Today, during a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, President Obama issued a personal rebuke of Ted Cruz, indicating that his plan to patrol Muslim neighborhoods was like something out of communist Cuba. The Hill reports:
Obama invoked Cruz’s Cuban heritage, arguing the senator was ignoring the personal journey of his father, who fled the island nation for the United States to escape political oppression.
“I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance, which by the way, the father of Sen. Cruz escaped for America,” the president said. “The land of the free. The notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense.”
The president’s willingness to attack Cruz so directly may have something to do with Cruz’s tough criticism yesterday in which he referred to the president as a “prop” for the Castro regime and said the president should have cut short his trip in response to the Belgian terror attack.
In addition to facing the scorn of the President, Cruz had a contentious exchange Wednesday with the hosts of CBS This Morning. Midway through the interview you’ll see Norah O’Donnell score a point when she demands Cruz tell her how many Muslims live in America. To be fair, this does seem like something Cruz ought to know if he’s discussing this issue. But O’Donnell then filibusters Cruz, talking over him as he tries to respond to her series of statements:
So you’re saying that law enforcement should surveil a number of Muslims and you don’t even know how many Muslims are in America…There are 3 million Muslims in America. Law enforcement is overwhelmed. We have a chief of police, one of the most respected chiefs of police who was here earlier who said there are no Muslim neighborhoods. It’s not like Europe. It doesn’t exist that way. It’s impractical what you’re suggesting. Also, it doesn’t suggest it would lead to anything. It’s more of a political point that you’re making.
As Cruz finally has a chance to engage with O’Donnell he is cut off by co-host Gayle King who suggests his comments were playing into ISIS’ hands. Cruz’s best answer to questions about what he had in mind probably comes midway in the interview when he says, “Let me give you an example. If you’re concerned with gang violence, gang violence is a real problem in a lot of places across the country.”
“What does law enforcement do with pro-active policing? You go into the neighborhoods where gang violence is a problem and you work pro-actively to get the gang members off the street. And, by the way, the people you’re protecting are the residents of those communities who are typically the victims.” Here’s video of the interview uploaded by the Cruz camp: