The Houston Chronicle is a standard big-city liberal newspaper. The newspaper’s editorial board is liberal. Occasionally the newspaper supports Republican politicians but clearly the lean toward Democrats is strong. Friday the Houston Chronicle called for the resignation of Senator Ted Cruz.
The editorial published Friday points a finger at the role Cruz played in the riot Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
But we reserve special condemnation for the perpetrators among them who are of sound mind and considerable intellect — those who should damn well know better.
A brilliant and frequent advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court and a former Texas solicitor general, Cruz knew exactly what he was doing, what he was risking and who he was inciting as he stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and passionately fed the farce of election fraud even as a seething crowd of believers was being whipped up by President Trump a short distance away.
I will note that in 2012, the Chronicle endorsed Ted Cruz in his first campaign for U.S. Senate. Then in 2018, the newspaper endorsed Beto O’Rourke. The reason at the time for the switch was that Cruz went to Washington, D.C., and focused more on his own political ambitions than the needs of his constituents in Texas. This is a criticism of Cruz that is heard frequently from both Democrats and Republicans. I’ve voiced such complaints myself. Once a strong supporter of Cruz, after he ran for president after only a brief time in the Senate in his first term in office, it became clear that his goal was a presidential one, using the Senate as his springboard. As a supporter, I wanted him in the Senate, then hopefully one day on the Supreme Court.
So, the editorial wasn’t a complete surprise. It isn’t often I agree with the political opinions coming from the Houston Chronicle but this time the paper is right – Cruz knew better than to encourage Trump supporters to believe that the votes of the electors could be changed in favor of President Trump. Cruz is a constitutional scholar. The pressure put on Vice-President Pence, who endorsed Cruz over Trump in the 2016 GOP primary, to not accept the electors’ votes and not certify the election was a political stunt. Trump’s most loyal and passionate supporters held on to hope that Senators Hawley and Cruz could save Trump’s re-election and secure a second term for him. That was never going to happen and both Hawley and Cruz knew it all along. They were doing this to lay the groundwork for their own future presidential campaigns, to court Trump voters.
Cruz sent out a fundraising letter as the events unfolded on Wednesday. Cruz, once a darling of the Tea Party, has gone full swamp creature. He is a bomb-thrower to keep the spotlight on him but more importantly, to keep the fundraising dollars coming in. That’s cynical, I know, but it keeps being proved.
The consequences of Cruz’s cynical gamble soon became clear and so did his true motivations. In the moments when enraged hordes of Trump supporters began storming the Capitol to stop a steal that never happened, desecrating the building, causing the evacuation of Congress and injuring dozens of police officers, including one who died, a fundraising message went out to Cruz supporters:
“Ted Cruz here,” it read. “I’m leading the fight to reject electors from key states unless there is an emergency audit of the election results. Will you stand with me?”
Cruz claims the message was automated. Even if that’s true, it’s revolting.
I am convinced that the reason Cruz joined in on this ruse was to keep up with Senator Hawley. He didn’t want to allow a future potential president candidate to be seen as more of a fighter than him to Trump voters. It is perfectly reasonable to question irregularities in the election. It is quite another thing to give false hope that the election results could be overturned. None of the court challenges have succeeded for Trump’s campaign legal team. None of the challenges of questionable actions during the counting of ballots were going to be able to change the election results. I agree that state election officials allowed voting in ways not seen before the pandemic – I saw it here in my own city and county, where Cruz also lives – and reforms have to be made. During the certification process in Congress wasn’t the time for that. That is work that must be done during the next two years, before the next election.
There are protests at Cruz’s office in Houston. That is nothing unusual, though, as area Democrats frequently do that. It’s for show, too. After the insurrection on Capitol Hill, local elected officials, all Democrats, weighed in against Cruz. The Mayor of Houston, the Houston Police Chief, and even a social media person from the Harris County election division office. That election division office was created during the pandemic by the Democrats who didn’t even bother to use the correct process of notifying the state that it was created. Never let a crisis go to waste.
Social media person in the (Democrat) Harris Co election division office. https://t.co/Bt8VV0aT9W
— Karen Townsend (@penguinponders) January 7, 2021
DC: where is the law and order with these protesters? And what about the US Constitution? It doesn’t mean anything to these protesters? And Texans should hold Sen. Ted Cruz accountable for this fiasco. st
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) January 6, 2021
Shame on you @tedcruz, @GOPLeader, and all who fed the false narrative about our election, which has led to what we are witnessing in our Nation’s Capitol. You fanned the flames of mistrust and history will hold you accountable for the ensuing chaos. Outrageous!
— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) January 6, 2021
Cruz continues to say he was “debating” on Wednesday, not adding fuel to the fire. He did tweet that the violence must stop after everything went sideways.
“Not remotely,” he told KHOU Thursday. “What I was doing and what the other members were doing is what we were elected to do, which is debating matters of great import in the chamber of the United States Senate.”
Since the Capitol siege, Cruz has condemned the violence, tweeting after the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick that “Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer” the officer’s family and demanding the terrorists be prosecuted.
Those storming the Capitol need to stop NOW.
The Constitution protects peaceful protest, but violence—from Left or Right— is ALWAYS wrong.
And those engaged in violence are hurting the cause they say they support.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 6, 2021
I’m not at the point of calling for Cruz’s resignation. As with the consequences Josh Hawley is experiencing, Cruz will face his own. These protests and public denouncements are a part of that. So far, I haven’t seen calls for his resignation from Texas Republicans and I don’t expect to see that. He will have to deal with the lingering effects of his role in the rioting at the Capitol when he runs for re-election or tries to run for president again. His political opportunism will not be forgotten. He shouldn’t be rewarded for it.