“The bottom line is many people around here think Cruz would be worse for our chances of keeping the majority,” said a senior Republican senator, who requested anonymity to speak about Cruz frankly. “He’s so polarizing, it could be a wipeout.”
Trump is by no means a favorite within the Senate GOP conference, but lawmakers feel he has more crossover appeal with independents and swing voters. And even while they find many of his comments annoying, they like him more than Cruz.
“Trump says things that drive you up the wall — he says he doesn’t like guys who get captured and that he’ll make Mexico pay for the wall — but he’s not mean. Cruz is mean,” said the senior Republican.
Trump last summer when questioned Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) status as a war hero because he was a prisoner of war.