Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz backed the general sentiments of Donald Trump's broadside against illegal Mexican immigrants, though he said he would use different words.
Asked whether he agreed with Trump's comments that Mexican immigrants were coming to the U.S. and raping women, he said, "To be clear, what I salute him for is focusing on the problems of illegal immigration."
He blamed the controversy in part on the media.
"Sometimes it seems there's no sport that the media enjoys more than Republican-on-Republican violence," Cruz said during an interview at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor.
He said he would refuse to engage in attacks against his opponents, though he did single out Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker for endorsing amnesty for illegal immigrants.
"Policy disagreements are meant to be the bread and butter of politics," Cruz, a Texas senator, said. "I don't think it's appropriate to impugn the integrity of other candidates, and I don't intend to do so."
Indeed, he spent most of the interview not distancing himself from his Republican competitors but rather criticizing the likely Demcoratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, as well as President Barack Obama.
He joked that "There are a lot of young people with faded posters of hope and change sleeping in their parents' garage."