Politics

Ted Cruz prefers Biden vs. Trump, so there's no chance 'socialist' Sanders can become president

Key Points
  • "Bernie scares me," Sen. Ted Cruz told CNBC on Wednesday.
  • "Personally, I'd rather Biden because he's at least  ... slightly closer to rational," the Texas Republican said.
  • Cruz stressed, "I'd rather not even roll the dice," even though on paper it seems President Trump would have an easier time beating Sanders.
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'Bernie scares me'—Sen. Ted Cruz on why he'd prefer Biden face off against Trump

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told CNBC on Wednesday that he's "certainly grateful" his home state of Texas did not vote for fellow Sen. Bernie Sanders in the race of the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

"I serve with Bernie. He's a true believer. But he is a socialist," said Cruz, a Cuban American, criticizing Sanders, who describes himself as a democratic socialist, for saying in an interview on the CBS program "60 Minutes" last month that dictator Fidel Castro was not all bad for Cuba.

U.S. stocks opened sharply higher Wednesday on Wall Street, with investors encouraged by the resurgence of moderate Democrat Joe Biden.

"Bernie scares me," Cruz said on "Squawk Box," the day after the former vice president won at least nine of the 14 Super Tuesday nominating contests, including Texas.

No matter who emerges with the most delegates, Biden and Sanders will likely be in a dead heat.

The Vermont senator leads in California as the primary votes continued to be counted. With the delegates there yet to be allocated, Biden has 508 total delegates and Sanders has 458, according to NBC News.

"I know a lot of Republicans that are celebrating every time that Bernie wins: 'Yay, let us run against Bernie. He's so extreme that Trump gets reelected,'" Cruz said. "But we're a divided country. There is a chance that this country could elect a wild-eyed socialist."

Cruz, who believes President Donald Trump can beat Sanders or Biden, said, "I'd rather not even roll the dice." He added that a Sanders presidency, as unlikely as it is, would hurt America.

The Texas senator said his colleague's proposals from a wealth tax to massive social programs such as "Medicare For All" and the "Green New Deal" would do "devastation to our economy and people's lives."

"Personally, I'd rather Biden because he's at least ... slightly closer to rational. He's still very liberal. What qualifies as moderate in today's Democratic field has moved dramatically," said Cruz, who unsuccessfully ran for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Mike Bloomberg, who joined the race late and banked his personal war chest on Super Tuesday races, dropped out Wednesday morning and endorsed Biden. The billionaire former New York mayor won only in American Samoa.

The Sanders and Biden campaigns were not immediately available to respond to CNBC's requests for comments on Cruz's "Squawk Box" interview.