My interview with Senator Ted Cruz ended just as news broke that Department of Defense is cancelling service academies athletics. Cruz blasted the move and called for a separate CR to fully fund the DOD –good advice to the GOP.
The audio and transcript will be posted here shortly, and is available to all if used with attribution.
HH: And I am so happy to have the opportunity to say I was wrong, and you were right, to United States Senator Ted Cruz, who joins me now. Senator Cruz, welcome back. I was wrong. The shutdown is not the end of the world, politically. You were right to stage and organize this fight, and precipitate it in the way that it occurred. And I wonder if other people are willing to come forward and now say to you, you know, Ted, we were wrong, you’ve scoped this out the right way. Is that happening?
TC: Well, Hugh, I’ll tell you who I think was fundamentally right was the American people. I mean, we have seen in the past several weeks millions of Americans coming together. The national website, www.dontfundit.com, has over two million signatures of Americans all over the country who signed the petition. And the reason why we’ve seen the victories we have, the reason why we’ve seen the House of Representatives stand strong to stop the harms that Obamacare is inflicting on millions of Americans is because the American people stood up. And that’s, we need more of that. We need DC to listen to the American people, and I’m encouraged by what we’re seeing.
HH: Now I have been watching all day to two things unfold, the Republicans in the House getting ready to try a partial funding of the parks and DC, and that will pass the House. Do you expect that will pass the Senate tonight? Or do you expect Harry Reid to continue the blockade?
TC: Well, I don’t know. What we’ve seen so far is on the underlying fight. Four times, the House of Representatives has attempted to compromise to fund the federal government, but at the same time, to stop the harms that Obamacare is inflicting on the American people. And four times, Harry Reid has said pound sand, go jump in a lake, he will not negotiate, he will not compromise. He simply said no. And the reason we have a shutdown today is because Harry Reid decided he wanted to shut down the government. In fact, Harry Reid, it’s been reported, told President Obama don’t even talk to Congressional leaders. So President Obama will negotiate with the nation of Iran, but not with Congress. That’s why we have a shutdown.
HH: Now go ahead…
TC: Now we did see something good happen yesterday, which is we saw the Senate unanimously pass a bill funding the men and women of our military. The House had passed it, Harry Reid had been threatening to stop it. And for weeks, Harry Reid and President Obama had been saying they were going to cut off the paychecks of the men and women of our military if there was a shutdown. I’m glad Reid paused. He blinked. And in fact, I praised him on the floor of the Senate, Hugh. I said he did the right thing. But now, he needs to do the right thing with the other areas that President Obama is cutting funding for. You know, yesterday, President Obama gave a speech where he talked about not paying Border Patrol agents, closing the national parks, closing much of the VA, closing much of NASA, and I think the House should do exactly what it’s doing, to send over continuing resolutions funding each of those priorities, and let’s see if Harry Reid is willing to tell veterans he wants to close the VA, because I’ll tell you, I want to open the VA. Republicans want to open the VA. And the only reason it might stay closed in significant respect is if Harry Reid decides to force it closed.
HH: Now I have to play for you Majority Leader Reid’s comment earlier today which is kind of representative of the rhetorical meltdown occurring on the left, cut number 11:
HR: Understand we’re dealing with anarchists. They hate government. And who is the worst part of government from their perspective? It’s people that work for the federal government, whether they’re waiting on tables, whether part of the FBI, it doesn’t matter what it is. We are going to do everything with our power to protect federal employees. And I say this without any qualification or reservation. We are not going to do anything other than wait for them to pass our CR, because otherwise, government’s going to shut down.
HH: Now Senator Cruz, you’ve been accused, I think wrongly and falsely, of being extreme in your rhetoric, and of using brinksmanship. But we just had there some of the most extreme rhetoric I’ve ever heard from a United States Senator. It’s McCarthyite, actually. And at the same time as he’s doing that, he’s making an incoherent argument of we won’t pass anything because the government will shut down if we do. It just is both incoherent and abusive.
TC: Well, and unfortunately, there’s been a lot of name calling and a lot of personal insults by Harry Reid and by Senate Democrats. I think it’s a mistake, and listen, I have not reciprocated. I don’t intend to. I’m not going to defend myself against those charges, because what they’re designed to do is distract from the underlying issues. Harry Reid wants to make this about personalities. But look, most Americans could not care less about a bunch of politicians in Washington. They’re interested in the struggles in their families. And what I think the focus should be is on all of the young people coming out of school right now who can’t find a job because of Obamacare, all of the single moms that are suddenly finding themselves forcibly reduced to 29 hours a week because of Obamacare, all of the recent immigrants struggling to provide for their kids who are seeing health insurance premiums skyrocket, and all of the seniors and people with disabilities who are getting notifications right now that their health insurance is being dropped because of Obamacare. We need to keep the focus on the American people, because that’s what matters right now.
HH: Senator Cruz, over the last many years, the California judicial system attempted to adopt a complex software program called the California Case Management System. Its original cost was going to be about a quarter billion. It ended up being $2 billion dollars, it failed, it had to be canceled. Government doesn’t do software very well. Government doesn’t do complexity very well, because it’s not nimble. It can’t adapt and evolve very quickly. The exchange failures that we are watching across the country today, do you think they can be fixed? Or is this inevitable, given the complexity of what this cumbersome government is trying to do?
TC: We’re seeing exchanges crash all over the country. And even those that might be up and working, there is very little protection of privacy, there’s very little protection against identity theft. I mean, you know, for those who are handing over their personal information, the protections the Obama administration has put in are severely lacking. And listen, even if you don’t take my word for it, take the word of James Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters, who said right now today, Obamacare is destroying, and he used the word destroying, the health care for millions of Americans. And right now, Harry Reid and President Obama are saying they don’t care. They’re not going to listen to the millions of Americans who are hurting. That is why the grassroots uprising, the over two million people who have signed the petition at www.dontfundit.com matter so much. And let me say something to all of your listeners, which is we are here, we are winning this fight because of you, because of your voices. And so let me encourage every one of you. This week is when the fight is happening. Your voices are never more important right now. Let me encourage you, go to the website, www.dontfundit.com, sign the national petitions, pick up the phone, call your House members, say thank you for standing firm against Obamacare, and call your senators and say to the right thing and stop Obamacare, and get your friends to do the same. This is the fight, and it’s in the hands of the American people to win the fight right now.
HH: Senator, Luke Russert, who’s a fine journalist over at NBC, but he Tweeted out twenty minutes ago, “What’s fascinating is more MSM attention would have been directed on the glitches with the health care law today had GOP not forced shutdown.” I believe that’s actually factually wrong, because the audience expanded so dramatically by the creation of the event and the attention span. But what do you think?
TC: Look, for the last three weeks, we have been talking around the clock about the failures of Obamacare, how it’s killing jobs, how it’s forcing people into part-time work, how it’s driving up health insurance premiums, how it’s causing people to lost their health insurance. If we hadn’t been standing and fighting, we wouldn’t have been talking about this at all. I mean, listen, Saturday Night Live’s opening skit was about all the failures in Obamacare. I promise you, that doesn’t happen unless millions of Americans stage this fight that we fought these last few weeks. And that’s critical for getting the message out. That’s how we actually change Washington. You know, everyone who says they want to change Washington, well, this is what it looks like. And people who are in power, the ruling class, don’t like it when you change Washington, but we’ve got millions of Americans demanding that we make DC listen, and that’s what’s happening right now.
HH: And finally, Senator Cruz, last week, I was on the red eye, and I landed in Boston just as Morning Joe came on, and it was Joe and Mika and David Gregory and Chris Matthews. It was the night of your epic speech, and they were all ragging on you, and calling you all these variety of names, and you had done this amazing thing in American political history, which is to attract focus on an argument, very hard to do. And I thought to myself, not one of those people had appeared before the United States Supreme Court. They really don’t know what rhetoric and argument’s about. But I didn’t know one question. What were your cases about? I think you’ve argued eight times before the Supreme Court. Just generally, what were the subject matters of those cases?
TC: Sure, it’s actually been nine cases, and it’s been a whole variety. The one that was the biggest case is a case you know well, Medellin V. Texas, where there were really two issues. One, does the World Court have the authority to bind the U.S. justice system? And two, does the president of the United States, who happened to be a Republican, George W. Bush, have the authority to force the state courts to obey the World Court? And representing Texas, we stood up and fought the World Court. We fought the president of the United States. We fought 90 foreign nations, and we won a 6-3 victory where the Supreme Court struck down the World Court’s order, said that the World Court has no authority in our justice system, and the president has no authority to give up U.S. sovereignty.
HH: Amazing. I’ve got late breaking news I want to ask a quick reaction, 30 seconds. The Department of Defense suspended all intercollegiate sports academies today, Senator. The Naval Academy announced they’re not going to play their football game, et cetera. Do you have a reaction in 15 seconds to that?
TC: Look, it’s an example of the President trying to find painful ways to implement the shutdown. We ought to pass a continuing resolution funding the entire Department of Defense so that we can have those games go forward.
HH: Senator Cruz, keep fighting. Great to have you, thank you for joining us.
End of interview.