIt," Cruz tweeted.
Cruz said Wednesday he had to build his base before he could take on Trump.
"Our objective was simple from the beginning, it is to win this race, to win the nomination and then beat Hillary Clinton and turn this country around," he said.
"And not be roadkill," Cruz added. "I am very strongly committed on the anti-roadkill approach."
"And so our approach was quite simple, we needed to build our base first. We needed to get my positive message out, my record out, and build and assemble our team," he continued.
Cruz added that he has, since the beginning of the year, started to draw a contrast with Trump.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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