Ted Cruz heads to image rehab

Updated

Havoc wreaked, Ted Cruz is turning back to rehabilitating his reputation on the national stage and Capitol Hill, too.

The Texas Republican saw his approval ratings tank to 23% after he led the charge to defund Obamacare—a legislative ploy that never had a shot of working, brought on a massive congressional stalemate and led to a 16-day government shutdown.

Fellow Republicans lashed out at the freshman senator for his role in the shutdown. New York Republican Rep. Peter King called the senator a “fraud,” Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole suggested the Tea Party was “actually putting the gun to your own head” and “saying, do what I want or I’ll shoot.”

Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy said Cruz had been using the House as a “punching bag” and criticized Cruz for bullying them on Morning Joe last month.

But now, Cruz is hoping to turn that around.

He’s done attacking his colleagues—Cruz told colleagues on Wednesday that he won’t get involved any of his Republican colleagues’ primary battles, Politico’s Patrick Gavin reported on Morning Joe.

“I think it’s clear that he knows if he wants to continue to have this national profile, it’s kind of hard to do it when his own caucus here in D.C. doesn’t like him,” Gavin said.

Cruz has burned quite a few bridges in his short 10 months in the Senate. In April, he called his colleagues “squishes.” In the early fall, he sided with the Senate Conservatives Fund and starred in the group’s ads against colleagues who weren’t in favor of his soon-to-fail defund Obamacare ploy, and when it did fail, he blamed Senate Republicans for not being conservative enough.

Cruz is also moving away from his alignment with the Senate Conservatives Fund group that is campaigning against many incumbent Republicans, Gavin added.

“Just one month away those colleagues asked him will you renounce your association with that group and he said no,” Gavin said. “Just 30 days later he’s made a switch.”

The Texas Republican will also appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno next Friday, likely in hopes of softening his image.

“I read Ashley Parker in the New York Times’ article about his wife and I would suggest that Ted Cruz call in sick and send his wife, she sounds like the thinking half of that partnership,” former Bush administration spokesman Nicolle Wallace said on Morning Joe.

Ted Cruz heads to image rehab

Updated