HEMPSTEAD, New York — Rep. Michael McCaul, who is considered a possible primary challenger to Ted Cruz in 2018, says he's focusing more on this election — specifically, the possibility of a national security role in a Trump administration.
"I'm real focused on this election," McCaul told BuzzFeed News in the spin room ahead of Monday night's debate at Hofstra University between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. "I want to see Trump defeat Clinton. I believe my issues — I've become an expert on national security and foreign policy issues, and if there was an opportunity to serve in that capacity I'd be interested in that."
McCaul said he is talking to the Trump transition team about possible roles, saying, "we're having conversations about that" and describing the talks as "preliminary."
After Cruz's dramatic speech at the Republican convention in which he refused to endorse Donald Trump, some Texas Republicans began encouraging McCaul to challenge him when Cruz comes up for re-election in 2018. McCaul did not rule it out, telling reporters in August "never say never."
Now, Cruz's posture in the election has changed: fter weeks of backlash from donors and supporters, he endorsed Trump on Friday in a Facebook post.
On Monday, McCaul said he's glad Cruz endorsed Trump and said he hasn't been stoking the speculation about a potential Senate bid on his part.
"I know there's been a lot of speculation but it's not coming from me," he said. "I'm glad he did it, I've been encouraging all Republicans to unite and support Trump in this important election."
"I know there 's a lot of political pressure on him and certainly in my times at home, in the grassroots, the base are certainly — I think he even said he listened to them and did what they wanted him to do," McCaul said.
McCaul is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and has been advising Trump on national security issues.
Asked which job he wants specifically, McCaul declined to say, saying he wants to serve "wherever I can make a difference and serve my country the best."
Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
Contact Rosie Gray at email@example.com.
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