Cruz dismisses top aide who shared Rubio video

Sahil Kapur

In the midst of a critical stretch of the race for the Republican nomination,Ted Cruz dropped one of his top aides Monday for tweeting a story alleging that Marco Rubio had disparaged the Bible.

“This morning I asked for Rick Tyler’s resignation,” Cruz, a Texas senator, told reporters in Las Vegas ahead of the state’s Republican caucus Tuesday. The actions of Tyler, who served as national spokesman, did not reflect the standards he wanted to uphold in the campaign, Cruz explained.

“We will conduct this campaign with the very highest standards of integrity. That has been how we’ve conducted it from Day One,” Cruz said. “Rick Tyler is a good man. This was a grave error of judgment.”

Tyler, who has helmed Cruz’s messaging operation since he announced his presidential bid in March, sent a tweet Sunday linking to a news story that misquoted rival Marco Rubio as having spoken negatively about the Bible. Tyler later deleted the tweet and apologized to the Florida senator.

“I should not have assumed the story was correct,” Tyler wrote on Facebook. “I’ve deleted the post because I would not knowingly post a false story. But the fact remains that I did post it when I should have checked its accuracy first. I regret the mistake.”

However, Cruz said Tyler’s mistake was more than one of accuracy. “Even if it was true, we are not a campaign that’s going to question the faith of another candidate,” Cruz told reporters.

As Cruz attempted to clear the air, the Republican front-runner took to Twitter to capitalize on his opponent’s rough day.

“Ted Cruz has now apologized to Marco Rubio and Ben Carson for fraud and dirty tricks,” Donald Trump tweeted. “No wonder he has lost Evangelical support!”

Previously, Cruz dismissed the Rubio campaign’s accusations of dirty tricks as fabrications lacking evidence. But he did apologize to Carson in February after his staff told Iowans that the retired neurosurgeon had dropped out of the race as they gathered to caucuses across the state. Carson accepted the apology, but told CNN, “this is a cultural issue when people in your campaign feel that it’s OK to distort the issues to their political advantage and to tell absolute lies.”

Ben Brody contributed.