Marco Rubio‘s campaign continued to push back on reports that he was being advised to drop out of the race early, and attacked Ted Cruz for sending an email in Hawaii claiming the same.
Rubio’s team blasted the Cruz camp for using “dirty tricks” when “Ted Cruz Hawaii” sent the email blast, Fox News reported Tuesday.
Citing the disputed CNN report, which claims Rubio’s advisers told the GOP candidate to exit the race before facing a potential defeat in his home state of Florida, the email quoted unnamed caucus-goers in Hawaii saying they did not want to “waste” their votes on a “likely dropout.”
“Senator Cruz is up to his dirty tricks again,” said Rubio spokesman Joe Pounder in a statement, “spreading false rumors and lies. We won’t allow him to do to Marco Rubio in Florida what he did to Ben Carson in Iowa.”
While Rubio’s team continued to deny the CNN report, Cruz said the email came from someone not affiliated with his campaign but defended the original CNN report as legitimate.
“This particular email apparently came from a volunteer in Hawaii, not affiliated with the campaign, not working for the campaign, not under authorization for the campaign,” Cruz told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly during a taping for a town hall airing Wednesday. “We have over 200,000 volunteers across the country, I cannot control, nor do I want to control, what 200,000 volunteers do.”
A Cruz spokeswoman told Fox that the TedCruzHawaii website had been told to take down the email and stop using campaign logos. The website itself now appears to have been taken down entirely.
Rubio spokeswoman Caitlin Conant said the disputed CNN report is “totally false.”
“It was completely reckless of CNN to do that without reaching out to the campaign first,” Conant told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer Tuesday. Speaking on the Cruz campaign’s tactics in sending the emails, Conant said, “It’s really unfortunate that this camp is willing to say or do anything to get elected.”
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