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. Thomas

    Ted Cruz / Sarah Palin 2016

    When patriotism and heroism collide ?

    February 20, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. The REAL Truth...

    @NameFrank Deery – As a Republican, I think Cruz and other Tea Party need to shut up about internal issues Within the GOP, and focus on Obama's disasterous second term, including Health Care and his isolationist Foreign Policy, which is spawning a rebirth of al Qaeda and Putin's resurgence of the USSR! While Obama golfs, fundraises, and changes law-at his whim. That is why 2014, not the Tea Party, Is crucial.
    I have to chuckle every time I read the same old parrotted lame talking points from the right.... Go for it Ted !! Tear apart the GOP. The party of do-nothing, HAS nothing AND NO-ONE to offer in 2016 but the same stale myopic views on religion, women's health and more of their failed trickle-down fiscal policies. To think there are folks that believe they have EVER delivered on less government and lower taxes (their god Reagan raised them 18 time, doubled the national debt – as did bush – and raided surplus S funds to balance his budget!!!!) shows how uninformed and uneducated their electorate is.
    You go Ted..
    uh.. and pass the popcorn pls...

    February 20, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. tom l

    Reading these comments makes it apparent that racism is alive and well with liberals. I would be embarrassed (just like I, as a conservative, was embarrassed by them when they came from conservatives) and they certainly are a lot more prevalent than the "birther" faction (which was tiny and now is not even a part of repubs). Why is it ok to make these comments? I was always taught that 2 wrongs don't make a right. I guess it's true, IOIYAD

    February 20, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. sly

    "For those of you who think Cruz is a crazy, arrogant, corrupt, right winger, etc..........I guess you think our current Congress/Government is operating just fine then?"
    Yes – these are great times for America:

    -Record Stock Market
    -Record 401k savings
    -Obama killed Americas #1 enemy of all time
    -Federal Deficit at LOWEST pct of budget in 50 years (down 37% this year alone!)
    -Ended Bush Oil Wars
    -Gave 50 MILLION Americans the chance at health care
    -NO foreign terrorist attacks.

    These are great times. Thank you President Obama – no wonder 60%+ approve of your Presidency!

    February 20, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Kelby in Houston

    " 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."
    No Ted, YOU and your ilk is why congress has a %13 approval rating...and that is being generous.

    February 20, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. BB

    Denying Global Warming and talking favorably of Draft Dodger Ted Nugent ...... can't expose your ignorance any better than that.

    February 20, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. PontangDoggieDog

    seems people are so extreme these days and less tolerate... we are all potential terrorist regardless of belief. I think I'll stay unaffiliated as much as possible until the body counts comes back. Good luck in the USA our time is nigh, just waiting for Ted Nugent to die first, I might even chuckle a bit.

    February 20, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. MC-MSgt

    Cruz is a showboating extremist whose only real goal is headlines. It's a sad day for American politics when a veritable nobody like this can command headlines just because he is willing to sabotage anything, even his own party, for personal gain. His 'standing for principles' is nothing more than an unwillingness to negotiate and compromise on everything, and he takes it to the extreme.

    February 20, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. drew

    Cruz is a failure as a leader; he cannot build the coalitions needed to pass laws and get things done through even the mildest compromises - the way it's been done since 1789. All he can do is gripe about the "way it should be" and play to his base by rigidly sticking with his personal philosophies. If only he valued governance as much as he did his own beliefs. Maybe he's simply "too pure" (if that's what you want to call it) to be an effective leader. Oh well, see ya!

    February 20, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Embarrassed Republican

    I've decide to cut my own spending.
    So I'm going to follow The Cruz Method, and just not pay my bills for the debt I've already created...

    February 20, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Sandra


    Wonderful and precisely on-point answers to every question asked. I was not much of a fan of Cruz before reading this article, but certainly am now. Notice that he will answer every question, rather than evade and look for political cover. That's what a REAL leader should do.

    Chancestephens, how is Ted answering Ms. Bash's question here?

    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.
    This is totally typical Tedspeak! LOL!

    February 20, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    He'd be brought to account for his lack of intelligence, but the people that elected him are no more intelligent than he. He's a joke of the highest magnitude, and he's not even a citizen of the US. Amazing.

    February 20, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Climate change, as they've defined it, can never be disproved,”"

    That's not even remotely accurate and, in fact, is itself a statement that "cannot be disproved" because it calls for proof of a negative. This guy is a real piece of crap. And no, Turd Cruz, Congress does not have a 13% approval rating because the GOP/Teatrolls failed to blow up the global economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. That's blatant doublethink and the MSM is complicit in helping you sell it with articles like this. Congress has a 13% approval rating because the GOP/Teatrolls have been throwing a largely race-based freakout temper tantrum for 6 years, obstructing everything, refusing to compromise, radicalizing their base into an extremist delusional conniption fit so they'll have the political cover for it all and then taking hostages and making threats to destroy everything if not given their way without having to give in return. DOUBLETHINK. And the MSM loves to sell it to us.

    February 20, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Luke,AZ

    The circular firing squad is well under way. It's past time for the moderate Republicans to take back their party.

    February 20, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Duff

    I agree with Cruz on principle with 2016. If you are going to attack Hillary, attack her record and on the issues. I personally find it distasteful and cowardly for Rand Paul to go through her to Bill. It's like saying Rand is unqualified for office because his father Ron's theoretical problems.

    Other than that, he has his own opinions about various issues which I disagree with. I take issue particularly with his use of "so-called 'scientific theory'", as a stubborn point of view. That's his right, and if Texas's majority agrees with him then so be it.

    February 20, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Ted, your party is in shambles. Keep up the good work!

    February 20, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. emskadittle

    Well republican leadership remember how well shutting down the government worked the last time, its pretty easy for cruse to complain now that its off the table

    February 20, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. skarphace

    Why don't you want to vote on issues, Cruz? When you know you can't win, prevent the vote? Nothing would get done that way, which is what Cruz wants, I suppose. Stagnation.

    I can't wait for Texas to go blue so crazies like Cruz will be booted and Congress can get back to work.

    February 20, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. CATX

    This guy is a real piece of crap. And no, Turd Cruz
    Hey moderator, you allow this garbage but block mine? Now who is the piece of crap. GFY

    February 20, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. sombody

    Quit giving this guy a platform to speak!

    February 20, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. John Doe

    Copyright violation! This guy stole Bill Murray's stupid grin!

    February 20, 2014 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. skarphace

    Cruz: "that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the ... is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating."

    Wrong. Before that "trickery", as you call it, Congress had a 10 percent approval rating. See, America likes it when Congress actually does something instead of just shutting down every 3 months.

    February 20, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Jack33

    The entire republican Party, including Cruz, needs to be thrown out.

    February 20, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. rosethornne

    Crudz doesn't make sense, he only makes word salad.

    February 20, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. jboh

    In an earlier day, a self-important, too full of himself pol would get a pie in his face. This clown needs taken down a few pegs.

    February 20, 2014 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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