“Editorial: Resign, Senator Cruz. Your lies cost lives.
In Texas, we have our share of politicians who peddle wild conspiracy theories and reckless rhetoric aiming to inflame.
Think U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s “terror baby” diatribes or his nonsensical vow not to wear a face mask until after he got COVID, which he promptly did.
This editorial board tries to hold such shameful specimens to account.
But we reserve special condemnation for the perpetrators among them who are of sound mind and considerable intellect — those who should damn well know better.
None more than U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
A brilliant and frequent advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court and a former Texas solicitor general, Cruz knew exactly what he was doing, what he was risking and who he was inciting as he stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and passionately fed the farce of election fraud even as a seething crowd of believers was being whipped up by President Trump a short distance away.
Cruz, it should also be noted, knew exactly whose presidency he was defending. That of a man he called in 2016 a “narcissist,” a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.”
Cruz told senators that since nearly 40 percent of Americans believed the November election “was rigged” that the only remedy was to form an emergency task force to review the results — and if warranted, allow states to overturn Joe Biden’s victory and put their electoral votes in Trump’s column.
Cruz deemed people’s distrust in the election “a profound threat to the country and to the legitimacy of any administrations that will come in the future.”
What he didn’t acknowledge was how that distrust, which he overstated anyway, was fueled by Trump’s torrent of fantastical claims of voter fraud that were shown again and again not to exist.
Cruz had helped spin that web of deception and now he was feigning concern that millions of Americans had gotten caught up in it.
Even as he peddled his phony concern for the integrity of our elections, he argued that senators who voted to certify Biden’s victory would be telling tens of millions of Americans to “jump in a lake” and that their concerns don’t matter.
Actually, senators who voted to certify the facts delivered the truth — something Americans haven’t been getting from a political climber whose own insatiable hunger for power led him to ride Trump’s bus to Crazy Town through 59 losing court challenges, past state counts and recounts and audits, and finally taking the wheel to drive it to the point of no return: trying to bully the U.S. Congress into rejecting tens of millions of lawfully cast votes in an election that even Trump’s Department of Homeland Security called the most secure in American history.
The consequences of Cruz’s cynical gamble soon became clear and so did his true motivations. In the moments when enraged hordes of Trump supporters began storming the Capitol to stop a steal that never happened, desecrating the building, causing the evacuation of Congress and injuring dozens of police officers, including one who died, a fundraising message went out to Cruz supporters:
“Ted Cruz here,” it read. “I’m leading the fight to reject electors from key states unless there is an emergency audit of the election results. Will you stand with me?”
Cruz claims the message was automated. Even if that’s true, it’s revolting.
This is a man who lied, unflinchingly, on national television, claiming on Hannity’s show days after the election that Philadelphia votes were being counted under a “shroud of darkness” in an attempted Democratic coup. As he spoke, the process was being livestreamed on YouTube.
For two months, Cruz joined Trump in beating the drum of election fraud until Trump loyalists were deaf to anyone — Republican, Democrat or nonpartisan journalist, not to mention state and federal courts — telling them otherwise.
And yet, Cruz insists he bears no responsibility for the deadly terror attack.
“Not remotely,” he told KHOU Thursday. “What I was doing and what the other members were doing is what we were elected to do, which is debating matters of great import in the chamber of the United States Senate.”
Since the Capitol siege, Cruz has condemned the violence, tweeting after the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick that “Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer” the officer’s family and demanding the terrorists be prosecuted.
Well, senator, those terrorists wouldn’t have been at the Capitol if you hadn’t staged this absurd challenge to the 2020 results in the first place. You are unlikely to be prosecuted for inciting the riots, as President Trump may yet be, and there is no election to hold you accountable until 2024. So, we call for another consequence, one with growing support across Texas: Resign.
This editorial board did not endorse you in 2018. There’s no love lost — and not much lost for Texans needing a voice in Washington, either.
Public office isn’t a college debate performance. It requires representing the interests of Texans. In your first term, you once told reporters that you weren’t concerned about delivering legislation for your constituents. The more you throw gears in the workings of Washington, you said, the more people back home love you. Tell that to the constituents who complain that your office rarely even picks up the phone.
Serving as a U.S. senator requires working constructively with colleagues to get things done. Not angering them by voting against Hurricane Sandy relief, which jeopardized Congressional support for Texas’ relief after Harvey. Not staging a costly government shutdown to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2013 that cost the economy billions. Not collecting more enemies than friends in your own party, including the affable former House Speaker John Boehner who famously remarked: “I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
We’re done with the drama. Done with the opportunism. Done with the cynical scheming that has now cost American lives.
Resign, Mr. Cruz, and deliver Texas from the shame of calling you our senator.“