During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today on the nation’s epidemic of gun violence, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) once again reminded us all just what a disingenuous political hack he is. After Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) accurately stated that the Democratic Party does not want to defund the police—a measure proposed by some activists but not by the elected Democratic establishment—Cruz went off on one of his irritating, grandstanding tirades.
“You just said a moment ago that no Democrat favors abolishing the police. If that were the case why did every single Democrat vote to confirm Vanita Gupta—a nominee for the number three position at the Department of Justice who said last year in writing, in written testimony before this Senate, advocated abolishing the police?” asked Cruz.
As is often the case when Republican politicians talk about Democrats wanting to “defund the police,” Cruz was misrepresenting Gupta’s position. The slogan is an imprecise one and is used by some Democrats not to mean eliminating law enforcement entirely, but to suggest shifting some funding towards programs aimed at alleviating economic deprivation, increasing availability of mental healthcare, and addressing the underlying issues that contribute to crime levels. Gupta’s views line up far better with the latter definition of the phrase than the former and she stated during her Senate hearing that she does not want to defund the police the way Republicans use the phrase.
“And [Gupta] was confirmed by one vote,” Cruz went on. “Every single Democrat was the necessary vote to confirm a radical who advocated abolishing the police and just this week we’re taking up Kristin Clarke, another radical, who has last year in testimony before this Senate advocated abolishing the police. If you don’t support abolishing the police why do you keep voting for nominees who advocate abolishing the police?”
“As you well know Senator Cruz, that is a complete distortion of their positions,” responded Blumenthal. “We’re not here to talk about those nominees. If you want to stay, we can do it at the end of the hearing. But right now we’re going to move on,” responded Blumenthal, at which point Cruz stood up and stormed out of the chamber like a child throwing a fit.
Cruz’s asinine remarks, in addition to being deeply dishonest, have an implication that he could not have intended. If he thinks that Gupta wants to defund the police and that Democrats voting for her means they endorse all of her beliefs, then that means Cruz himself endorses every belief of everyone he has ever voted for or supporting. That means his vote to acquit Donald Trump of impeachment means he endorses everything Trump has said and done. It means he supports his admitted sexual predation, his racism, and perhaps most potently his tweet that Cruz’s wife is ugly. Oops.
"As you well know, Senator Cruz, that is a complete distortion of their positions" — Sen. Blumenthal
(you can then see Cruz walking out of the gun violence hearing) pic.twitter.com/y9eHZFbwnY
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 11, 2021
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.