Fault lines within the Republican party are widening in response to Sen. Ted Cruz’s faux filibuster.
“This is not helping the debate, it is not helping the Republican Party, and it is preventing us from governing. And that’s what I came to Washington to do,” Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., told MSNBC’s Martin Bashir Wednesday. “This is a problem for the Republican party. It’s been coming. It’s somewhat overdue. It’s boiling over. But we need to confront this head-on. Senator Ted Cruz does not represent the views of mainstream Republicans, and that’s just the reality.”
Grimm, who was elected to Congress during the GOP wave of 2010, voted for the recent House measure to keep the government running while defunding the Affordable Care Act. But he took issue with Cruz’s extreme tactics.
“This is all about Senator Cruz. This is a charade. First of all, it wasn’t a true filibuster. I applaud anyone that can stand there for 21 hours. I’ll give him credit for that. But this was a charade because it was already set for the rules that it was not going to be a filibuster because debate would end at 12 noon,” he said.
Grimm maintained that Cruz was not a true Republican, but instead a Libertarian with “views that represent maybe 12-13% of our country.” If Cruz wages a bid for president, he said he would not support him for the GOP nomination.
The Republican congressman’s comments arrive as his party attempts to find safe ground between Tea Party-supported rebels focused on obstructing President Obama’s legislative priorities, and a party establishment that now sees the Obamacare issue as a futile fight and a distraction. Cruz’s speech dominating U.S. news headlines for a few days isn’t helping the latter group.
“When you have someone that is going to say outrageous things, they are going to be on the front page,” said Grimm. “So to deal with that effectively is not an easy thing to do. It’s a serious challenge that we have to take on.”
Watch the full exchange in the video player above.