Texas Republican Ted Cruz is not denying his red scare tactics--in fact, he's doubling down on them.
After the freshman senator made a brash first impression during defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing, recently unveiled comments from Cruz's past reveal that the innuendo-laced line of grilling directed at Hagel was not the first time Cruz was reminiscent of Sen. Joesph McCarthy's anti-communist witch hunt.
In a speech from two and a half years ago that was unearthed by the New Yorker this week, Cruz accused his alma mater Harvard Law School of harboring at least a dozen Marxists "who believed in the communists overthrowing the United States government." Meanwhile, he said, there was just one Republican on the faculty when he attended the school in the early 1990s.
Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier on Saturday chastised the New Yorker for dredging up the 2010 speech, and stood behind the senator's remarks, telling TheBlaze:
"Senator Cruz’s substantive point was absolutely correct: in the mid-1990s, the Harvard Law School faculty included numerous self-described proponents of ‘critical legal studies’—a school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism–and they far outnumbered Republicans.”
However, a spokesman for Harvard Law School rejected Cruz's comments, telling the New Yorker's Jane Mayer they were "puzzled by senator's assertions" and were "unaware of any basis for them." Mayer also reached out to one of Cruz's former professors, who acknowledged that though there were few Republicans on the faculty, his former students' facts and Communist counts were off.
Cruz was first linked to starting a new era of McCarthyism after the defense secretary confirmation hearings where he insinuated not only that Hagel was cozy with Iran, but that he also may have received cash from the North Korean government.
“He could not even say that the $200,000 he received did not come directly from a foreign government…It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea,” said Cruz before the Armed Services Committee.
Both parties were quick to lash out at Cruz. Even Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham went as far as to say Cruz was "out of bounds, quite frankly." California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, was quick to compare Cruz to McCarthy, saying his comments were "reminiscent of some bad times."