Texas Tea Party darling Ted Cruz broke Senate tradition, revealing the details of divisive, closed-door, party meetings at a Freedom Works summit on Friday.
The video, released by Freedom Works, shows a boasting Cruz slamming his colleagues and portraying himself as a conservative crusader.
Cruz has only been in office for four months, but he told the summit crowd the gun control debate had been divisive and had “generated more heat” than any other issue. He mocked his Republicans colleagues who refused to join him and fellow GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah in plans to filibuster any gun control bills the Friday before senators went home on a recess. Those senators, he said, were enraged when their constituents were displeased their lawmakers had not sided with Cruz, Paul, and Lee on the filibuster efforts. They were “yelling at the top of their lungs” in several private lunches, Cruz recounted of the GOP senators.
“Look, why did you do this?” Cruz said, imitating the rage his Republican colleagues directed at him. “When I go home my constituents are yelling at me that I have to stand on principle!”
“I’m really not making that up!” Cruz said with a laugh.
Cruz said Republicans blamed him for giving Democrats ammunition to blame the GOP as obstructionist—a position the Wall Street Journal editorialized.
“They said, ‘listen, before you did this, the politics of it were great. The [Democrats] were the bad guys, the Republicans were the good guys. Now we all look like a bunch of squishes,’” Cruz said to laughs.
“Well, there is an alternative,” Cruz quipped. “You could just not be a bunch of squishes.”
Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough sarcastically remarked this was “a smart move by the young senator.”
“He’s lying about his own party,” Scarborough said, adding that this kind of party-slamming bravado would likely come back to hurt the junior senator.
Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin slammed Cruz, writing a column entitled “Don’t be a jerk, Sen. Cruz.”
“There’s being principled and then there is being a jerk. Putting down your colleagues to boost your own street cred with the base falls into the latter category,” she wrote. “Obstruction is easy; governance is hard.”
The Washington Post’s Jonathon Capehart said Cruz has firmly established his reputation in his four short months on Capitol Hill. “If there’s bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill it’s that Sen. Cruz is a bit of a jerk, well, maybe he’s not a bit of a jerk, he is a jerk. Democrats don’t like him, but Republicans really can’t stand him.”