It was a sign of how Cruz has to balance his message as a conservative firebrand who says he’s not afraid to “stand and lead” while dealing with the legislative realities in Washington — and the fact that he dines daily with Republican senators when Congress is in session. He’s willing to bash his party publicly but rarely singles out GOP senators by name. And after coming under tremendous heat from his own party during the government shutdown, including being berated behind closed doors, Cruz has avoided private confrontations with GOP senators over the tactics they are pursuing.

“No,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said when asked if Cruz had raised concerns about the immigration matter in private lunch meetings.

“Not when I’ve been there,” said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, No. 3 in Senate GOP leadership, when asked if he’d heard Cruz raise private objections to the latest immigration strategy…

“What I said this weekend was clear, which is this current ‘Crominbus’ bill was designed by leadership,” Cruz said Tuesday, referring to comments he made during two political shows on Sunday. “I objected strenuously at the time and made the point that it was a strategy designed to lose. My objections were overruled.”