NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- While addressing an enthusiastic crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mentioned politicians he’d be willing to let serve in his cabinet if he became president of the United States.
Cruz referred to current candidates Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, as well as those who have since dropped out of the race -- including Ben Carson, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Carly Fiorina -- as "good, honorable people" who are "a thousand times better than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders."
He responded emphatically when Fox News host Sean Hannity asked him if he would put any current of former candidates in his cabinet.
"Absolutely! Just every name I listed would be a natural to serve in a cabinet and as part of the leadership," he said.
Conspicuously absent from his list was Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Earlier in his speech, Cruz took multiple jabs at the billionaire real estate mogul.
"So Donald Trump is skipping CPAC? I think somebody told him Megyn Kelly was gonna be here," he said to raucous applause from the crowd. "Or, even worse, he was told there were conservatives that were gonna be here."
After praising the number of young voters in the crowd, Cruz asked if anyone had a degree from Trump University. The unaccredited school was a former business of Trump's that took an estimated $40 million from some 7,000 students.
Cruz also invited prospective voters who are tired of Trump’s rhetoric to join his campaign.
"If you want to beat Donald Trump, here’s how you do it: You beat Donald Trump with the voters," Cruz said.
Before ending his speech, Cruz turned his mocking to a top concern of the opposing party and reinforced the values of his base. While denouncing the stereotype that all Republicans are racist, Cruz said Democrats are "unwilling" to say the words "all lives matter" and pondered why anyone would be against that phrase.
"When did it become controversial to say every human being is a precious gift from God?" Cruz asked the crowd. "By the way, you want to talk about 'Black Lives Matter'? You know, in 1990, there were 2,200 homicides in New York City. Last year there were 300."
"That is over 2,000 a year, roughly 2,000 a year, murders that were prevented by the brave men and women of the NYPD," Cruz continued. "If you want to talk about thousands of black lives that have been saved because of the bravery of our police officers and all lives matter, let me tell you, blue lives matter."