Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has rubbed even some of his ideological peers the wrong way. So much so, that in 2016, the BBC noted that “some of Ted Cruz’s harshest critics” are Republican politicians. “Lucifer in the flesh,” former House Speaker John Boehner once said of the former Solicitor General of Texas (via The Stanford Daily). “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a b**h in my life.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham took it a step further during the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 72nd Congressional Dinner in 2016, joking, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you” (via CNN). But nothing can top what his former Princeton roommate Craig Mazin told The Daily Beast in 2017: “Ted Cruz is a nightmare of a human being. I have plenty of problems with his politics, but truthfully his personality is so awful that 99 percent of why I hate him is just his personality. If he agreed with me on every issue, I would hate him only one percent less.”
Regarding his “charm deficit,” Cruz told The New York Times in 2015, “If you want someone to grab a beer with, I may not be that guy.” Suffice to say, Cruz isn’t always the most popular person around. Here’s the shady side of Ted Cruz.
Green Eggs and Ham and Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz first came to national attention when the freshman senator took center stage ahead of the 2013 federal government shutdown. Long story short, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected the House Republicans proposal to strip the Affordable Care Act of the individual mandate, and as The Washington Post noted, the government “shut down for the first time in 17 years” as a result.
Prior to that, Cruz did everything in his power to strip funding for the historic healthcare bill, including giving a 21-hour speech on the Senate floor that saw him at point quote Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. “This was all about elevating the debate in the public and giving the American people the chance to speak,” Cruz told ABC News afterwards. “At this point, the debate is in the hands of the American people.”
However, some of his colleagues saw the stunt as nothing more than Cruz attempting to build his brand at the expense of his party. “He knew it,” former senator Tom Coburn told The Washington Post. “It wasn’t about the shutdown. It wasn’t about the Affordable Care Act. It was about launching Ted Cruz.” In 2018, Cruz told reporters he “consistently opposed shutdowns” much to the shock of his colleagues (via CNN). “Senator Susan Collins was just told in a scrum that Ted Cruz claimed to be consistently against government shutdowns. She stood there, mouth literally agape, for several seconds before saying ‘you’ve rendered me speechless,'” BuzzFeed reporter Paul McLeod tweeted.
Did Ted Cruz throw a staffer under the bus?
In 2017, Ted Cruz’s official Twitter account liked a pornographic video from an account named @SexuallPosts. While that sentence is funny all by itself, Cruz entered damage control mode and blamed a lowly staffer for the “mistake” that would never happen again. “There are a number of people on the team who have access on the account. It appears that someone inadvertently hit the like button. When we discovered the post, which was I guess an hour or two later, we pulled it down,” Cruz said (via Politico). “It was a staffing issue. And it was inadvertent, it was a mistake. It was not a deliberate act. We’re dealing with it internally, but it was a mistake. It was not malicious.”
As Politico noted, Cruz’s senior communications adviser, Catherine Frazier, took to Twitter to inform everyone that the “offensive tweet” had “been removed by staff and reported to Twitter,” while Cruz told reporters that the staffer’s future with his team was “still being discussed.” Although the like was removed, screenshots still exist, and the @SexuallPosts account updated their bio to instruct their followers to “follow the same porn @TedCruz watches.” What’s the full story behind the like that took all of Twitter by storm? We may never know, friends.
Ted Cruz reportedly used the Georgia runoff race to fundraise for himself
In late 2020, the eyes of the nation were on Georgia due to the two runoff races that would determine if Democrats would control the White House and Congress or if Republicans would retain control of the Senate. The races shattered previous fundraising records with nearly $500 million pouring into the state. According to The Daily Beast, Ted Cruz used that battle for Congress to raise money for himself.
The publication states that Cruz bought 15 ads on Facebook warning Georgia voters of a “radical” platform if Democrats were to win the senate. “Gun-grabbing, tax hikes, open borders, and stacking the Supreme Court. That’s the radical Democrat agenda if they win the Georgia Senate elections,” Cruz said in one ad. However, the $5 donations he was raking in for his “Keep Georgia Red fund,” weren’t going to Georgia at all. “Facebook users who clicked through to the online donation page—and read the fine print at the bottom—would see that the actual beneficiary was Cruz’s own campaign committee, not Sens. Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue, the two Republicans running for re-election in Georgia,” The Daily Beast found.
Inside Elections reporter Jacob Rubashkin posted screenshots of Cruz’s fundraising email and blasted his tactics. “Still can’t get over Ted Cruz raising money “to save our Senate majority and keep Georgia RED” but 100% of the donations go to Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign and 0% goes to Georgia,” he tweeted.
Ted Cruz didn't disclose a loan from Goldman Sachs that launched his campaign
The Washington Post called Ted Cruz’s unlikely win in 2012 “a true grassroots victory against very long odds.” While that may have been true, Cruz’s right-wing populist rhetoric that made him a darling of the Tea Party, didn’t really square with the fact that his wife, Heidi Cruz, is managing director at Goldman Sachs, a multinational investment bank and financial services company that doesn’t quite scream “populist.”
According to The New York Times, Cruz claimed that his senatorial campaign was financed by individual donations and special requests Cruz made to his wife. “Sweetheart, I’d like us to liquidate our entire net worth, liquid net worth, and put it into the campaign,” Cruz said. However, that wasn’t the case. Nearly four years after his election, the publication found that Cruz’s campaign received $1.2 million in loans from Goldman Sachs and Citibank without disclosing them in his campaign finance reports — which is in violation of committee rules.
Cruz’s spokesperson Catherine Frazier told The New York Times that the failure to disclose “inadvertent,” and stressed this was not an attempt on Cruz’s part to hide anything. “These transactions have been reported in one way or another on his many public financial disclosures and the Senate campaign’s F.E.C. filings,” she continued.
Ted Cruz and the Capitol riots
While Donald Trump was disputing the 2020 Presidential election results, Ted Cruz played a key role in amplifying the false voter fraud claims that drove people to overrun the U.S. Capitol. On Jan. 6, 2021, hours before a violent mob stormed the Capitol to stop the certification of the election results, Cruz gave voice to “39 percent of Americans” who believed it was rigged. “For those who respect the voters, simply telling the voters, go jump in a lake, the fact that you have deep concerns is of no moment to us?” Cruz said (via The Washington Post). “That jeopardizes, I believe, the legitimacy of this and subsequent elections.”
Cruz then voted to object to Arizona’s electors who called the race for Joe Biden. After the assault on the Capitol, Cruz called the attack “a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking assault on our democratic system” and denied any responsibility. However, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted directly at Cruz telling him that he “must accept responsibility for how your craven, self-serving actions contributed to the deaths of four people yesterday. And how you fundraised off this riot,” then called for his resignation.
Several anonymous members of Cruz’s staff claimed to Intelligencer that they were “disgusted” by his decision to back Trump’s election fraud claims. “The biggest conversation I’ve had with fellow Cruz supporters is, ‘Was he always this way or did he change?'” former Cruz aide Amanda Carpenter told the outlet.
A trip to Cancún landed Ted Cruz in hot water
During a historic winter storm in Texas that left millions of residents without electricity or running water, Ted Cruz decided to take his family on a trip to Cancún, Mexico. Faced with immediate backlash, the Texas senator offered up an explanation while speaking to reporters. “With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” he said (via ABC News).
Cruz then admitted he “started having second thoughts almost the moment I sat down on the plane,” and apologized. However, The New York Times obtained the leaked text messages of Heidi Cruz who claimed their house was “FREEZING” and began to invite their neighbors to join them at the $309 per night Ritz-Carlton resort. They declined. Once paparazzi photos of Cruz (above) landing in Mexico surfaced, Cruz’s office declined to speak to the media for over 12 hours. “This is about as callous as any politician can get,” Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, said. “He’s a politician that really has never cared much about anybody but himself.”
After returning from their trip, Cruz was spotted in Houston assisting with the volunteer efforts by handing out bottled water (via CBS Austin). Cruz later appeared on the Ruthless podcast and asked the press not to be “a*****s” when covering his trip (via The Guardian). After the trip, Cruz’s approval rating dropped more than 20% with Republicans.
Ted Cruz had beef with a Jedi
On Feb. 10, 2021, Mandalorian actor Gina Carano was fired by Lucasfilm due to problematic social posts where she mocked trans people and compared conservatives in America to Jews in Nazi Germany. “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable,” the company told Deadline.
Ted Cruz immediately came to her defense citing cancel culture. “Texan Gina Carano broke barriers in the Star Wars universe: not a princess, not a victim, not some emotionally tortured Jedi. She played a woman who kicked a** & who girls looked up to. She was instrumental in making Star Wars fun again. Of course Disney canceled her,” he tweeted.
Daisy Ridley, who played the young Jedi Rey in the third Star Wars movie trilogy, had a response for Cruz after his return trip from Mexico. “I am very happy to be an emotionally tortured Jedi who doesn’t leave their state when it’s having a terrible time,” she said during an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. Talk about a response that cuts like a lightsaber.
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