NewsMax-Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday called on GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump to ask The New York Times to release a recording of an off-the-record meeting with its editorial board at which he is speculated to have said he might soften his tone on immigration once elected.
Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith reported earlier Monday that the tape has achieved “near-mythical status” within the Times’ newsroom, and is believed to contain audio of Trump telling the board during a January 5 meeting that he is using the language of deporting 11 million illegal immigrants and building a border wall as bargaining chips in negotiations.
Smith cites a recent column by Gail Collins, who attended the meeting, in which she writes:
“The most optimistic analysis of Trump as a presidential candidate is that he just doesn’t believe in positions, except the ones you adopt for strategic purposes when you’re making a deal. So you obviously can’t explain how you’re going to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, because it’s going to be the first bid in some future monster negotiation session.”
The last line isn’t mere speculation, Smith said, citing people familiar with the recording and the transcript.
No one at the Times would comment on what Trump said off the record, but editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal said, “If [Trump] wants to call up and ask us to release this transcript, he’s free to do that and then we can decide what we would do.”
Cruz, at a press conference outside a campaign event in San Antonio, Texas, called on Trump to do just that, saying it would clear up whether the Buzzfeed story is inaccurate or whether it was true.