Senator Ted Cruz joined me on the program today:
HH: Joined by United States senator, Ted Cruz. Senator Cruz, welcome. You’ve been busy. You’ve gone through all these states without college football programs down there in the SCC.
TC: (laughs) Well, Hugh, it has been an amazing road trip. We went through the entire South and the energy and excitement was just electric. Right after the debate, we flew to South Carolina. From South Carolina, we went to Georgia, then to Alabama, then up to Tennessee, then down to Mississippi, and back to Tennessee, and then to Arkansas, then to Oklahoma, and that was the end of the bus tour. And then this morning, I flew to Nevada and that’s where I am right now.
HH: Now you’re going to be back in Iowa. You’re gonna hold a rally for religious liberty on the 21st. The “Newsboys” – I’ll go out with some “Newsboys” music when you come back on, when you leave the segment. But you’re bringing together all the victims of failure to honor their free exercise of religion. What message are sending with this rally next Saturday, Ted Cruz?
TC: Well now, that’s exactly right. August 21st in Iowa, we’re doing a national rally for religious liberty. It should be a fantastic event, and what we’re doing is really telling the story of men and women who’ve stood up for their faith and have been persecuted for it. And we are saying such an assault on religious liberty right now – it is jeopardized and the mainstream media belittles this. They suggest that these are not real threats and so the purpose of this rally is to really to put a face to what these challenges are. People like Dick and Betty Odgaard – which is a couple I’ve gotten to know quite well who live in Iowa – they own an historic Lutheran church and for years they hosted weddings in their church. Couple of years ago, two men came in and wanted to get married in their church and the Odgaards are devout Mennonites and they said that they couldn’t host a same-sex wedding because it was contrary to their faith. The next day, they were sued. They were in enmeshed in protracted litigation. They ended up having to pay $5,000 to settle the case and to promise never again to host any other wedding. As a result, they have gone out of business. All of the people who worked in their business have been laid off this month. And they’ve been persecuted simply because they wanted to follow their religious faith. That is contrary to the 1st Amendment, but it’s also contrary to who we are as an American people. We should be able to live according to conscious and our faith.
HH: Big rally then on August the 21st. We will cover that after it happens. Let me go to a couple of other issues. The debate. I’ve seen one set of analytics today that tells me you had the fewest turns to speak – seven – compared with Donald Trump getting twenty-six turns, Rand Paul getting twenty-two turns. You spoke the fewest words – one thousand – yet you were declared the winner by many, including Charles Krauthammer along with Rubio, Huckabee, and Kasich. You raised $1.1 million online through fifty-thousand donations in the first hour. Not bad for six minutes and twenty-eight seconds, Ted Cruz. What did you make of the debate?
TC: (chuckles) Well, I think the debate, we started to see some separation and that we’ve been an ongoing debate for many months about the right direction for the country and how we win. And there are voices in Washington who advocate going to the mushy middle standing for nothing. Every time we listen to those voices, we get walloped. I think started to see some differentiation [inaudible]. . . because I think people are fed up with Washington. They’re fed up with politicians who say one thing and do another and their looking for a leader who will tell the truth and do what he said he will do. And I think we started to see some of that separation on that debate stage. You’re right. We have experienced an incredible surge after the debate. $1.1 million – people coming from all over the country going to TedCruz.Org contributing, signing up to volunteer. Every event we had on our bus tour was standing-room sold-out. The event last night in Tulsa, Oklahoma we had three thousand people there. The fire marshal had to send five hundred people home because the venue couldn’t fit them. It has been incredible, and I think it’s because people are not interested in a “campaign conservative” – someone who talks a good game on the campaign trail but hasn’t walked the walk. Someone who has been the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I think that’s why we’re seeing the excitement we are seeing.
HH: You also said “tell the truth” matters. Hilary Clinton – new Fox poll – 58% of the people polled believed she is lying. The server had classified information including sensitive keyword information including “Not for Foreigner” designation. This is the same stuff that David Petraeus had to plead guilty. It’s 18 USC 1924 – Section 1924. Do you think she broke the law, Ted Cruz?
TC: Well, we don’t know all the facts right now, but it is certainly troubling and the fact that the FBI, the Department of Justice have launched a criminal inquiry into whether she violated criminal laws. That does not give one confidence in the possible if not likely Democratic nominee for president, and when you’re dealing with classified material as the chief diplomatic officer for the United States and you’re keeping it in a forum that is not secure, that is vulnerable to hacking by the Russians or the Chinese or the Iranians or any other enemy of America – that is concerning. And it’s certainly been the case that these are laws that have been vigorously enforced against others. I will say, I wish we had more confidence in the Department of Justice which barely and impartially enforce the criminal laws. This has been such a partisan Department of Justice that it is difficult to have a great deal of confidence in that certain matter. But particularly, when one is dealing with matters of this sort, the Department of Justice should be blind to party or ideology and should remain faithful only to the constitution and the laws of the United States.
HH: I have to take a break, if we can keep Ted Cruz we’ll come back and talk about Cuba. I’m not sure, America, what his plane schedule is like. We’ll find out after the break. Don’t go anywhere, you’re listening to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
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HH: Thirty-four minutes after the hour, America. It’s Hugh Hewitt. That’s the “Newsboys,” they will be opening Ted Cruz’s rally for religious liberty in Iowa on August 21st. Details at TedCruz.Org. Senator Cruz, a flag went up at the United States embassy in Cuba today. Senator Kerry was there. He did not invite dissidents to the embassy. What did you make of that move?
TC: Well, I think it was disgraceful, and it reprised a few weeks ago when the Cuban flag was flown above the new Cuban embassy in D.C. and one of the people there was Rosa Maria Paya who is the daughter of Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Paya who died in a suspicious car accident that many believe was murdered by the Castro regime. And when Ms. Paya was there, she was spotted by the Cuban government, and the State Department sent over their chief spokesperson to tell Ms. Paya if she asked a question at the press conference – and she had a credential, she’s entitled to be there – if she asked a question, she would be thrown out. And I tell you, I visited with Ms. Paya. She shared this story with me. One thing, that’s what she would expect from the Castros in Cuba, but in the United States of America in Washington, D.C. for John Kerry’s press department to telling a Cuban dissident, “If you dare ask any question of the Regime that in all likelihood murdered your father for speaking out for freedom – we will throw you out – it demonstrates just how much this deal is President Obama surrendering to Fidel and Raul Castro and the fact that at the U.S. Embassy today in Cuba now, America excluded the dissidents – that John Kerry and Barack Obama decided they would rather spend with the tyrants and dictators rather than the dissidents – it was shameful. The consequence of this deal is that billions of dollars [are] going to flow into Cuba and into the coffers of the Castros who will use it to oppress their citizens and also export terror throughout Latin America.
HH: Billions of dollars are also poised to flow into Iran unless the Senate votes this down. Now your colleague, Lindsey Graham, told me that the vote is scheduled for September the 8th, but he wasn’t clear on how long you have to override the veto. He thinks you’re gonna sixty to beat the ballot, but no override the veto. What’s your understanding of the timing because the next presidential debate is September 16th. Will the veto override have to occur before that debate?
TC: Well, if Lindsey told you that, he may be privy to something I’m unaware. The majority leader will determine when to schedule that. In my view, the Iran Review Sanctions legislation is incredibly weak, but it does give the majority leader the ability to determine when the clock starts and under the terms of that legislation, the clock doesn’t start until all of the terms of the agreement have been given to Congress. The Obama administration hasn’t given all of the terms of the agreement to Congress, in particular, the side agreement to the deal with inspection – they haven’t given to Congress. So I’ve urged the majority leader that we should take the position the sixty day clock doesn’t start until we get the details of the inspection regime. They’ve handed it over to an agency in the United Nations with no accountability to the American people, so I think it’s unfortunate if we do vote on September 8th. If the majority leader decides not to exercise the power that he has to keep the sanctions in place by delaying the votes, then it is my hope we vote down this catastrophic deal. It is the single greatest national security threat facing America today is the threat of a nuclear Iran. And I am doing everything I can to energize and mobilize the American people to stop this deal and to keep America safe.
HH: Well, I hope to put it on the table and I ask questions at the Reagan Library debate. I hope you can count on me being fair, Ted Cruz, but I am curious as to what you believe the questioners ought to be putting in front of the debate candidates and how you would improve upon the last one.
TC: You know, the biggest difference that I think primary voters want to hear is the difference in candidates’ records in terms of – you know – in every campaign, you have Republicans who become “campaign conservatives” – they talk a conservative game, and yet their records are markedly different. And I do think primary voters are looking for a consistent conservative who has a record whether he’s on amnesty – everyone on that stage said they amnesty – and yet, a majority of the candidates on that stage had previously supported amnesty. Or whether it is religious liberty, and incredibly important issue. Every candidate on that stage now would say they support religious liberty, and yet when the battle was waging in Indiana – I think that was a time for choosing as Reagan would put it, and several candidates on that stage were no where to be found when we were fight to defend religious liberty. And I think that’s what primary voters want to know is have you walked the walk and the Scriptures say “You shall know know them by their fruits.”
HH: And I hope you’re trusting me to be fair, Ted Cruz?
TC: I always have, Hugh. Not only fair, but erudite, knowledgeable. . .
TC: . . . And I don’t know if you saw in the New York Times, I just recommended readers that they read Looming Tower.
HH: I did (laughs). And I was so happy, and that may come up. Senator Ted Cruz, enjoy the rest of your trip and congratulations on a great first debate. We’ll see you at the Reagan Library.
End of interview.