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During a speech to the National Rifle Association in Atlanta on Friday, President Donald Trump described the trajectory of his relationship with Sen. Ted Cruz as, “Like. Dislike. Like.”
In introducing his former top rival in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, who also spoke at the NRA event, Trump said he initially “really liked” Cruz, then “didn’t like” him, and “now like [him] a lot again.”
“Does that make sense?” Trump asked, to clapping and cheering from the crowd. “Senator Ted Cruz. Like. Dislike. Like.”
The relationship between Cruz and Trump has indeed gone from friendly, to nasty, to apparently amiable again. While the two avoided taking shots at each other in the first months of their respective campaigns for the presidency, their relationship soured as the competition heated up.
In December 2015, Trump called Cruz a “maniac” who will “never get anything done” in the White House and questioned his American citizenship. He also nicknamed Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” Cruz fought back, accusing Trump of having “New York values,” which he described as “socially liberal,” “pro-abortion,” and “pro-gay marriage.”
The relationship quickly descended into all-out war, with Trump accusing Cruz’s father of being associated with Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and retweeting an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, next to a glamourous picture of Melania Trump.
Cruz called Trump “a sniveling coward,” “utterly amoral,” a “narcissist,” and a “serial philanderer” at various points during the campaign.
At the Republican National Convention in July, Cruz refused to endorse Trump, telling Republicans to “vote your conscience.” Ultimately, Cruz announced that he would vote for Trump in the general election.
Since the election, relations between the two have warmed substantially – Trump and the first lady invited Cruz and his family to the White House for dinner in March. The next day, Cruz tweeted a photo of his daughters with the president and described the Trumps as “warm and gracious.”