“Tone matters,” Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, told The Associated Press in an interview between campaign stops. “Are there some in the Republican Party whose rhetoric is unhelpful with regard to immigration? Yes.”

Donald Trump’s call for a database to track Muslims in the U.S. is one example, Cruz says. But he refused to condemn the rhetoric of another Republican who could help him win Iowa’s leadoff caucuses, Rep. Steve King, the influential conservative who has described immigrants living in the country illegally as disease-ridden_and spent the weekend campaigning at Cruz’s side.

“I cannot help the language that others use,” Cruz said in the interview. “I can only help the words that come out of my own mouth.”…

“I am the son of an immigrant who came from Cuba with nothing, came here legally,” Cruz said. “And my view, which I think the vast majority of Americans share, is very simple: Legal good. Illegal bad.”