Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is leading the 2016 field with an expected announcement Monday that he will run for president in 2016— and his critics are already piling on.
California Gov. Jerry Brown called Cruz “absolutely unfit to be running for office” due to his position on climate change, during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The man betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of the existing scientific data,” Brown said. “It’s shocking and I think that this man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office.”
During an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” last week, the Texas senator said that satellite data over the last 17 years shows that “there’s been zero warming, none whatsoever.” According to Grist.org, satellite data shows warming of about 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit per decade.
Brown pointed to the current drought in his home state as a result of carbon buildup from coal and other energy sources.
“This is a serious matter we’re experiencing in California, as kind of a foretaste. But there is no doubt that in the future, we’re going to have more problems,” Brown said.
Related: 2016 field takes its time on announcements thanks to new rules
Senior Senator from Texas John McCain offered tepid praise for his colleague, calling Cruz “a very viable candidate” during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
But South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham “is the one I think knows best about national security,” McCain said.
News of Cruz’s expected announcement first appeared in the Houston Chronicle late Saturday. Crucially, the Chronicle reported, Cruz is skipping the traditional step of forming an exploratory committee before launching a presidential bid. NBC News later confirmed Cruz's expected Monday announcement.
Potential republican challengers are courting donors and traveling to early primary states ahead of announcing their own presidential bids. Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, is expected to announce his candidacy on Apr. 7.
According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Republicans are divided in their support for one of the party's presumed frontrunners, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is amassing cash and backers in the run-up to his own near-certain campaign.
In that survey, four in 10 Republican primary voters said they could envision themselves supporting Cruz, while nearly as many -- 38% -- said they could not. Cruz ranked eighth among potential GOP challengers, behind Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Bush, Paul, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Dr. Ben Carson.