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. Mistro

    Say what you want about him but at least someone in the Senate is being honest and trustworhy.

    February 20, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. Dywlf

    I'm convinced that the freeloading pink fascists sit around all day in their rent assisted houses eating food stamp staples while blogging on their welfare check computers denouncing everything that challenges their life style. I will give them their due, they are organized they consistently and massively attack any and all conservatives that appear on cnn. I can only hope their mothership returns soon and takes them back to wherever they come from. CRUZ FOR PRESIDENT!.

    February 20, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Dennis

    Funny, he only got 4,469,843 votes. How does he figure he represents the wishes of everyone who voted against him, along with those who didn't bother voting?

    February 20, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. Skeptic

    " I work for 26 million Texans,”

    No, he doesn't. He represents only a portion of Texans, and even fewer Americans overall.

    Get over yourself, Ted.

    February 20, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. Mada

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

    See, that's because when someone on the left in the media screws up, the left throws them out almost too quickly. Helen Thomas? A decades long career is over after a single comment about Israelis. Alec Baldwin? Several slurts and MSNBC tosses him. They screw up, they're gone. It's fast, quick, and because of how the 24 hour news cycle works, there's very little to talk about after the facts.

    If it seems like people on the right take a greater hammering, it's because the right lines up ranks to defend them and the argument/debate drags on, and then they complain that too much attention's paid to the issue.

    February 20, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Dave1157

    What a blowhard. I'm not sure if he's campaigning for president, or trying to replace Rush Limbaugh. I'm sure Fox News will have a spot for him when his political aspirations blow up in his face. But meanwhile, I hope he keeps on spewing his nonsense, because he's turning a lot of moderates and independents away from any thought of leaning Republican. And he's already proven his complete lack of concern for others in his party, so it'll be fun to watch him dissect every viable Republican in the primaries. I don't see a snowball's chance of him actually winning a nomination, but he's probably the best weapon the Democrats could ever hope for.

    February 20, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Areyoua1percenter

    I have always thought that the Tea Party was interesting. Why? They promote an elitess agenda, claim it's for the "grass roots" voters (translation working poor), and will fight you if you call them a racist but started the entire "Take back my County" campaign when an African American President was elected. I don't know about you, but the Republican party has a broken message within the broken message. But what bother's me more is people like our good friend @DC Johnny. I hope you are a wealthy person (translation you sign the pay checks of people who make a million on more) because every time one of you working class americans vote for this party you say I dislike people of color, having a hard time financially, just aren't as rich/poor as me. You seal your ignorance when you applaud not paying bills to fix a fiscal problem. Where were you Tea Party people on fiscal responsibility when George sent all that money to Haliburton to fund weapons for a war he lied to us about the reason we were in it. Truth of the matter is you Tea Party Voters/Republican Voters aren't that stupid. You just pick and choose (based on something other than color right?) who you will allow to spend a ton of money in this country and who you won't. By the way, if you love Jesus so much, he helped the poor, hungry, lame/sick, and he hung out with the working class people and spoke out against the rich. Remember the rich young ruler, remember Nicodemus, or do you just read parts of the bible that talk about the ten commandments? Oh Wait that was the Old Testiment before Jesus in the NEW TESTIMONY. #REALLYREADYOURBIBLE

    February 20, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Siestasis

    Cruz you may get the right wing of the GOP but the rest of the country will never vote for you as President. Plus you are not qualified to be President. You were born in Canada with a Cuban father. You are not even a legitimate American so quit saying Our country.

    February 20, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. wesscott2014

    " I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents.”

    And therein lies the problem – Ted Cruz wants to "tell our constituents" rather than listen to and obey the demands of his constituents. Ted Cruz is a public servant, not a god. He is elected to represent the people, not dictate to them from Washington. This lame brain actually believes that he represents all Texans – he does not. He only represents the Tea Party Fascists in Texas, and that includes himself. The man is a traitor to the notion of public service.

    February 20, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. sly

    The Republican Party has gone extinct – the way of the DooDoo. 13% now. Likely 5% by election time.

    America is OUR country now. We have our progressive President presiding over some of the most successful times in American history. No more Bush Oil wars. Record stock market. Record 401K. Health care for 50 MILLION Americans who were banned by the fascist right.

    America: Love it or Leave. It's our time now, and for the next 10 years as well. Good times.

    February 20, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  11. How In the World

    This man should have never gotten the Texas Senate seat to Washington. All he has done is perpetuate CUTS to needy Texans and other Americans and bring tears to his fellow Republicans whom he constantly slams. He has no plans to further U.S. interests in the economy or elsewhere. Neither do his fellow Republicans. That's why it's high time to Vote Them All Out in 2014 and especially in 2016 and Beyond!! Posthaste. Finis. End of Story!

    February 20, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Larry B.

    This guy is definitely Cruzin' for a bruisin'. Hope he hasn't given up his Canadian-Cuban citizenship yet. He's going to need an escape route pronto the way things are going. Most Americans are very tired of his bloviating.

    February 20, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. gregg

    Actually, most legal scholars believe he is eligible to run for President... He was born in Canada to a US Citizen (his mother) while his father was working there...... analogous to this is if you are born in Europe to US parents, you are still considered a naturalized born in the US citizen.

    February 20, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Cruz is a very dangerous nut case. Other than that..he is fine..

    February 20, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. rickpadre

    Somebody is right and somebody is wrong in every argument. When somebody is WRONG they say stupid things like "Well it's the principle".

    February 20, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Ted Cruz says he represents the 26 million Texans but he won the Senate election with only 4,440,137 votes because only about 7.6 million people voted. He did not lead the in the Republican Primary but did win the runoff election with 631,316 votes to David Dewhurst 480,165 votes. Texas is such a RED state that he won because of 631,316 people got out and voted for him in the Republican Primary Runoff Election. I voted for Dewhurst in the runoff and refused to vote for Cruz in the general election as he appears to be wrong for Texas. Hopefully next election more moderate Republicans will come out to vote in the primary as important as it is in Texas. A democrat has not won a state election in over a decade but if we continue with running the nutjobs they will soon.

    February 20, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. kurtinco

    Darn it. I misread the headline for this article. I thought it said "Cruz Slams Head". Bummer. Thought he might have knocked some sense into himself.

    February 20, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Bobilino

    This guy is tremendous

    February 20, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. blakenaustin

    Once again Cruz is absolutely correct. The RINO leadership of the GOP iis and has been in bed with the Democrats for far too long. Rolling over and playing dead on virtually every issue of the day. Boehner and McConnell are co-MVPs for the Democrats. It is well past time for consistently conservative leadership of the GOP that will help the American people see the clear choice between the failed ideology and agenda of the Democrats and the proven, common sense ideology and agenda of conservative Americans. The GOP will flourish under consistent conservative leadership whether that be in the 2016 presdiential election or the 2014 mid-term elections.

    February 20, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. lacoaster

    The only thing Cruz is good for is the blah blah. Good for nothing but just finger pointing, the spot he occupies is money wasted as long as he is there. Get out Cruz, being a public servant is not for you.

    February 20, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. txkj

    Texas and Ted Cruz are 2 peas in a pod. They have elected him and now we have to deal with him (I'm from TX) I love when he spews his rhetoric and in his mind he truly believes the majority is behind him! Delusional little man. Keep talking Cruz you are "our" best friend in politics!

    February 20, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. WilsohReagan

    Ted Cruz gives me hope for the country. Comments like where were you when George Bush was president. I did not agree with his spending either. If being against crushing my children and grandchildren from debt that will make everyone life miserable is extreme, then sign me up.

    February 20, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Big_D

    History will not be kind to today's GOP. This is the worst this party has become. I would be embarrassed to be in the GOP.

    February 20, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Name rapidkraft

    Ted the carnival Cruz seems to love all the attention he gets from his crack pot ideas and conspiracy theories. He seems totally ok with the fact that he is a laughing stock. He and his small band of ideolog supporters who refuse to take their medicine cabinet of anti-psychotic prescriptions

    February 20, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Mona

    If repubs "get clobbered" it will b/c of them doing nothing the last 7 yrs. They finally grow a pair & do the right thing.
    Cruz can go pound salt, he is a total disgrace!!!

    February 20, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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