Ted Cruz sat down with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd for a MSNBC town hall on Thursday where he discussed the national debt, abortion, religious liberty and more. His answers were met with cheers from the Buffalo, New York audience and, at times, confusion. Here are the highlights from the event.
1. Cruz doubled down on an accusation that Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lied to him, all the while insisting that he would work well with DC legislators. “Every word I said there is true and accurate. No one disputed a word I said,” he told the audience of his scathing floor speech condemning his party’s Senate leader over Export-Import bank legislation. “The reaction in the Senate is how dare you say that out loud? They’re not upset that somebody lied to them!”
2. Cruz didn’t just call his parents’ generation “deadbeats,” directly blaming the Obama administration and, more broadly, a “corrupt” Washington for saddling younger generations with government debt — he called himself, and host Chuck Todd, a deadbeat, too.
3. Asked by someone in the audience why he should vote for Cruz given that he was at the forefront of the government shutdown in 2013, the Texas senator responded vaguely, “If I’m elected President, I think I will work very very closely with leaders in Congress because it’s a very different thing,” adding, “I think we will see Washington responsive to the people in a way it hasn’t been since the 1980s.”
4. Regarding the law that North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed (then tried to walk back) limiting bathroom access for transgender people, Cruz said, “As the father of daughters, I’m not terribly excited about men being able to go along into a bathroom with my daughters.” Cruz argued that organizations are condemning the law due to political correctness pressure. “Listen, the Obama education department is going against a junior high insisting that the junior high must allow a teenage boy to shower with teenage girls. Now, that’s just nuts. I mean, that’s not a reasonable decision. That’s crazy!”
5. Ted Cruz refused to answer eight direct questions about whether or not he’d support personhood bills — legislation that would give Constitutional rights to fertilized eggs — despite previously supporting it in the past. “I told you I’m not going to get into the labels but what I will say is we should protect life but I’m not interested in anything that restricts birth control,” he said.
6. Would Cruz accept being Donald Trump’s running mate? “It ain’t gonna happen,” Cruz said.