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.
"I call on Donald, ask The New York Times to release the tape," Cruz said. "And do so today before the Super Tuesday primary."
Voters have a right to know, he said, that if it is true "that not only did Donald Trump fund the Gang of Eight Rubio/Schumer amnesty effort, not only did he give over $50,000 to five of the eight members of the Gang of Eight, but that he actually, now, is telling The New York Times editorial board, pay no attention to what I'm saying on immigration because I, Donald Trump, don't intend to do anything."
Cruz, alluding to Trump's recent victory speech in Nevada where he said he loves "the poorly educated,"
said, he hopes Trump didn't tell the The New York Times editorial board he is "deliberately misleading the voters and he has no intention of doing anything he's saying right now. That tape can clear it up."
Trump's other leading rival in the GOP race, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, also called for release of the recording.
"Donald Trump should ask The New York Times to release the audio of his interview with him so we can see exactly what it is he truly believes about this issue that he has made the cornerstone of his campaign," Rubio said in a statement.
BuzzFeed quoted New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal as saying he would not comment "on what was off the record at our meeting with him."
"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," BuzzFeed quoted Rosenthal as saying.
New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said the newspaper was "not commenting beyond what our editorial page editor told BuzzFeed."
A Trump official was not immediately available to comment.
Buzzfeed said Trump's campaign has not responded to requests for comment.
© 2016 Newsmax. All rights reserved.