The Ted Cruz presidential campaign reportedly has a new view of the religious right political conference that brought his father, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal together with a rabidly antigay pastor.
In a development that was largely ignored at the time, Cruz campaign spokesman Rick Tyler told USA Today in mid-December that “it was a mistake” for Cruz to have attended Pastor Kevin Swanson's so-called National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines in November, along with his father, minister Rafael Cruz, and Huckabee and Jindal, both of whom were then seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Rachel Maddow and Right Wing Watch have now picked up on it.
Swanson is notorious for rants asserting that the Bible calls for the death of gay people, although he claims he'd give them a chance to repent. Both before and, for a time, after the November conference, Cruz and Tyler refused to denounce the hateful message spouted by Swanson.
But as Rachel Maddow pointed out on her MSNBC program Friday night, the Cruz campaign eventually quietly distanced itself from both Swanson and his event.
“Senator Cruz is passionate about religious liberties,” Tyler wrote in an email to USA Today. “Many respected organizations were sponsoring [the conference], but, given these offensive comments, it was a mistake for Senator Cruz to appear at the event.” (In an unrelated development, Cruz today asked for Tyler's resignation “after he distributed a video that falsely depicted Marco Rubio dismissing the Bible,” CNN reports.)
Watch Rachel Maddow report on the earlier revelation below.