Senator Ted Cruz joined me on the show today:
HH: Joined now by Senator Ted Cruz. Welcome, it’s great to have you. I don’t know if you were in the house today when the Pope was speaking. Were you there?
TC: I was sitting right near the front.
HH: Tell me your reaction. I read your wonderful piece in the Federalist about seeing with Christ’s eyes, but what was it like to listen to the Pope today?
TC: Well, it was extraordinary. He gave a remarkable address, and he encouraged all of us to appeal to our better angels and to appeal to shared values and principles, come together, set aside partisan differences come together and meet the great challenges of the day. And I certainly hope that it is a message that is received by members on both sides of the aisle. And he gave a powerful testimony to the leadership of America as the land of the free and the home of the brave, and the legacy of America as a powerful voice for liberty across the globe.
HH: I did not believe, even though he cited three pacifists – Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, he began by talking about Lincoln, who oversaw the worst war in our history that claimed 600,000 lives. I don’t think he was giving a pacifist speech so much as speaking about following your vocation. How did you read that Four Figure speech and the meaning in those four personalities?
TC: Well, look, I think that’s right. I think he was trying to exemplify characteristic of Americans that he admired. I thought that he gave, his words when he addressed life, and in particular, he gave a powerful call for us to defend life at every stage of development. And I will say it was sad to see the response of Congressional Democrats, virtually every one of whom sat down with their arms crossed and glared at him when he called on all of us to stand together and defend life. And it was more than a little striking to hear the Pope say that on the floor of the House of Representatives the day after virtually every Senate Democrat voted party line to preserve late term abortions. And that contrast was pretty striking.
HH: You also cite in your Federalist piece the year of mercy, which shows, I was surprised, Ted Cruz, a great familiarity with Catholic doctrine and papal pronouncements. But you cite that approvingly. It’s an honor to meet a man who has lived life of faith so selflessly. I thank the Pope for his service to God and to the world, very open-minded of you. There was a time in America where Protestants and Catholics didn’t get along so well, Ted Cruz.
TC: Well, there was, and you know, there was a time not too long ago in Ireland where Protestants and Catholics were shooting and blowing each other apart with bombs. You know, I am, as you know, Cuban, Irish and Italian. I come from a family with generations of Catholics on both sides. And yet I’ve joked I’m Cuban, Irish and Italian, and somehow I ended up Southern Baptist.
HH: That’s a trick.
TC: It is a bit of a trick. Well, and I’ll tell you, actually a few years ago…
[cell phone dropped\
HH: So Senator Cruz, before we lose you again, do you think the government is going to shut down?
TC: You know, Hugh, I don’t know the answer to that. I hope that it doesn’t. And it will come down to President Obama. And you know, he has taken the really extreme position that he will do anything to fight to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood. You know, Planned Parenthood is a private organization. It’s not part of the federal government. And what the President has said is that if Congress does not continue to give $500 million dollars in taxpayer funding to this private organization that is the subject of multiple criminal investigations for committing what appears to be a pattern of ongoing felonies, but yet if Congress doesn’t continue to fund this private organization, President Obama will veto funding for the entire federal government. I think that is a radical and extreme demand. I hope he doesn’t stick to it, and I hope that members of the House stick to our commitment that we will not allow taxpayer dollars to go to funding this criminal organization. I also hope that we will use our Constitutional authority to stop implementation of this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. If Republican leadership really believes what it says when it says the greatest national security threat to America is a nuclear Iran, then we should use every power we have under the Constitution, including the power of the purse, to prevent $100 billion dollars from going to the Ayatollah Khamenei to be used to murder Americans.
HH: Great piece by you in regard to that in Politico as well. We’re running low on time, though. I’ve got to ask you about Scott Walker’s sudden and very surprising to me exit. Do you expect Walker supporters to roll towards Ted Cruz or to roll towards other people?
TC: Well, you know, I certainly wish Scott Walker and Tonette Walker the best. I think he was a very good governor. I think that he ran a hard campaign, and it didn’t ultimately get the traction he had hoped. I can tell you we are seeing a tremendous number of Scott Walker supporters coming to our campaign, both on the grassroots level. We had seen for several months a lot of grassroots conservative activists had told us they were divided between Walker and Cruz. A lot of them went with us, but some went with him. And an awful lot of those are coming over. We’re also seeing in the donor world quite a few of the key donors that were with the Walker campaign supporting us, and also quite a few of the state officials, the elected officials, the state leadership teams. So I’m very encouraged.
HH: Senator Ted Cruz, always a pleasure, good to talk to you, Senator.
End of interview.