TRANSCRIPT: Ted Cruz Talks to George Stephanopoulos about Muslim Surveillance Proposal

PHOTO: Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at a campaign rally, March, 19, 2016, in Provo, Utah.PlayGeorge Frey/Getty Images
WATCH Ted Cruz Defends Proposal to Patrol Muslim Neighborhoods

Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz spoke with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Wednesday about his proposal to patrol Muslim neighborhoods in the United States in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels this week.

The interview aired on “Good Morning America.” Below is a transcript:

GEORGE STEPHANOPULOS: Senator, your proposal to have police patrol Muslim neighborhoods is drawing a lot of fire from John Kasich, Bernie Sanders calls it unconstitutional, Hillary Clinton offensive and dangerous.

TED CRUZ: Well let’s start with reflecting on what happened yesterday in Brussels. All of us, our thoughts and prayers are with the families with those who were murdered, of those who were injured, including at least three Americans, three Mormon missionaries, who were among those who were injured. And yesterday reminded everyone that we are facing a war from radical Islamic terrorism. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, they refuse to acknowledge, they refuse even to say the words radical Islamic terrorism.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But how is targeting Muslim neighborhoods constitutional?

CRUZ: What we should be targeting is radical Islamic terrorism and the political correctness of this administration, they refuse to acknowledge that we are facing a global jihad from radical Islamic terrorism, indeed after just about after every one of these attacks, whether Paris or whether San Bernardino and certainly coming after Brussels, president Obama goes on national television and lectures Americans on Islamophobia. Enough is enough. We need a commander in chief who will protect this country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your proposal would target all Muslims, not just radicalists.

CRUZ: No it would not at all. What it would do, is it would restore common sense, pro-active policing, pro-active law enforcement, pro-active national security to make sure, here in New York City under Mayor Bloomberg there was a pro-active policing program to work cooperatively with the Muslim community, to prevent radicalization.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The police said it never generated made a lead or triggered an investigation

CRUZ: Look you’re right that the political efforts of Mayor de Blasio cancelled that program. They said it, they were not willing to actively work to stop radical Islamic terrorism and that political correctness, listen it’s manifested with President Obama and Hillary Clinton, when they want to bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America despite the fact that ISIS says that they intend to infiltrate those refugees, to send jihadists to murder Americans and the head of the FBI James Comey who as you know was appointed by Barack Obama has told us they cannot vet those refugees. We need a commander-in-chief who is serious about protecting this country and I tell you I will apologize to nobody for how vigorous I will be fighting radical Islamic terrorism, leading the effort to utterly defeat and destroy ISIS and to keep America safe. And I think people are fed up with a president who puts politics ahead of protecting the homeland.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You had a big win in Utah last night, endorsement from Jeb Bush this morning but Donald Trump still won more delegates last night so how do you stop him from getting the 1,237 he needs?

CRUZ: Well look--a year ago, we actually launched our campaign a year ago today. There were 17 candidates in this race a year ago. 17 republican candidates, a fantastic talented, diverse field. Over the course of the year, the field has narrowed. This is now effectively a one-one battle between me and Donald Trump.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But John Kasich is still in there, don’t you need him out?

CRUZ: And John Kasich I think will be out. He got walloped last night in Utah. He got walloped in Arizona. He’s going to lose in Wisconsin. You can’t keep--He went 0 for 27 and then he won his home state and then he’s losing again. What John Kasich is doing is he’s helping Donald Trump. He’s being a spoiler. Now maybe he’s auditioning to be Trump’s VP. It is mathematically impossible for Kasich to be the nominee and what we’ve seen is the field narrowing so for example Utah, we didn’t just win, we got 69 percent of the vote. It was a landslide and as you mentioned this morning Jeb Bush endorsed me. Now that follows in the past 10 days, we’ve been endorsed by Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney and Lindsey graham, but also by Mike Lee and Mark Levin. Now you want to talk about the full spectrum of Republicans that is as wide an ideological spectrum as you can imagine and what it takes to beat Donald Trump is bringing together that coalition. Republicans are uniting which is why we have now beaten Donald Trump in 10 states and going forward we will continue beating him and win the nomination.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You got into a really skirmish with Donald Trump on Twitter last night. He threatened to “spill the beans” on your wife. That is some threat.

CRUZ: Donald is quite the character. Anytime he gets upset, anytime he gets threatened, anytime he gets scared, he begins yelling, he begins screaming, he begins often cursing and he acts like a bully he threatens people.

CRUZ: And so you’re right he threatened my wife last night I got to say that was the very embodiment of classlessness. My wife Heidi is the daughter of missionaries in Africa, she is my best friend in the world. And for Donald, she is way out of his league. If he wants to get in a character fight he should stick with me. And the fact that, you know I guess he’s used to dealing with people that he can just bully and threaten and intimidate and they run away, and I got to say the fact that he comes after Heidi, reveals a lot about character, but you got to understand the reason he’s doing that. He’s doing that because he’s trying to change the subject from getting walloped in Utah, losing badly and he campaigned in Utah, he campaigned hard in Utah and lost. And let me make a final point on this, we saw last week a poll come out in Utah, if Donald Trump is the nominee, he loses to Hillary Clinton in Utah. Now if the Republican can’t carry bright red conservative Utah, we’re getting clobbered everywhere, we’re talking about Walter Mondale style landslide.

CRUZ: That is part of why so many republicans are uniting behind our campaign because Donald Trump loses to Hillary and I beat Hillary.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Cruz thanks for joining us this morning.

CRUZ: Thank you George.