Senator Ted Cruz followed up his enthusiastically-received speech at the AFP Defending the Dream summit with a press conference shortly after he left the stage. The media gathered on Radio Row, including mainstream and New Media outlets. Cruz hailed the success of the conference in a brief opening statement and then took question. Politico’s Ken Vogel led off the questioning by asking Cruz if he planned to block funding for Barack Obama’s executive orders, and then followed up with a question about whether Cruz would lead a government shutdown over the issue.
Cruz responded at first by noting that “President Obama has been trying to talk quite a bit about a government shutdown. It seems,” Cruz continued, “the Obama administration has made the decision that they want this next election to be a national referendum on amnesty. I think it’s crazy, that 66 days out from the election, that the president, seeing the world on fire, seeing millions of people out of jobs here at home, that the president thinks the top priority in this country is unilaterally and lawlessly granting amnesty[.]” When the follow-up asked Cruz if it was worth shutting down the government over the issue, Cruz smiled. “It is a very funny thing,” Cruz replied. “There is one person, and one person only, talking about a government shutdown, and that is the White House.” Cruz responded that Obama and his team want to change the subject from the “manifest failures” of the Obama economic policies, ObamaCare, and the collapse of “the Clinton-Kerry-Obama foreign policy,” but said he wouldn’t participate in their attempt to use “smoke and mirrors to distract the American people.”
Cruz continues to hold out hope of full repeal of ObamaCare. “The key to repealing ObamaCare lies with the American people,” he emphasized. “If you look to Washington, it’s hopeless. But if you look to the American people,” he added, “I believe we are going to repeal every word of ObamaCare.”
Much of the rest of the presser revolved around border security and the threat of ISIS, both at the border and overall, and the lack of engagement from Obama on all of the above. “I’ve never known anyone who plays that much golf,” Cruz said of the President. “It’s almost like he doesn’t have a job, like he’s retired or something.” Cruz did agree with Obama that the border situation was a humanitarian crisis, but said that should have prompted some personal action from Obama. “A real leader would come and see the crisis,” Cruz said. He also blamed Obama for triggering the crisis with his declarations of intent to issue executive actions to decriminalize illegal immigrants already in the US, arguing that it set up an incentive for border crossers to get to the US. “Every single line agent,” Cruz said, “said they’re coming because they believe they’ll get amnesty.” Cruz also challenged the Obama administration to act on their belief of this being a humanitarian crisis by acting decisively to reverse that perception. “It is not humane,” Cruz argued passionately, “it is not compassionate to continue a system where little boys and little girls are being abused. We need a President at home who responds to the real problems we face.”
Cruz spoke for just under twelve minutes, but the battery failed on all but the last twenty seconds of the presser. Otherwise, this is the complete presser.