Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) announced Monday he had asked for the resignation of his senior communications director, Rick Tyler, for spreading a false report about Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
"This morning, I asked for Rick Tyler's resignation," Cruz told reporters at a campaign stop in Las Vegas.
The Texas senator said Tyler was "a good man" but that he had "committed a grave error of judgment" and that "even if it was true, our campaign should not have sent it."
Tyler was about to do a live television interview on MSNBC when he abruptly left as news of Cruz's remarks broke, the network said.
Tyler has been engaged in some of the Cruz campaign's most embarrassing missteps, fueling criticisms that the outfit is engaged in dirty tricks.
On Monday, Tyler apologized for distributing a video that inaccurately depicted presidential contender Rubio as dismissing the Bible.
A spokesman for Rubio's campaign pinned the blame on Cruz, not Tyler, who "had the unenviable task of working for a candidate willing to do or say anything to get elected."
After the Cruz campaign was caught spreading false rumors in Iowa that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was dropping out of the 2016 race before the caucuses -- and encouraging his supporters to instead support the Texas senator -- Tyler initially defended the campaign's conduct. Later, the campaign apologized.
Real estate mogul Donald Trump, the 2016 front-runner who had accused Cruz of "stealing" the Iowa caucuses by engaging in underhanded tactics, happily piled on.
This post has been updated with a statement from Rubio's campaign.