Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has fired his communication director, Rick Tyler, for peddling a video that falsely claims Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was mocking the Bible, upon encountering one of his campaign staffers, along with his father, Rafael, at a Hampton Inn in South Carolina (via Politico):
Rubio ran into Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, and a staffer in South Carolina on Saturday at a Hampton Inn. According to the Daily Pennsylvanian, which posted the video, the blog also had staffers present during the encounter.
The website reported that Rubio suggested that the Bible did “[n]ot have many answers in it.”
Cruz communications director Rick Tyler posted the story on Facebook but later deleted it and apologized after a Cruz staffer said Rubio didn’t make any such comment.
“I want to apologize to Senator Marco Rubio for posting an inaccurate story about him here earlier today,” Tyler said. “The story showed a video of the Senator walking past a Ted Cruz staffer seated in the lobby of a hotel reading his Bible. The story misquoted a remark the Senator made to the staffer. I assumed wrongly that the story was correct. According to the Cruz staffer, the Senator made a friendly and appropriate remark.”
In the clip, Rubio tells the staffer he has “a good book there.” “All the answers are in there,” he added. “Especially in that one.”
Earlier this afternoon, Sen. Cruz announced that he had asked for Tyler’s resignation:
Tyler posted the story on Facebook but later deleted it and apologized after a Cruz staffer said Rubio didn’t make any such comment.
But Cruz decided greater action was needed.
"Our campaign should not have sent it. That’s why I’ve asked for Rick Tyler’s resignation,” Cruz said about the social media posting about the Daily Pennsylvanian article.
He said he spent the morning investigating before coming to his conclusion. He added, “I have made clear in this campaign that we will conduct this campaign with the very highest standards of integrity.”
Tyler’s exit comes as the Cruz campaign has been under increased fire from his rivals, who have accused him of running a dirty campaign.
This video has correct transcript; any other is another dirty trick by Cruz camp. How do I know? I'm in the video!! https://t.co/llZGimU5Jp— Alex Conant (@AlexConant) February 21, 2016
Prior to his termination, Sarah Rumpf at IJ Review contacted Tyler, saying that he backtracked on the false claim about the bible incident once the staffer in the video, named Collins, backed the Rubio campaign’s version of events:
Tyler told Independent Journal Review that he called Collins, the Cruz staffer who was reading the Bible in the video, and asked him about the incident. According to Tyler, Collins backed up the Rubio campaign’s version of the Senator’s words. “No, no, no, he was very nice to me,” Collins reportedly said about Rubio.
“I realized that the story got it wrong, so I deleted the post,” said Tyler. “When he [meaning Collins] told me it was wrong, I pulled it down.” When asked about the reason for the several hours delay in deleting the Facebook post, Tyler said he “forgot” he had the Facebook post until another colleague on the campaign called him and told him, and then he deleted it.
The Rubio campaign responded by saying that Tyler was a good man, who had the “unenviable task” of working with a candidate who would “do or say anything to get elected.” As Allahpundit noted, this firing had to come, given how South Carolinians thought Cruz ran an unfair campaign, and that Cruz needs to make sure that he a) doesn’t look as if he “smeared Rubio to death” should he win b) he needs this Rubio-Cruz battle to be won fair and square should he draw Rubio’s former supporters into his tent.
Prior to Tyler’s dismissal, Erick Erickson noted that it’s become almost a fact on the campaign trail that Cruz is running a dirty presidential bid. This firing might have been an attempt to quell that narrative, but the damage is already done.