February 20th, 2014
01:34 AM ET
4 years ago

Ted Cruz assails fellow Republican senators for 'trickery'

Beaumont, Texas (CNN) –  Sen. Ted Cruz  accused his own Republican leadership of  “trickery” in trying to force a “show vote” on raising the debt ceiling last week, warning Republicans will get “clobbered in the polls” for not standing up for principle.

"What Republican leadership said is we want this to pass, but if every senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote no and we can go home to our constituents and say we opposed it. And listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the - to the constituents is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating.

In my view, we need to be honest with our constituents.  And last week, what it was all about was truth and transparency.  I think all 45 Republicans should have stood together and said of course not.,” Cruz told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash in a network exclusive interview airing on CNN.

Last week, Cruz angered many fellow Republicans by blocking a vote to raise the debt ceiling and forcing them to take a politically perilous vote.

Cruz's move meant 60 votes were needed to avoid defaulting on America’s loans – so GOP leaders voted against Cruz' filibuster, which put them in the crosshairs of conservatives and frustrated with Cruz

“Go back to those Senate lunches.  I - I won't identify anything, but I'll - I'll tell you several people raised a question just like you did there - why are you trying to throw five Republicans under the bus and make them vote for raising the debt ceiling?

And I'll tell you my response.  My response is I don't want to throw any Republicans under the bus.  I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents.”

Bash asked whether  – on a human level – whether it stings to have so many fellow senators from his own party so angry with him.

“As a human being, I can't control what they say, how they behave. I can control what I do. So every interaction that I have with every senator, Republican or Democrat, is consistently civil, courteous, respectful, treating them with - with the dignity that they deserve, “ replied Cruz.

Here are other highlights from the interview:

Not worried about standing with other Republicans: Cruz fortified his standing among grassroots conservatives with his opposition to the debt ceiling deal. Last year he was one of the leaders of conservatives who blocked an agreement that would have avoided the 16-day partial federal government shutdown in an effort to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. If Cruz is worried about relationships with other Republicans in the Senate, he didn't sound like it.

"What I try to keep an eye on is I don’t work for the party bosses in Washington. I work for 26 million Texans,” he said.

Cruz stood by his attempt to block the debt ceiling votes, insisting his efforts were based on transparency and fairness to conservative voters, not to political damage his colleagues in the GOP.

“The funny thing is what I told the voters of Texas, I guarantee you all 45 Republican senators tell voters in their states the same thing, which is they're going to lead the fight to stop the spending and to stop the debt and if 45 Republicans had stood together, nobody gets thrown under the bus.”

Ted on Ted: Republicans have been called to distance themselves from the aging rock star, who has been a frequent GOP campaigner, after he called Obama a "subhuman mongrel." Cruz said he doesn’t share Nugent’s sentiment but, “There's a reason… people listen to him.”

“He has been fighting passionately for Second Amendment rights," Cruz said of Nugent. "And this administration has demonstrated an incredible hostility to the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens."

Cruz suggested a double standard in news coverage, insisting that incendiary comments from the left don't get the same attention.

Backbone wins elections: Some Republicans fear Cruz's image outside of the conservative wing might cost them an opportunity to take back the Senate. But Cruz said it's Republicans backing down from principles that's costing them elections.

"The Washington establishment think Republicans win elections by you don't stand for anything, you keep your head down, you don't rock the boat. You know what? Every time we do that we get clobbered in the polls,” Cruz said.

Cruz pointed to the midterm elections in 2010, when the tea party wave swept Republicans into the majority in the House, as the only recent election where his party took a stand.

Obama 'utterly ineffectual' against Putin: Cruz called the Obama administration’s policy toward Russia and the unrest in Ukraine “misguided.”

“You know, if you look at the last five years, one of the tragic results is U.S. leadership has been receding.  We have been shrinking.  And into that vacuum others, like Iran, like Russia, have expanded.  Putin is trying to reassemble the old Soviet Union and - and this administration's foreign policy has been utterly ineffectual standing up to prevent that.”
A shot at a possible rival: Cruz dismissed possible 2016 GOP presidential rival Rand Paul's criticism of Bill Clinton's "predatory behavior" in the White House – he said he had plenty of problems with Clinton's wife.

"I'm a lot less concerned with Bill Clinton's escapades decades ago than I am with Hillary Clinton's consistently wrong record when it comes to foreign policy, when it comes to domestic policy,” Cruz said of the comments from the GOP senator from Kentucky.

"Throughout her tenure, Hillary Clinton has embraced the same far-left agenda. Before Obamacare there was Hillarycare. And that agenda hurts people who are struggling.”

Correct the Record, a group created to defend potential Democratic presidential candidates, took issue with Cruz's comments regarding Clinton.

"Not surprising, Ted Cruz just doesn't know his facts.  Secretary Clinton helped restore America's leadership and standing in the world during a time of global challenges and changes. As a U.S. Senator, she worked to expand health care for National Guard members and reservists.  In the Senate, she worked to strengthen the Children's Health Insurance Program, which increased coverage for children in low  income and working families, a program she helped create as First Lady," said Adrienne Watson, the group's deputy communications director.

Calling out Kerry, doubting climate change:  Cruz said that the data on global warming doesn’t support environmental activists’ argument.

"You always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called 'scientific theory' that fits every scenario. Climate change, as they've defined it, can never be disproved,” he said.

He called Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks  that climate change is a national security threat “ironic” considering the other major crises rocking the world.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent comments that climate change ranks among the world's most serious problems has sparked outrage, particularly from Republicans.

"He sees a greater threat from your SUV than he does to Iranian nuclear weapons,” Cruz said.

CNN's Dana Davidsen, John Helton, and CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report

Filed under: Congress • Ted Cruz
soundoff (799 Responses)
  1. SixDegrees

    Sorta like Cruz' own "show vote" on the government shutdown.

    February 20, 2014 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  2. Ronald Romney

    "...nobody gets thrown under the bus." says Cruz. Every time Republicans vote AMERICA gets thrown under the bus! No thanks. No more.

    February 20, 2014 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  3. bob

    Raising the debt ceiling is a Republican tradition. It was begun by Reagan to put a stop to the tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats and replacing it with the borrow-and-spend (aka trickle down) economic policies that have allowed Republicans to relieve the rich of the burden of paying taxes while at the same time passing the resulting government debts incurred to keep the country operating on to people who were to young to vote at the time, thus restoring taxation without representation and the rights of wealthy aristocrats to flourish at the expense of the working class. Cruz should know better than to go against mainstream Republicans on raising the debt ceiling. If he keeps it up he'll be accused of being a closet Democrat, or worse, a socialist. After all, if you can't pass your bills on to the next generation of working people, what's the point of being a Republican?

    February 20, 2014 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  4. Jib76

    TexasSenator Ted Cruz is a modern day Confederate. He opposes any essential Senate bill that helps America.

    February 20, 2014 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  5. The Fladaboscan

    I hate Ted Cruz but I agree, his colleagues on both sides of the aisles are lower than low.

    February 20, 2014 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  6. RandyF

    Ted Cruz is the 21st century Joe McCarthy.

    February 20, 2014 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  7. Kate111

    Cruz is a loose cannon. That extremism is what is ruining our politics. Cruz, it is called working together for the people not your party and to obstruct the governments work. We got to stop these Tea Party members, they are a disgrace to this country.

    February 20, 2014 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  8. WV Mountaineer!

    Ted Cruz is a Tea-Party tool! What a joke!

    February 20, 2014 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  9. just me

    This from the guy who gave us the showlibuster.

    February 20, 2014 04:09 am at 4:09 am |

    HILARIOUS watching Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts eat each other as they walk the plank toward November.
    The debt ceiling was just the start. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    February 20, 2014 04:39 am at 4:39 am |
  11. Brian in TX

    If anyone follows this nut then they are a fool. By the same token, if anyone thinks that the debt ceiling is about spending more money then they are a fool. The republicans are using you because of your ignorance. WAKE UP!

    February 20, 2014 04:43 am at 4:43 am |
  12. Iamnotfooled

    Congress has a 13% approval rating because of you MR. TED CRUZ. Stop messing up the HOUSE.

    February 20, 2014 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  13. oh

    Ted is a sorry excuse for a human being. In the entire civilized world, only the GOP extremists carry on this ridiculous battle to decide whether or not we should be a deadbeat nation.

    Here's a thought Ted, instead of protecting the 1% of the wealthiest Americans cloaked around a "taxed enough already" slogan, how about reversing the tax breaks and havens that have allowed the wealthiest Americans to grab the American dream from the 99%?

    February 20, 2014 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  14. Name

    So it was just a "show vote" to make sure that the country did not pay its bills, default, and get another credit downgrading? It is you Cruz who is being dishonest and playing to the base of the party by pretending what you are doing is good for the country. Last time Cruz did this with his fake filibuster he cost the country 24 billion dollars, closed down national parks and monuments, and then pretended not to know that it would happen.

    February 20, 2014 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  15. Epidi

    I wish the GOP had thought about stopping debt before the Iraqi War. And holding banks accountable for the bad loans they were giving out like candy.

    February 20, 2014 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  16. Michael

    The fact that he got elected shows me how stupid the people of Texas truly are Cruz, Bush, Perry wow do I really need to say anymore

    February 20, 2014 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  17. Marc Florida

    Cruz is a very bright fellow. He should leave the R party with his followers and form a third party. I would also suggest that Democratic conservatives should do the same. That would create a 4 party system. It would be healthy for those that feel coerced to compromise their principles and allow honest dialogue. Something that has been missing for a long time. As it stands there is so much deal making it is impossible to separate fact from fiction. The American people have to constantly sort out what politicians really mean – the integrity and credibility of our political system is gone and needs to be resurrected.

    February 20, 2014 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  18. Matt

    Except you do get thrown under the bus when you cause the government to default on money you already agreed to spend Mr. Cruz. This is why doing a filibuster is a waste of time. If you want to do your job and make people happy with a higher approval rating, start working with the democrats to cut back on both sides but keep paying the bills for things are already spent money on... even if its something you didn't vote for.

    February 20, 2014 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  19. bisusinha

    Obviously the knuckle head had to say this, because that's what he learned from his "oh my god" father.

    February 20, 2014 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  20. Steve Kaplan

    Senator Cruz is the best thing to happen to the democratic party!

    February 20, 2014 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  21. Nina

    No one gets thrown under the bus? How about the US citizenry?! Cruz never misses an opportunity to get his name and face in the media, and yet never has anything substantive, cogent, or creative on how to improve our country. As long as corporations and the wealthy continue to get tax breaks, the US middle class has to pick up the tab, and the middle class has dwindled to the point where the funds are not available. Cruz, come up with something real that helps instead of blathering on and complaining.

    February 20, 2014 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  22. RayJacksonMS

    Put this fool in an asylum where he belongs. The insane have no business walking the streets much less having political power.

    February 20, 2014 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  23. ken2112

    Sorry but Ted Cruz even looks slimy.

    February 20, 2014 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  24. troppo1

    "misleading constituents" isnt that what Canadian born Cuban Rafael did with the Shutdown?

    February 20, 2014 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  25. Lean6

    "We'll return to more of the Ted Cruz "Me Show" after these words from our sponsors."

    February 20, 2014 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
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