October 31st, 2013
11:24 AM ET
9 years ago

Ted Cruz's father in 2012: Send Obama 'back to Kenya'

(CNN) - Comments from last year by the father of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, including a desire to send President Barack Obama "back to Kenya," are creating a new controversy Thursday.

A story by the left-leaning news organization Mother Jones highlights a series of newly surfaced videos that also feature Rafael Cruz calling the United States "a Christian nation," urging men to reclaim their place as the "spiritual" head of the household and lambasting the so-called "death panels" that some conservatives claim are in the President’s health care law.

The elder Cruz, a successful businessman turned evangelical pastor, and an immigrant from Cuba, along with his son, has become a hero among many tea party activists and social conservatives.

One of the most explosive statements comes from an April 2012 video, as his son was running for the Senate, and as the President was running for re-election.

"We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago," Cruz urges. "Back to Kenya."

The Mother Jones story was quickly picked up by a number of progressive blogs and websites.

The younger Cruz has long cited his father in speaking engagements, highlighting the elder's story of leaving Cuba in 1957 not knowing a word of English, only to work his way up from busboy, put himself through college and raise a family. Rafael Cruz helped his son on the campaign trail and at various conservative events since Ted Cruz won his Senate seat last November. Right after that victory, Ted Cruz praised his father, saying that he “has spent virtually every day the past year crisscrossing this state, telling his story and speaking on his son’s behalf. My dad is my hero, he has been my entire life.”

In the April 2012 video, Rafael Cruz speaks of the need to restore the conservative majority to the Senate in order to block liberal nominees to the Supreme Court. The presidency was an even more crucial vote.

"If we do not take this country back in this election, there's a very strong possibility that this country will be destroyed by Barack Obama in the next four years," he said.

Ted Cruz vaulted to national attention in the run-up to the partial government shutdown, a crisis he helped precipitate by ring leading the push by conservative lawmakers to tie defunding Obamacare to a government funding bill. That drive by conservative lawmakers, and the pushback by congressional Democrats and the White House, led to the 16-day partial federal government shutdown.

Cruz's new prominence among conservatives and his unapologetic antagonism to Senate moderates in his party, along with numerous visits already this year to Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, have fueled speculation that the Texas Republican is considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

A spokeswoman for Cruz Thursday declined CNN's offer to respond to the controversial comments made by the Senator's father.

Instead Cruz's office pointed to the statement Cruz Communications Director Sean Rushton gave to Mother Jones.

"These selective quotes, taken out of context, mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz's message. Like many Americans, he feels America is on the wrong track," Rushton said.

But Rushton added that, "Pastor Cruz does not speak for the Senator."

Filed under: Ted Cruz
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. rla

    Keep it up progressives your vile language will not mask the total failure of Obama and your objective to remake America in your image... The more filth you spout thee stronger the Tea Party becomes because your antics are a show of intellectual dirth

    October 31, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    IMO the vidoe of daddy telling the mega church audience that his psychotic spawn and his ilk were chosen by "god" to take over every aspect of America is much more damning and alarming.

    October 31, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Denise

    Yes, the Tea Party is such a force to reckon with! We are shaking in our boots because so many of their predictions concerning the president have come to fruition!

    October 31, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. jinx9to88

    Send Cruz back to Canada!

    October 31, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Sniffit

    Send him back to Cuba with nothing but a pair of SpongeBob swimmies. I'll push him into the ocean myself if nobody else volunteers.

    October 31, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Send Cruz back to Canada.

    October 31, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. jinx9to88

    @ ria – " more filth you spout thee stronger the Tea Party"


    LMAO!! Were you around in 2012 election when the tea party got their butt kicked at the polls? Get out of the Fox bubble the weather is nice in the real world.

    October 31, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Now the brain dead are talking about our president being a total failure? Too bad they don't understand that the GOP has totally failed Americans in their quest to be lap dogs for the Kochs.

    October 31, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    Maybe you and your rotten son should go back to Cuba. Same ish just a different day. We know, we know, he didn't mean it that way. His words were taken out of context.


    October 31, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Pander Bear

    Garbage begets garbage.

    October 31, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Dallas

    Send the daddy back to Cuba and Sen. Cruz back to Canada. There is no place for the filth and lies they project. Teddy, you will never be POTUS – the American people are too smart to let something like that ever happen. Just go back to the Senate, start doing your job and do what the people of Texas elected you to do – not this foolishness you have been doing of late. We are stuck with you at least until 2018 – try to reserect your sorry image!

    October 31, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. DannyTV

    Pastor Cruz, Ron Paul, Texas. Is it the heat down there or what?

    October 31, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Go back to Cuba!!!

    October 31, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. eric

    Ah Yes the Hypocrites On The RIGHT are out in Force, Wonder why their WEB SITES are so RACIST?.........Tea Party.....Fox.......Red State......Tea Patriot.........Yep Nothing but RACISM go Firgure lol How EMBARRASSING!!!!!!!!!!

    October 31, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    Send this guy to Canada immediately.

    October 31, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Malory Archer

    Fair is Fair

    If we judged all people based on what their father says or believes, we wouldn't have a very high opinion of the current President, now would we?


    You don't.
    You're absolutely right – I don't. But my reasons have absolutely NOTHING to do with his father and absolutely EVERYTHING to do with his politics. Capeesh?

    October 31, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "The more filth you spout thee stronger the Tea Party become"
    Especially when it is a fellow Tea Party member spouting it.

    October 31, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. TheObserver

    OK, so Obama should go back to Kenya. OK. OK. Everybody, Barack Obama is an American. If you tell Barack to go back to Kenya why not tell Robert DeNiro to go back to Italy? I'm one eighth Czech, should I go back to Czechoslovakia? I'm also one eighth Italian, where should I go?

    Man it's so funny to watch how old white men react to a young intelligent (1/2) black man.

    Anyway, I'm all in favor of him running in 2016. Whatever helps the GOP lose is OK in my book.

    October 31, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Ol' Yeller

    Now here is an undocumented alien I'm sure hannity and rush would sing a different tune about.
    Is Chicago in Kenya?!? I need to brush up on my geography or he does.
    Oh, and ria... did you hit your head, honey?

    October 31, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Malory Archer

    The Truth

    @ Silence and I think al progressives should carry sgns that say I think the 1% should ay everything for the other 99% and I'm a 47%er – I take but I don't contribute or I believe in a womans right to kill her child even if a Philadelphia doctor bothced the "procedure" or I voted for a man that lied to me about pretty much everything – and I'm OK with it....I could go on....but you get the point


    Hyperbole much? That being said; good for you – you managed to touch on all the reichwing projection and talking points without coming up for air!

    October 31, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. vic , nashville ,tn

    Dad is a very good mentor

    October 31, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Peace

    These two Cruzs must go back home where they were born. They don't belong here and have difficulties to suit themselves to the society. We are ready to help you packing if you need a hand of help.

    October 31, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. MikeB

    Send the old man back to Cuba. Send his son back to Canada.

    October 31, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    (CNN any chance I'll get posted today?)

    Ted Cruz should defiinitely run for President and let his daddy stump for him on the campaign trail.
    This is the Tea Party filth that a certain segment of America feels comfortable with.

    October 31, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. jboh

    Just more BS from TEA trash.

    October 31, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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