The day before Nevada’s GOP presidential caucuses, another one bit the dust—but this time, it wasn’t a candidate pulling out of the race.
On Sunday, Rick Tyler, director of communications for the Cruz campaign, shared a video in which candidate Marco Rubio appears to confront a Cruz staffer
and criticize the Bible:
Tyler quickly learned that the transcript that accompanied the video was incorrect, and he deleted his tweet. He apologized on Facebook and Twitter:
Tyler also appeared on Fox News to continue his mea culpa:
However, the seemingly small incident picked up steam when candidate Donald Trump tweeted about it:
Although Tyler deleted the tweet and apologized both on social media and on air, it wasn’t enough. On Monday afternoon, Cruz announced that he had asked
for Tyler’s resignation:
This was a grave error of judgment. It turned out the news story he sent around was false, but I'll tell you, even if it was true, we are not a campaign
that is gonna question the faith of another candidate. Even if it was true, our campaign should not have sent it. That's why I've asked for Rick Tyler's
resignation, because the standards of conduct in this campaign have been made absolutely clear for every member of the campaign.
RELATED: Follow these 13 steps to keep cool in a crisis.
NBC reporter Katy Tur tweeted that Tyler was about to be interviewed on MSNBC—likely to apologize further—but left the set promptly after receiving the
news of his resignation.
MSNBC host Kate Snow confirmed the report:
Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant, told reporters
that Tyler had an “unenviable task,” and Conant ultimately blamed Cruz for the video because of the campaign’s “culture”:
“Rick is a really good spokesman who had the unenviable task of working for a candidate willing to do or say anything to get elected," said Conant, who
serves as the campaign's communications director. "There is a culture in the Cruz campaign, from top to bottom, that no lie is too big and no trick too
dirty. Rick did the right thing by apologizing to Marco. It's high time for Ted Cruz to do the right thing and stop the lies.”
Cruz’s decision to fire his PR head comes the day before Nevada’s GOP caucuses—and after the campaign pulled ads slamming Rubio
because it starred a former adult-film star. Though the candidate placed first in Iowa’s Republican caucuses, he placed third in New Hampshire and faces a tough battle against both Rubio and Trump.
reporter Elliot Hannon wrote that the surprising part of the incident isn’t that a video was doctored—or that the Cruz campaign had shared it—but rather
that Cruz’s director of communications was fired because of it:
While misinformation, rumor, and innuendo—even in such an explicit form as a doctored video—seems like pretty standard (underhanded) fare for this
campaign, the real surprise is that someone lost their job over it. Tyler apologized on Facebook early Monday morning, but it wasn’t
enough. Pushing the video was, at best, certainly a sloppy thing to do and probably would have been a fireable offense for a press person operating in a
pre-2016 cycle, but even at its most sinister Tyler’s misdirection hardly seems even comparable to some of the utter ridiculousness digitally muttered by
an actual candidate in this race:
human retweet, Donald Trump. The firing does appear to show, however, that the attacks launched by Rubio and, ironically,
Trump alleging that Cruz is
playing dirty appear to have taken its toll.