On Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned the Capitol riots but defended his call for a commission to investigate the 2020 election. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R-N.Y.) attempted to blame him for the riots, demanding his resignation or his expulsion from the Senate. Cruz powerfully shot down AOC’s attack, telling her he isn’t “going anywhere.”
“The attack at the Capitol was a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking assault on our democratic system. We must come together and put this anger and division behind us. We must, and I am confident we will, have a peaceful and orderly transition of power,” Cruz tweeted with a full statement.
Cruz again defended his call for “an electoral commission to give Americans confidence in this past election and in elections going forward. Millions of Americans who have peacefully expressed their deep concerns regarding election integrity deserve to have their voices heard. It was the right thing to do. I very much wish Congress had not set aside these concerns, but I respect the position each of my colleagues took. Debate in the two houses of Congress is the proper way to resolve our political differences, not through violent attacks.”
AOC acted as though Cruz had encouraged the violent attack on the Capitol.
“Sen. Cruz, you must accept responsibility for how your craven, self-serving actions contributed to the deaths of four people yesterday,” AOC tweeted. “And how you fundraised off this riot. Both you and Senator Hawley must resign. If you do not, the Senate should move for your expulsion.”
While Trump’s claims that he really won the election by a “landslide” did exacerbate the crowd on Wednesday, Cruz did not claim any certainty about the true election results, he merely echoed concerns about the irregularities and potential for fraud in the election. He arguably should not have blocked the certification of Electoral College votes after the Capitol riots, but it is absurd to blame Cruz for the violence.
“You are a liar,” Cruz responded. “Leading a debate in the Senate on ensuring election integrity is doing our jobs, and it’s in no way responsible for the despicable terrorists who attacked the Capitol yesterday.”
“And sorry, I ain’t going anywhere,” the senator added. “When you and your socialist buddies…try to massively raise taxes, when you try to pass the green new deal & destroy millions of jobs, when you push for amnesty, when you try to pack the Supreme Court w/ activists to undermine our Constitutional rights… I will fight that every step & stand with the People.”
Trump may have inspired some of his supporters to break into the people’s house, and he coddled the rioters afterward, but Trump’s horrific statements do not make the far-left’s agenda any less radical or dangerous. When Trump is no longer president, Republicans will still need to stand up for conservative values.
Democrats like Joe Biden have tried to use the Capitol riots to delegitimize all of Trump’s policies, and this push will likely intensify in the coming days. Yet conservatives must defend originalism, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, the tax cuts, and the other positive aspects of Trump’s legacy, even while we condemn Trump’s recent dangerous statements.
Conservatives must also stand firm on demanding election reform to promote integrity after Democrats sent mail-in voting into overdrive.
Cruz’s demand for a commission may not have been the right move, but he was not responsible for the Capitol riots and he unequivocally condemned them afterward. AOC’s call for his resignation was despicable.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.