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. YoonYoungJo

    That's a good start really. I think Sen Cruz had the right idea. The thing is, the wealthy and Republicans blame Obama for starting class warfare. What they fail to understand is, the people, don't care if your party is pro business. They don't care if your main emphasis and mantra is strong business strong country just don't forget about everyone else all the time. Try and do something, once in awhile that maybe best for the country and people overall and not always just business. It's okay to believe empowering corporations will keep America strong because part of that is probably true. But there is such a thing as being "pro" anything too much. Remeber the average person, their struggles, their suffering, once in awhile and keep your motto of strong business and I bet the country will be better for it.

    February 20, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. larrylinn

    Don Quixote Cruz is busy charging the windmills in the sky rather than accomplish anything meaningful.

    February 20, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. Dan5404

    Ted Cruz, Sara Palin, Ted Nugent, Michelle Bachmann, Rand Pau, etc...the list of right-wing nut jobs is almost like a mass escape from the loony bin. And the thing is, there is a fringe element that actually believes much of their
    extreme rantings and ravings. Fortunately, their chances of having one of their group or anyone they wholeheartedly support elected to high office is nil.

    February 20, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. Nameraymond

    "Subhuman Mongrel" ?!!! Hey Ted Nugent-look really hard in a mirror !!!

    February 20, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Thomas

    American Cuban Favoritism 101

    Ted Cruz / Sarah Palin
    The world is Flat from my bathroom window .

    February 20, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  6. Jack

    I am with you Billy Goat; there are some really good Republican & Democrats; but these nut cases that keep getting the media attention are not my cup of tea. Sorry for the pun

    Oh, By the Way, Cuz you are wrong! I understand what they did, they compromised. Only donkey's set their butt in the sand and you know what happens, they whine up on the butcher's block.

    Those old-timer's are going to eat your lunch! You've been hit with a freight train and they grab a hold of you and are taking you for the ride/beating of your political life of the rough tracks of life; and I am laughing all the way!

    February 20, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  7. Larry L

    Cruz makes the mistake other right-wing radicals always makes. They surround themselves with extremists so long they believe that population actually represents America.

    Think about it Ted... Republicans from Texas saw Greg Abbott on stage with Ted Nugent yesterday, and cheered as Ted called the President a "mongrel". Think of that. When America saw the same thing they saw a disgusting draft dodger, who crapped his pants rather than serve his country (literally), using the same language Hitler used to describe the Jews. Hate and bigotry sells in Texas – but the rest of America sets a higher standard for it's leaders.

    February 20, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Hillcrester

    The Libertarians should run a Cruz/Palin ticket. In a massive increase from 2012, they might surge to 2-3% of the popular vote.

    February 20, 2014 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Jonathan Hawkins

    Ted Cruz is a moron. He went in to the senate detached from the people he is supposed to represent. But then again that every republican

    February 20, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. sammy

    this is coming from the same guy who filibustered for 21 hours then voted for what he was filibustering against

    February 20, 2014 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. globesaver

    Annex Texas to Mexico but save the oil rights.

    February 20, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. Segura

    Lynn, do you have much of an education outside the bigoted ideology on which you were school? Being black is a race. Being Cuban is not. What that means is that they are not mutually exclusive.

    February 20, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. ardvrk

    That's right, Taco Boy – you just can't trust a Republican!

    February 20, 2014 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  14. ardvrk

    Why did the Canadian cross the road?

    Because he thought he could run for President on the other side.

    February 20, 2014 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  15. Uh-Clem

    Cruz lives in a fantasy world imagining that most Republicans are clones of his safe gerrymandered districts. He is not the best of the lot to even aspire to govern. He is the anti-statesman. A smooth talking shyster who can smile like a saint while spewing gibberish. I sincerely hope his ilk are a passing fad, like platform shoes and Jordache Jeans.

    February 20, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. Sid

    Obama will be out in 2017!

    I'm surprised Republicans haven't jumped on this band-wagon. It is a chance to be right for a change.

    February 20, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. Arrakis

    This guy can do nothing but complain and insult. If he wants my respect he should show me how good he is, not how bad others are.

    February 20, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  18. ge

    i can see why Reagan defunded mental illness in america ,half the republican party would be locked up

    February 20, 2014 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  19. g

    why does this guy work so hard at destroying America ,who does he work for.Why did he pick texas ,as his home state

    February 20, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  20. bone

    This dude is crazy ! This is what I call a wolf in sheep's clothing .

    February 20, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. Michael Hobart

    Senator Cruz firmly believes in minority NON-government. He doesn't want to help deal with America's various problems, he just wants to stick a monkey wrench in the works.

    Oh, has he finally figured out how to renounce his dual citizenship with Canada? All it takes is being able to follow the instructions as explained by the Canadian government, but the last I heard he had to hire a lawyer a couple of months ago to help him through the process. This was well over half a year since it became an item in the media 🙂

    February 20, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. Steve S

    Cruz is worth more to the Democratic Party, than all the television ads money can buy.

    February 20, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  23. tbone

    Ted Cruz is like the nail in the Republican coffin.

    February 20, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  24. ja

    And who is Ted Nugent, what is his claim to fame, other than racism and intolerance, or floating with whale manure

    February 20, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  25. amanda

    maybe it is a greater threat cruz.

    February 20, 2014 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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