Carly Fiorina, the only woman who ran for the 2016 Republican nomination, endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on Wednesday in a surprise appearance in Miami, Florida.
Fiorina praised Cruz as a “leader and a reformer, and as a true “constitutional conservative” who had the best chance to beat frontrunner Donald Trump, saying “it is time to unite” behind him. She relayed a story that she went to vote in the Virginia primary earlier this month and, even though she saw her own name, she checked the box for Cruz.
Part of her reason, she said, was that Cruz bucked the “status quo” as a senator in Washington.
“He’s willing to take on the status quo in Washington, D.C., whether it’s replacing the IRS or finally fixing the Veterans Administration so our veterans get the care that they deserve, or finally fixing our immigration problems,” Fiorina said. “You know, I can tell you from personal experience, in order to lead, you must challenge the status quo, and when you challenge the status quo, guess what. You do more than ruffle feathers. You make enemies. It is part of it. It is the price of leadership.”
Fiorina added she was “horrified” by the prospect of Trump winning the nomination, but party leaders would not be able to lead the fight against him.
“We’re going to have to beat Donald Trump at the ballot box, and the only guy who can beat Donald Trump is Ted Cruz,” Fiorina said.
Fiorina said Trump and Hillary Clinton “are two sides of the same coin.”
“They’re not going to reform the system,” Fiorina said. “They are the system. Hillary Clinton has made millions of dollars selling access and influence from the inside, and Donald Trump has made billions of dollars buying people like Hillary Clinton. They are the system. They will not reform it.”
Cruz and Fiorina embraced on the stage after her speech, which was enthusiastically received.
Trump won Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii on Tuesday, while Cruz took Idaho, making the GOP fight look increasingly like a two-man race. Trump leads the delegate count with 458, with Cruz in second at 359. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the other two remaining candidates, are well behind.