February 20th, 2014
01:34 AM ET
5 months 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. Carol

    Cruz is not stupid, he is an educated man who for some reason became an idealogue....he should be recognized as such. Mr. Nugent on the other hand is apparently incapable and to inarticulate to be able to discuss matters in public or otherwise. Therefore, he has to resort to name calling, which as everyone knows, is the under educated way of doing things. He should be viewed as this and nothing more. He is a publicity hound and, for him, name calling is his only option.

    February 20, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Barry

    Climate change related problems have already caused way more damage than any sort of Iranian nuclear weapons or other purported WMD's ever will.

    February 20, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. BeverlyNC

    Please keep destroying the Republican Party, Ted Cruz. It is already in shreds due to you extremists and with every comment you make you bring the Republican Party down as untrustworthy, unstable, and unelectable.
    The nation thanks you!

    February 20, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Susan Tetewsky

    We can't afford to be the policeman to the world. Let the Arabs handle Iran (or let Israel do it). Regardless, Cruz's beating of the war drum or using power words such as "far-left agenda" have grown old with the electorate. We grow tired of you, Mr. Cruz.

    February 20, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  5. Jerry Okamura

    Why does it seem there is such a big disagreement within the party? Because they have not decided what their core values and principals are.

    February 20, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Mark Gerardy

    The new Joseph McCarthy, bully Ted Cruz.

    February 20, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Big_D

    Cruz is destroying the GOP. Good job! They certainly forgot all about Reagan by letting people like Cruz in the GOP to begin with. Smack talk your own party to death Cruz!

    February 20, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. jan

    Cruz and his minions shut down the government for 16 days, and we're still recovering from it. He'd have done it again had wiser GOP leaders put a stop to it. It was the closest thing to a takeover we've seen since the Civil War. When this toad comes up for re-election, This Texan will work very hard to defeat him.

    February 20, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Lenny Pincus

    Poor poor pitiful Ted. Mean liberals, trickster Republicans, angry women, laughing young folks. It's tough being God's instrument on earth when nothing you do goes right.

    February 20, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. J Russ

    Roger, respectfully you are mistaken, the senate is charged with supporting the desires of the state, the house was set up to support the desires of the people of that state. Neither is in Washington to support the entire country. That was basic 4th grade social studies, I don't believe that it's changed much since I learned it 50 years ago.

    February 20, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Eric Darling

    “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."
    During his first term Obama didn't call for any major new restriction on guns or gun owners. Instead he urged authorities to enforce the state and federal laws already on the books.

    In fact, Obama signed only two major laws that address how guns are carried in America, and both actually expand the rights of gun owners.

    One of the laws allows gun owners to carry weapons in national parks; that law took effect in February 2012 and replaced President Ronald Reagan's policy of required guns be locked in glove compartments of trunks of car that enter national parks.

    Another gun law signed by Obama allows Amtrak passengers to carry guns in checked baggage, a move that reversed a measure put in place after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."

    There goes another outright lie told by Ted Cruz. You have to be pretty dense to believe what comes out of this sad excuse for a polition. And BTW, Ted, you don't "represent" 26 Million Texans, only 4 1/2 Million voted Republican in 2013. Try again.

    "

    February 20, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Crashman

    So "standing up for principle" now means crashing the US economy by not paying our bills? Go away, Mr. Cruz. And take the rest of the tea baggers with you.

    February 20, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. gopdumpsterfire

    Hope he never wants any legislation passed in the Senate because he now has like 2 people in the whole body that will talk to him. Bah this gig is just to get him famous anyway. His career soon will be to run for president every 4 years and make money like Newt.

    February 20, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Jchristopher

    Isn't it time for Republicans to start standing on principle? Does it really matter if they have enough votes? They should stand on principle and let the consequences follow. To heck with the politics and polls! They are not being honest with their constituents.

    February 20, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. DC Johnny

    God bless Ted Cruz.

    Once again, the liberals come out in droves to bash a man without reading a full statement from him, or seeing a full speech or interview. If you read the entirety of this article, you will see the same thing I do – a man who passionately loves his country and refuses to play the Washington insider games.

    But, alas. Liberals will be liberals. You bash a man you don't know and don't understand, with the same blind hatred that you claim your opposition puts on display.

    Beautiful hypocrisy.

    February 20, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. Greg

    I see they still haven't deported this poor excuse for a politician.

    February 20, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Matt

    That's not why the Republicans will get “clobbered in the polls”- but hey, whatever helps you sleep at night...

    February 20, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. WCSallyAnn

    If Senator Cruz was honest, he would be showing his birth certificate and his application/letter accepting his American citizen's rights when he turned 18. Until he shows those two documents, he is just like Governor Walker and Christie, liars. Pure and plain liars. No other way to explain it.

    February 20, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. JY

    Did poppa get you that msg from Fidel?

    February 20, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. GAK

    The reason Ted you are doing so poorly in the poles is you aren't doing anything! You are a train wreck waiting to happen. You single handedly cost the economy millions do to your little stunt of shutting down the Government and you wonder why we hate Congress so much??Its idiots like you is the reason your party is and will continue to lose when it counts.Until you abandon the Koch bros. agenda you will be just a joke in the Senate..

    February 20, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. JY

    "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."
    Translated I want to be the head obstructionist

    February 20, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. TNPatriot

    Cruz needs to take his ideas where they will be appreciated ....his Home...CUBA. We know that despite the delusions of the birth rs Obama was actually born in the United Stated. When it comes to Cruz, there is no question that he was NOT born in the United States and is currently a Canadian citizen.

    February 20, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Foregone Conclusion

    Ted Cruz represents the party of CUTS! Serious cuts to the American people where it hurts them the most. We need Social Security which we have EARNED through paying for years out of our paychecks. We also need Clean Water, Clean Air, Good Education, Better Schools, the Dream Act passed, Parity for those who are different, Help for those who are down and out and looking for a job, etc. all of the things Republicans despise and it would be a cold day in hell they would ever support that which is right and just for our country. Go Democrats!! All the Way to 2014, 2016, and Beyond!!

    February 20, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. JY

    To hades with the country... says Cruz
    "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."

    February 20, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. JY

    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.
    ironic? Oh, forget Ted would rather Kill people than save them. let's go to war with someone, somewhere...

    February 20, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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