Donald Trump praised Ted Cruz on Tuesday after the Texas senator dropped out of the Republican presidential race, following a big loss to the real-estate magnate in the Indiana primary.
“Ted Cruz, I don’t know if he likes me or if he doesn’t like me, but he is one hell of a competitor,” Trump said during his victory speech from Trump Tower in New York. “He is a tough, smart guy. And he has got an amazing future.”
“I want to congratulate Ted,” he continued, commending him on a “very brave thing to do.”
For Trump, it was a sharp turn from months of escalating attacks on the senator he attempted to brand as “Lyin’ Ted.”
Even earlier on Tuesday, Trump made headlines by claiming that Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was somehow linked to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Cruz later fired back some of his harshest criticism of Trump in response.
Trump went on to mock John Kasich, the Ohio governor, for staying in the race, although he did not mention him by name. Kasich is the lone remaining candidate facing Trump in the GOP race.
“Down to one,” Trump said. “I don’t know, is there a second? I’m going to have to ask you folks the status of that.”