Rep. Peter King (R-NY) hammered longtime rival Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday, telling CNN host Wolf Blitzer that he did not want Cruz to become his party’s next presidential nominee.
“I hope that day never comes,” King said. “I will jump off that bridge when we come to it.”
“You’re leaving open that possibility after you said what you said?” Blitzer asked.
“It’d be very difficult,” King responded. “Maybe he can go on the road to Damascus, he can have a complete conversion. But the way it is right now, it’d be very difficult to support Ted Cruz.”
King appeared on Blitzer’s show after releasing a statement calling the Texas Tea Party favorite a “carnival barker.” Cruz announced early Monday morning that he was officially entering the 2016 presidential race.
“Ted Cruz may be an intelligent person, but he doesn’t carry out an intelligent debate,” King said. “He oversimplifies, he exaggerates.”
King also accused Cruz of leading the GOP “off the cliff” in 2013 for inciting the federal government shutdown. At the time, King blamed Cruz and his “acolytes” for the shutdown, saying it was “madness” for the party to follow his lead.
While scoffing at both Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) credentials, King did say he was exploring his own presidential campaign, describing it as his chance to appeal to his party’s “true conservatives,” as opposed to “counterfeit conservatives” like Paul and Cruz.
“From what I understand personally, he’s a very nice guy,” King said of Paul. “But his views are so isolationist in the world we face today, I think he’d be taking us back to the 1930s.”
Watch Blitzer’s interview with King, as aired on Monday, below.