Amid intensifying calls for his resignation, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — a key ally of President Donald Trump — ludicrously claimed during a Thursday TV appearance that he opposed Trump's "language and rhetoric" for four years.The Texas Republican's assertion comes as he faces incendiary criticism from both sides of the aisle for seizing on Trump's lies about the November election being rigged and trying to halt Congressional approval of president-elect Joe Biden's win in the electoral college.
"I have disagreed with the president's language and rhetoric for the last four years and have said so many, many times," Cruz told KTRK, an ABC affiliate in his home town of Houston.
"If you look to what I have said, you will not find me using the same language or rhetoric," Cruz added. "What I have said is that serious claims of illegality need to be considered, they need to be adjudicated and they need to be considered fairly based on the facts and based on the evidence."
In reality, after exchanging harsh words during the 2016 election, Cruz emerged as one of Trump's coziest congressional allies during his term, especially on the president's unfounded claims of election fraud.
Cruz parroted Trump's flimsy allegations widespread cheating before voting even started, becoming one of the president's key salesmen of the notion. After the election, he repeatedly urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear lawsuits to reverse the results.
Democratic politicians including San Antonio U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro and his brother Julián Castro, called on Cruz to step down following Wednesday's riot at the Capitol, saying his efforts helped instigate the armed insurrection.
In a tweet that included a screenshot of a fundraising message Cruz sent out while the Capitol siege was underway, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, called for his resignation or expulsion from the Senate.
During the KTRK interview, Cruz said Trump's rhetoric on Wednesday urging supporters to march to the Capitol "crossed a line" and it was "reckless." He also attempted to distance himself from the president's unsubstantiated claims that widespread fraud cost him the election.
Further, he argued that this effort to halt certification of the election results was merely to allow a 10-day review to allay voters' concerns about election fraud.
Those claims, however, were rejected by judges in some 60 legal cases filed by the president and his allies, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pointed out.
In a column posted Wednesday, conservative commentator and Trump critic George Will picked apart Cruz's claim that was only trying to put allegations of voter fraud in the nation's rearview mirror. Will wrote that Cruz's speech on Wednesday should force him to wear a scarlet "S," representing "seditionist."
"He was not speaking to his 'colleagues,'" Will said. "He was speaking to the kind people who were at that instant assaulting the Capitol. He was nurturing the very delusions that soon would cause louts to be roaming the Senate chamber — the fantasy that Joe Biden has not won the election but is only winning 'right now.'"
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