Mulvaney, who also runs the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, made the comments to GOP donors while speaking with Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel in New York City.
An audio recording of the event was provided to The Times and to The Washington Post.
“Do people like you?” Mulvaney asked. “It’s a really important question.”
“There’s a very real possibility we will win a race for Senate in Florida and lose a race in Texas for Senate, O.K.?” Mulvaney said.
“I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s a possibility. How likable is a candidate? That still counts,” he noted.
Sen. Cruz is being challenged by Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).
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