Ted Cruz said Thursday that he has no plans to make up with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling the intrigue about their relationship the sort of inside baseball that makes voters "so frustrated with Washington". But the public acrimony between Cruz and the Senate's rank-and-file Republicans hasn't prevented his team from trying to make nice with key leaders in the upper chamber, according to multiple recent reports.

First, Cruz to CNN's Dana Bash on him and McConnell:

Cruz: This isn't a game, this isn't about Washington power brokers, this isn't a smoke-filled room. If we want to turn the country around, let me tell you who should apologize: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should apologize to the American people. Bash: But you called Mitch McConnell a liar, not them. Cruz: They should apologize to the American people for seven years of economic stagnation, for people seeing jobs go overseas, for wages getting stuck. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should apologize to all the single moms who have been forced into part-time work because of Obamacare. Bash: So no apology to Mitch McConnell? Because it could help you. Cruz: My focus is not on Washington. That ain't gonna happen. And if the Washington lobbyists want to see that happen, they can hold their breath a long, long time.

But behind Cruz's defiance is a quiet effort to get senior senators on-board with his campaign, Politico reported this week.

Directly and through surrogates, the Texas senator is aggressively reaching out to his Senate colleagues as he prepares for the possibility of a convention floor fight against Donald Trump. And Cruz's emissaries on Capitol Hill are now signaling to senior Republicans that Cruz would be willing to work with them as the GOP nominee in a way Trump would not. So far, Cruz can tout only two Senate endorsements, from conservative Mike Lee and the deal-making centrist Lindsey Graham. But Senate Republicans are now at least listening to an intensified pitch from Cruz and his allies: That he's a far more stable choice for the top of the ticket and for the GOP's hopes of keeping the Senate.

That sort of overture matches Graham's thinking. "Clearly Ted was not my first choice by any means, but we are in a position now as a party that we've got to pick a path. The Trump path to me is a disaster," he said. Graham, a former presidential candidate, initially backed Jeb Bush.

Idaho senator Jim Risch added his preference for Cruz -- whether it's an actual endorsement, he's unsure -- on Wednesday.

More on Cruz's bridge-building with the Senate GOP establishment is over at CNN and Politico. And be sure to check out Mike Warren's latest Cruz dispatch in this week's magazine.