Ted Cruz is doubling down on the “Dems paid the migrant caravan” theory this week, attempting to link his opponent Beto O’Rourke to the story through a bizarre Project Veritas sting, that, as usual, turned out to be bullshit.
On Friday, Cruz tweeted the following:
So, a couple of things: the migrant caravan isn’t at the border yet. As of Thursday morning it was somewhere near Juchitan, Mexico, well over 700 miles from the nearest part of the border, so there’s literally no chance it’ll arrive before the midterms, but still, here we are.
Cruz also framed both of these questions in an extremely disingenuous way: “Should the ‘caravan’ be allowed to cross illegally into Texas” is just implying both that O’Rourke supports undocumented immigration and that the migrant caravan is in itself illegal. Neither of which are true, because applying for asylum is legal, and none of the migrants in the caravan have even attempted to cross the border (because, let us not forget, they are 700 miles away.)
The second part of Cruz’s tweet appears to reference a Project Veritas video that surfaced yesterday.
The PV video allegedly shows multiple O’Rourke campaign staffers talking about using a prepaid campaign debit card to purchase food and supplies for migrants on the Texas side of the border who filed asylum claims, which PV says is a gotcha moment that violates several FEC statutes.
But—surprise surprise!—the O’Rourke campaign, however, says that the video is a wild misrepresentation of what actually happened.
“Staff members took it upon themselves to use prepaid cards from one of our more than 700 field offices to buy baby wipes, diapers, water, fruit and granola bars, and donate them to a local humanitarian nonprofit (Annunciation House) that helps mothers and children in the community,” O’Rourke spokesman Chris Evans told the Texas Tribune on Friday. “The value was under $300 and it will be appropriately reported to the FEC.”
The link in Cruz’s tweet goes to a Red State story about O’Rourke’s “silence” on the migrant caravan. The story isn’t directly related to the Veritas video, but Red State’s sister site Town Hall was one of the first outlets to cover the Veritas video when it came out yesterday. Cruz’s tweet appears to imply that O’Rourke’s campaign money funded the migrant caravan; the Veritas video shows staffers planning to support migrants already in the country, not connected to the caravan at all.
“Ted Cruz pushes fear and paranoia because he wants to divide and mislead Texans four days before this election,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “We should be bringing people together and defining ourselves not by who we are scared of but what we want to achieve.”
I reached out to the Cruz campaign for a statement as well, I’ll update this post if I hear back.
Update, 5:05 p.m. ET: Cruz spokesperson Emily Miller responded and said that the most accurate representation of Cruz’s views on immigration came from his campaign speeches today, not “what O’Rourke claims he said.” Miller sent the following clips. The first references the Veritas video and repeats the claim that O’Rourke staffers were taking campaign money and using it to “give it to people coming here illegally.”
And another, from a second stop in Athens, Texas:
In both clips Cruz stresses the first question posed in his tweet, “should the caravan be allowed to cross illegally into the State of Texas?” which, again... the migrants plan to apply for asylum, which is legal.