Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are fast becoming the dynamic duo of the Republican presidential field.
On Thursday, the GOP frontrunner hinted, and Cruz’s campaign confirmed, that the pair would team up for a Capitol Hill rally against the Iran nuclear deal.
“Sen. Cruz has invited Donald Trump to join him on the Capitol grounds for a rally to call on members of Congress to defeat the catastrophic deal that the Obama Administration has struck with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the Texas lawmaker’s campaign said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters earlier in the day in South Carolina, the real estate mogul said his camp was “talking to Ted Cruz about doing something very big over the next two weeks in Washington.”
“It is essentially a protest over the totally incompetent deal with Iran,” he added. “We’re going to have a tremendous crowd come out.”
In some ways the joint appearance, which doesn’t have an official date yet, isn’t surprising. The pair have lavished each other with praise on the campaign trail, which is remarkable given the often vitriolic statements Trump fires at his fellow candidates.
The twosome met in New York City last month and Cruz even invited Trump to visit Texas and tour the U.S.-Mexico border together. Unfortunately, the Texas lawmaker was bogged down with Senate business and couldn’t join Trump when he traveled to the region around the beginning of August.
Inviting Trump to Washington and giving him a bear hug is a shrewd move on Cruz’s part. While Trump far outpaces him in the polls, Cruz has cast himself as the anti-establishment candidate and played up the battles he’s waged against fellow Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY). Should Trump’s white-hot campaign eventually burn out, Cruz could be best positioned to gain his fervent supporters.
The duet is also bound to give other Capitol Hill GOP leaders a migraine, especially House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). The two have clashed several times in the past, most notably in 2013 when Cruz led the charge for a government shutdown over Obamacare and met regularly with House conservatives to hash out strategy.
Cruz continues to meet with House members occasionally, a habit he is likely to ramp up after Congress returns next month and the Texas lawmaker pushes for another government shutdown, this time over federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Bringing the 2016 presidential race to the Capitol steps is the opposite of what Boehner wants, given the loaded legislative calendar.
Speaking at an event in Colorado, Boehner joked that he likes how Cruz’s presidential campaign keeps “that jackass” out of Washington, The Daily Caller reported.