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. works4me

    "And if 45 Republicans had stood together, nobody gets thrown under the bus."

    Yea, Cruz... except for the American people!! For the People seems to be washed away by For the Party. This notion has to stop!

    February 20, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. bob@bob12412.com

    They know the debt limit is stupid and that defaulting the economy is a VERY BAD THING. But their voters dont, so they want to be able to say they voted against it. Politics is 1 part reality, 1 part ideology, and 1 part campagin strategy. Cruz is an idiot because he stabbed them in the back and ignored the parts about reality (he actually believes the default is a good thing) and getting reelected. Not that they deserve praise for trying to run against something that htey KNOW is essential for the health of the economy, but Cruz is a loose cannon whom the GOP simply cannot trust.

    This is why its so much easier to be a person who deals in facts and logic. No backstabbing of your own party required. No logical and ideological gymnastics. No voting yes and then voting no on the same issue on the same day.

    February 20, 2014 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  3. drrichard

    Some Tea Party members said Obama couldn't be president because they allege he was not born in the US.
    Cruz was definitely not born in the US (Alberta, Canada, where he lived as a small child). However, the Tea Party has no problem with that fact.
    This tells you exactly what kind of illogical people make up this group, and a lot about the pretzel logic of Senator Cruz himself.
    Here's hoping he keeps attacking the mainstream GOP. Tear each other apart boys, the rest of us will pick up the pieces.

    February 20, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  4. okiejoe

    "And if 45 Republicans had stood together, nobody gets thrown under the bus."

    Except ALL of us as the country defaults on its debt, the economy tanks AGAIN and we have a real Depression that makes the 2008 thing look like a minor blip.

    February 20, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  5. gahh

    This man is a self serving moron, that has cost this country billions through his stupidity. We wouldn't be in this mess if a Republican President named GW Bush hadn't invaded 2 different countries, and hadn't given Wall Street 8 hundred billion in taxpayer dollars. Cruz wants to cut all benefits going to this country's poorest people, when it's not their fault they're on welfare. Now everybody can have a wife that works on Wall Street, to take care of them, like this moron does.

    February 20, 2014 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  6. Thomas

    CNN ,
    please ask Mr. Cruz how much he prospered finically. directly or indirectly during the government shut down ?

    When I think of Ted Cruz , I think of Sarah Palin . Bad Actors

    February 20, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  7. rl

    Seriously, what does Cruz have against the United States of America? We allowed his father to come to this country, because of what some of us feel were strictly economic reasons. We allowed him, a foreign born to run for and get elected in the state of texas. Why is Cruz so keen on destroying the US? It seems to me he is doing it all, because as a white Hispanic he is very racist and can't handle the idea of a Black President. Well sorry about that Teddy my good man, he won the election quite handelily. Get used to it.

    February 20, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  8. Charles

    So this Canadian immigrates to America. Makes a pot of money putting Americans out of jobs, selling off their businesses for profit. Moves to Texas, cons Republican Texans into believing he knows how it is to be an American and they elect him to the Senate.

    How does crazy people like him get elected let alone destroy an entire political party. Then you have his father, who is not a citizen, as far as I can find out, telling actual Americans how to run their country when he has abandoned both Cuba and Canada (which was kind enough to take him in when he abandoned Cuba) Talk about two opertunists!

    February 20, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  9. Bonechips

    The "first-term" senator is destined to become a one term senator.

    February 20, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  10. Joe

    I love when Ted Cruz speaks. It makes all the liberal trolls heads expolde.

    Go Ted!!!!

    February 20, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  11. salty dog

    Hey me, I think you should do some research on the bush war, he definitely LIED, get it. He and Cheney made the report on the wmd, after several high ranking CIA agents told him sadam had nothing, and where was George on election night last, talk about being a rube, holy cow your not interested in the truth. Why i,s their no documents regarding this, you would think they would have them. He started a war for money, you refuse to believe, your choice, but those of us who can handle the truth know. And why do several countries have warrants for him, your in deep denial, and it makes you sound foolish FIFY, you have obviously never googled the man, horrible man, evil, plain and simple.

    February 20, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  12. Timothy

    Senator, Do you understand the concept: after you've made the purchases you have to pay the bills? Do you understand the concept of U.S. economic meltdown for defaulting on our debt? Are you stupid or are you lying? Tell us.

    February 20, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  13. deee510

    So cruz' constituents want him to crash the US economy and global economy. Who voted for this impulsive idiot? he wants to be president and he wants the U.S to be a third world country when that happens.

    February 20, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  14. Ed

    No, Ted. ..The reason that Americans dislike this congress is that nothing gets accomplished. And the reason nothing gets accomplished is that archaic rules have been used by the minority to delay and obstruct. And like it or not, you are the minority. Not sure how you do things in Canada, but in the US, the minority doesn't expect it has a God-given right to always get it's way. There's nothing sneaky or underhanded about allowing a vote. It's how things get accomplished. It's called "democracy" , Ted. If you'd learn to respect that, and accept the fact that you are in the minority, perhaps someday you might be the majority. Otherwise, you'll continue to be reviled by most Americans who expect congress to actually DO something instead of shamelessly pander to an extremist base.

    February 20, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  15. Mike Texoma

    Go ahead. Do it Cruz' way. Throw the whole Republican Party under the bus.

    February 20, 2014 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  16. T4J

    This man is a true leader. He makes Obama look like amateur night at the Appolo.

    February 20, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  17. Jennifer NY

    I find Mr. Cruz repugnant in his behavior. He seems to think he can run the entire Congress based on his views, which are not mainstream. He needs to learn the art of compromise.

    February 20, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    "..... the first-term Republican senator from Texas blamed Republicans for caving in to President Barack Obama and Democrats on raising the debt ceiling."
    A majority of Senators reached a compromise agreement. Ted Cruz calls it "caving in" to the President. Meanwhile, coming out of the other side of his mouth, Ted Cruz claims that he is willing to work with Democrats towards compromises.

    February 20, 2014 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  19. Evelyn Garland

    Please Ted just go back to Cuba and help Fidel run his government.

    February 20, 2014 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  20. Diana

    Unfortunately, I live in Ted's district. Will somone throw this guy "under the bus?"

    February 20, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  21. Roger

    If every senator wants to represent his and his constituents only and not the country's interests, than their votes and influence of their vole should be limited to decided based on % share of taxes each of those states they come from and their vote should not be limiting in any way other states (voters) rights to spend / borrow. These people are voted by their respective constituents to represent the country and not just their local interests. The local elections representatives are for deciding local interests. I think all of these people have skewed view on what their true role is and why they are getting elected, based on their political ambitions and what makes it easy for them to win next election, than what is right for the country both in short-term (as we get thru recession) and when is it right to start tightening belts as we progressively move out of recession.

    February 20, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  22. salty dog

    Not trying to be rude, but if your going to defend him so adamantly, you should probably read up on it, unless you believe Wikipedia, and Google are out to get him, and providing false info. He is a horrible person: he and Cheney's people made billions of this war, no accident, that was the driving force behind the war, money, George bragged often that he would leave the whitehouse the wealthiest president ever, he was right.

    February 20, 2014 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  23. Lewis

    Oh my friggin god. Really! I mean really! This is how he wants to debate! Hold everything hostage until he get what he wants! Texas, do the responsible thing and vote out this clown! This guy nearly single handedly destroyed both the Republican Party and the country. A more responsible republican should take his place!

    February 20, 2014 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  24. Charlie

    Ted Cruz still dosen't get it. We, the people, don't what what you are selling.

    February 20, 2014 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  25. Anonymous

    We should throw Cruz under the bus....

    February 20, 2014 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
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