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'The Trump presidency exploded yesterday afternoon and Ted Cruz was injured in that explosion,' SMU professor says

Professor Cal Jillson believes Sen Ted Cruz's stance will win some support with Trump base, but may cost Cruz with moderate voters.

The day after rioters defiled the seat of American democracy, the damage to property and political prospects is being tallied. 

"I do think these pictures from yesterday are going to live in peoples’ minds for quite a while, particularly moderate-right or moderate-left swing voters," said SMU political science professor Cal Jillson.

Jillson said the mob that invaded the ‘people’s house,’ angry about the president’s election loss, may have inadvertently done lasting damage to President Donald Trump and some of his allies, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz,

“Yesterday worked out very badly for Ted Cruz," said Jillson. "The Trump presidency exploded yesterday afternoon and Ted Cruz was injured in that explosion.”

Cruz and Trump were on the same side of this controversy. But that hasn’t always been the case with these two GOP firebrands. 

Competing for their party’s nomination in 2016, there was no love lost between them, as chronicled by the Texas Tribune.

In one exchange, Cruz objected Trump for “calling into question Cruz’s natural born citizenship” not to mention his fitness and honesty in a statement. 

“Ted Cruz is a totally unstable individual. He is the single biggest liar I’ve ever come across, in politics or otherwise,” Trump said in 2016. 

That feeling was mutual. 

"This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between what is true and what isn’t. He lies practically with every word that comes out of his mouth," Cruz shot back.

It got uglier from there. A write-up in USA Today detailed how Trump had compared the two men’s wives, eliciting vitriol from Cruz. 

"I don’t get angry often, but you mess with my kids…you mess with my kids, that’ll do it every time. Donald you are a sniveling coward…leave Heidi the hell alone," Cruz said.

But they somehow made amends. And remarkably, Wednesday night Cruz was only one of only a handful of senators who, before and after rioters ransacked the capitol, protesting election results. Cruz stood against some Biden electors and supported the position of his once archrival. 

Being on the same page with Trump could keep Cruz in good graces with some of the party base if he makes another run for president, as expected in 2024. But Professor Jillson offers a caution about that, too. 

"There is a segment of the public and the Republican base that will appreciate what he did yesterday…but that is a smaller segment of the base than it was yesterday because people are having second thoughts," said Jillson.