Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said his office has been slammed with “vile, profane” phone calls after he called Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) a fraud.
“You don’t threaten to shut the government down over a particular law you don’t like, especially in the strategy you are following is doomed to failure,” King said this morning on MSNBC. “So no, he did to me, as far as I’m concerned tremendous damage in the Republican party. It’s really you are poisoning the debate over the last several months, and we’ve wasted a week now on this when we could be addressing the real issues of the CR, the continuing resolution and the debt ceiling which are really important. Instead of going off and a guy, you know, talking about Dr. Seuss.”
King stood by his characterization of Cruz as a “fraud.”
“And what I’m saying directly is what other people like Tom Coburn is saying more politely, is saying that he is pursuing a policy which is not intellectually honest. It’s a policy which is not going to work,” he said. “He is selling a false bill of goods to the American people, and he was using that over the summer to really put pressure on solid conservative Republicans in their districts, pushing them to the point that if they didn’t support de-funding, somehow they were RINOs, somehow they were not real conservatives, they were not real Republicans.”
That ends up leaving lawmakers “to face sort of a primary from the right when they are extremely conservative themselves because they wouldn’t follow Ted Cruz’s path.”
King said his preference would be “just move on from the CR,” then “we can have meaningful negotiations as has been done in the past over the debt ceiling.”
“I don’t know if it’s possible to heal tensions with Ted Cruz. Hopefully we can heal tensions with some of his supporters. The reason I say that is, he seems intent on doing what he has to do without regard either to the party or quite frankly to the Senate. So I think what we have to do is reach out to his people and let them know that they are following a false leader here. That the path that he is giving them, which — by the way — sounds very seductive. Just go out, de-fund Obamacare, all our problems are over,” the congressman continued.
King noted that there are young women answering the phones in his office, and “I haven’t heard such vile, profane obscene language. I am not saying Ted Cruz is responsible for all his supporters, but he has tapped into a dark strain here in the American political psyche here.”
“And again, the most obscene, profane subject you can imagine, all from people who say they support the Constitution,” he added. “But, I’d say, the overwhelming majority of his supporters are good people. I’ve had very good Republicans come up to me and say, you know, just de-fund it, that’s all. That’s all you have to do.”