Election 2020

Jindal, Santorum Pile on Cruz for Planned Parenthood 'Lie'

Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said he “expected more from Ted Cruz” than his “lie” that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) hadn’t done enough to attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

Cruz unleashed his attack on Rubio at the Faith and Family Presidential Forum at Bob Jones University on Friday in Greenville, S.C.

Rubio and Cruz were both co-sponsors on a bill from Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The legislation failed to advance when blocked by Democrats on a cloture vote.

In September, Cruz was blocked from offering an amendment to a short-term spending bill that linked the Iran nuclear deal and Planned Parenthood funding. There was no roll call to put senators on the record about their support as it failed to advance on voice vote.

Afterward, Cruz blamed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for thwarting his plans. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was on the floor and rose his voice for Cruz, but “the remaining senators on the Republican side… those four senators voted no,” Cruz said afterward.

Cruz said at Friday’s event that Rubio did not want to use Congress’ “constitutional authority to defund Planned Parenthood.”

“That’s a mistake. So he and I disagree on that,” he told the crowd of social conservatives. “We could have defunded Planned Parenthood in the wake of those videos but too many Republicans in Washington, especially leadership, were afraid to stand and fight.”

“Marco Rubio has spoken out about Planned Parenthood. But when these videos came out I stood with millions of Americans calling on Republican leadership to use the power of Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and to cut off the money. And Marco stood up and said: ‘No, we shouldn’t.'”

“Yesterday, Ted Cruz stood in front of hundreds of pro-life Christians and lied about Marco Rubio,” Jindal, who endorsed Rubio after dropping out of the race, said Saturday in a statement released by Rubio’s campaign. “Marco has always been passionately committed to the pro-life cause and has repeatedly voted to defund Planned Parenthood.”

“Instead of working to unite conservatives to defund Planned Parenthood, Cruz is using the issue as a political weapon,” Jindal added. “I expect Democrats like Hillary Clinton to falsely attack conservatives over the sanctity of life, but I expected more from Ted Cruz.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), another 2016 contender who suspended his campaign and backed Rubio, piled on Cruz.

“Marco Rubio has been and always will be a staunch defender of life. For Ted Cruz to suggest otherwise is a disservice to the pro-life cause,” Santorum said. “We should be united in our fight to defund Planned Parenthood. Trying to create divisions and pit passionate pro-life leaders against each other is a disservice to the innocent unborn babies relying on us for help.”

“We need a leader like Marco who can unite conservatives in the fight for life, not people like Ted Cruz who choose to weaken the pro-life movement for political gain,” he added.

And Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), another Rubio endorser: “I am not surprised when Democrats like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Pelosi distort Marco’s record. I am surprised and disappointed when Ted Cruz does it.”

At Saturday night’s CBS debate, Rubio said “this is a disturbing pattern now, because for a number of weeks now, Ted Cruz has just been telling lies.”

“He lied about Ben Carson in Iowa. He lies about Planned Parenthood. He lies about marriage. He’s lying about all sorts of things. And now he makes things up. The bottom line is this is a campaign and people are watching it. And they see the truth behind all these issues,” Rubio said.

“That is absolutely false,” Cruz shot back. “What he said is knowingly false.”

Cruz also had a fight with Donald Trump over Planned Parenthood at the debate, noting that “right now today as a candidate, he supports federal taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. I disagree with him on that.”

“You probably are worse than Jeb Bush. You are the single biggest liar,” Trump retorted. “…This guy will say anything, nasty guy. Now I know why he doesn’t have one endorsement from any of his colleagues.”

Cruz: “You said, ‘Planned Parenthood does wonderful things and we should not defund it.'”

“It does do wonderful things but not as it relates to abortion,” Trump replied.