Ted Cruz on Immigration: Republican Texas Senator Downplays Government Shutdown Option Over Immigration
At the Americans for Prosperity conference, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, downplayed his political party's plans for a government shutdown over the immigration crisis.
While speaking to reporters, Cruz said President Barack Obama wants the midterm elections to be a referendum on amnesty, and the Texas senator is sure that will mean Republicans will win enough seats to take control of the Senate.
"I guarantee you, the American people are not interested in a president who thinks the No. 1 priority in this country, rather than dealing with the problems we have, is granting amnesty to millions of people who are here illegally," Cruz said.
In regards to a future government shutdown, Cruz said such talks are coming from one place: the White House.
"I understand that they desperately want to change the topic from the manifest failures of the Obama economy, from the millions of people who lost their job and lost their health care because of Obamacare, from the absolute failure to secure the border and the humanitarian crisis that the president's lawlessness has created and from the other devastation abroad from the Clinton-Kerry-Obama foreign policy, but at the end of the day, it's not gonna work," Cruz said. "Smoke and mirrors and distracting the American people isn't going to work."
For Cruz, it "boggles the mind" that Obama has not visited the southern U.S. border and is spending time to fundraise with fellow Democrats.
Cruz organized conservatives to shut down the government in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, last year. After 16 days, Republican lawmakers forfeited their efforts to defund the ACA. Cruz has since rebuked he notion he caused the October 2013 government shutdown.
"I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall. The reason they did so is that President Obama dug in and said he wouldn't compromise, and he wouldn't negotiate," Cruz said during a January interview on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"I didn't threaten to shut down the government the last time," Cruz said. "I don't think we should ever shut down the government."
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, however, admitted the Republican Party was to blame for the government shutdown.
"When I looked up, I saw my colleagues going this way. You learn that a leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk. So I said, 'If you want to go fight this fight, I'll go fight the fight with you.' But it was a very predictable disaster," Boehner said about the government shutdown. "So the sooner we got it over with the better. We were fighting for the right thing, but I just thought tactfully it wasn't the right thing to do."
At Americans For Prosperity's Defending The American Dream Summit in Dallas, Texas, Cruz also mocked New York City.
"Now, I understand that Manhattan is very concerned with their security with the Bronx, but it's a little bit different on 2,000 miles of the Rio Grande," Cruz said.
Cruz's comments resulted in criticism from New York politicians, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
In a statement to Latin Post, Diaz Jr. said, "Ted Cruz's willingness to traffic in the outdated stereotypes of past decades is disgusting and is totally devoid of truth. The Bronx has seen unprecedented positive growth in recent years, and Senator Cruz's infantile attempt to score cheap political points by slandering our borough is revolting and unworthy of the title of United States senator. Grow up, Senator Cruz."
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said it's "sad" for the Republican Texas senator to use "tired and wrong stereotypes" about the Bronx in effort to push his "extreme political agenda."
"The truth is the Bronx is growing and prospering and doesn't need to be insulted by Tea Party extremists like Ted Cruz," Mark-Viverito said.