Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Thursday night threatened to walk off Fox News’ Republican presidential debate stage if moderators asked what he deemed to be another “mean question.”
“The last four questions have been Rand, please attack Ted, Jeb, please attack Ted,” Cruz said in reference to his rivals, as the audience booed.
Moderator Chris Wallace cut in to say they were all participating in a “debate,” but Cruz interjected again.
“Gosh, if you guys ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage,” he said. “Chris, the most important determination any voter is going to make in this election is who is best prepared to be commander-in-chief.”
“I would suggest let’s stay focused on those issues rather than just attacks directed at each other,” he added.
The back-and-forth began when Wallace refused to allow Cruz to respond to a question directed at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) about whether Cruz or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) were “ready to be commander-in-chief.”
Though Christie’s response focused exclusively on Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and avoided attacking his fellow Republican candidates, Cruz pushed for a chance to respond because he was “mentioned in that question.”
Cruz and Wallace talked over each other for a few moments before Wallace cut him off and directed a question at Jeb Bush.
Rubio received a huge round of applause minutes later for saying, “Don’t worry, I’m not leaving the stage no matter what you ask me.”