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. Dave

    This guy will singlehandedly keep his party out of power. Which is great because he will still get a lot of help from his colleagues.

    February 20, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Mark

    If Ted Cruz puts his arm around you make sure to hold onto you wallet and that he isn't stabbing you in the back. He looks like a shady used car salesman.

    February 20, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Quest

    Ban Christianity! It's okay to discriminate against bigoted, racist, sexist, homophobic Christian Republicans like Cruz and his other pig supporters. Kick them out of your business!

    February 20, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. dana

    What happened to a time when, regardless of political ideologies, we could work together as Americans for the benefit of America? Irrespective of which side of the isle we find ourselves, when did this type of vitriol become okay? Our country has always had a segment that is selfish and extreme but they've always been on the margins. Today, a very vocal and influential minority have gained fame and power by trying to purge, cleanse, divide, and malign their own countrymen. Reading many of the comments reveal that lies, hate, and a willful blindness to reality have claimed the hearts of those who ironically call themselves "true patriots". How long will it take before extreme rhetoric is replaced by honest discussion?

    February 20, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. Realityblowz

    So this guy has been saying that we need to quit printing money, because the interest on these "Loans" will be costing us over 90% of our GNP, according to the CBO by about 2024. Basically it is written in stone, that by 2024 that the U.S. has no chance now but to go into a catastrophic depression, due to the 18 Trillion dollar debt. Cruz is trying to prevent that ..... and you people laugh at him. This is why there is a seperation of human evolution. Most of the people here are incapable of seeing what is coming, due to your inablility to mentally evolve. Keep laughing. You will need a good sense of humor soon enough.

    February 20, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. woodie

    Nobody likes this nut job. Not even his own party.

    February 20, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. blue079

    I am SO hoping he runs for President. Maybe after he LOSES horribly in the primaries, he'll sit down and shut his dang mouth. Stop being such an egotistical moron and start realizing that you are not God's gift to America.

    Please and thank you.

    February 20, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Vincent

    "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.

    LOL 😀 .... 'never be disproved' (at least in the minds of those who want to believe it) .... sounds more like "creationism" 😀 😀
    Scientific theories are proven and disproven with experiments, results, evidence, etc. Religious theories are simply 'believed in' without any of the aforementioned.

    February 20, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. Michael

    Why doesn't';t he start his own party rather than try and hijack the GOP? Because of money. Ted is a 2 faced liar and has never presented a viable idea. He only criticizes while offering no solutions. He's disliked by liberals and the GOP alike. I wonder if the election is Texas was held today if he would win. Doubt it. He's the "King of Non Ideas"! He has no plan, no way out.

    February 20, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. VED

    Still trying to figure out who put the Canadian Ted Cruz in charge. First he shuts down the Government over ACA, where in Canada it has been around for decades. He is a hypocrite big time. Canadians think he is a joke. He reminds us of our Conservative leader Harper, who is going to crash and burn in the next election. Hopefully Harper joins Cruz in Texas. We don't want either of them up here.

    February 20, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. billmosby

    Crushing your descendants with debt? The initial cause is plain, it was W, who grew the debt and retired the economy rather than continue the exact opposite course that Slick Willie had charted for the country. The ones perpetuating and exacerbating the problem are the taxophobes who continue to pay homage to St. Grover of Norquist. Cruz is only the latest sideshow.

    February 20, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. John

    Talk about Hitler, this man is doing just what Uncle Adolf did. Blame everyone for everything and take no responsiblitity. Then there is his Dad, not sure what country he was born in, but how he thinks his broken English makes him better than a President who was born in Hawaii, and speaks much better English than his predecessor from Texas.

    February 20, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Michael

    Ted Cruz & Ted Nugent....2 peas in the same hate filled pod!!!

    February 20, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. suzy hager

    Ted Cruz for President in 2016. I'm Democrat.

    February 20, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. jon1241

    The last time Republicans took a stand on principle, the government shutdown.

    February 20, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Keith

    I hate that Cruz is from my State but I love everything he is doing for the Democratic party. Keep up the good work Ted.

    February 20, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Ryan

    At least this guy understands the consequences of borrowing money to pay interest on borrowed money.

    February 20, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. ken

    The most sane guy in the GOP is Cruz. He says what he sees. I am Democrat just so you know.

    February 20, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. stevetall

    At last, a politician everyone can hate. What a dork!

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

    Reality Blowz needs a wake up call. Where were you as bush and company contributed to this massive debt???? Not one peep as bush paid for zero, including both wars and his Medicare D rx plan!!!!!! His entire 8 years. So far $5 trillion and counting and we are still in Afghanistan and we have thousands of dead Americans and thousand more needing on going medical care.
    You are the one who will need some levity as once again Repubs will not be in charge....... Thank God.

    February 20, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Malory Archer

    rafael better be careful about trashing the rethugs or it's just a matter of time before one of them remembers that he isn't even a U.S. citizen, and therefore ineliglble for the office he currently holds, not to mention the one he thinks he's entitled to.

    February 20, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |

    What a moron!!!

    February 20, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Bill

    I suppose all you Cruz haters are for continued deficit growth? Letting Obama sell us to China? Giving away our Children's and Grand Children's future? Why would any Senator vote to give Obama the keys to the treasury? People we are on the verge of economic melt down. This uncontrolled spending is unsustainable.

    February 20, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Winston5

    "I – I won't identify anything, but I'll – I'll tell you several people raised a question.." Is this not complete surrealism to anyone over 40 that knows the history of how McCarthy went down? He's right on the precipice, before he hits the "sad clown period" and it's done.

    February 20, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    lil' ted better be careful about trashing the rethugs or it's just a matter of time before someone remembers that he hasn't proven he's obtained his American citizenship, and therefore quite possibly is ineligible for the office he currently holds!

    February 20, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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