While most Republicans that show up on Sean Hannity’s program expect a friendly interview, some of Cruz’s supporters were upset with what they called an “awkward” encounter. Shortly before the pre-taped interview aired, Cruz’s director Brian Phillips suggested it might be the candidate’s last appearance with Hannity, who he said spent half the interview pushing smears against Trump.
Cruz appeared for a nearly 12-minute discussion with Hannity earlier this week. Hannity opened by addressing the recent contretemps surrounding the wives of Cruz and Trump, a sore topic for both sides. Cruz has been plagued by a feud around his wife, which began with an unaffiliated super PAC posting a photo of Trump’s wife, for which Trump blamed Cruz. While Hannity pressed questions about the feud, Cruz made it clear he wanted to change topics, suggesting the discussion turn to the Brussels attack. While Hannity complied, but the situation became tense once again when Cruz suggested that either Hannity or Bill O’Reilly serve as moderators for a one-on-one debate with Trump.
While this can easily be written off as an awkward interview, it does point out one major issue for the Cruz campaign, which is his apparent lack of likeability. Since he first got into politics, he’s been rubbing established politicians the wrong way. He spent years trying to make it in Washington on the insider’s track, yet many of them disliked him for his naked ambition, and so began Cruz’s tenure with the outsider Tea Party faction. This reputation, described by many of his political peers as “abrasive”, meant he had a tough time gaining established Republican support for a while. Yet as the number of candidates has started to thin, with only three candidates left (Cruz, Trump and Kasich) still trying to get the GOP nomination, much of the Republican establishment, including some of his former opponents, have begun to back Cruz as an alternative to Trump. Yet how successful this will be remains to be seen.