Asked about Rep. Peter King’s continued attacks on him, Sen. Ted Cruz told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Tuesday, “I’ve never met him. To be honest, I don’t think I had ever heard of him until he started getting on television attacking me.”
And so continued the verbal volleying between the two outspoken lawmakers on the cable news shows.
Rep. King recently called Cruz a fraud, joining Democrats in blaming the Texas senator for the government shutdown in 2013. After Dave Brat’s stunning defeat of Eric Cantor in Virginia last week, King again went after Cruz, warning on MSNBC, “We can’t allow Eric’s defeat last night to allow the Ted Cruzes and the Rand Pauls to take over the party, or their disciples to take over the party.” King said, “Because this is not conservatism to me. Shutting down the government is not being conservative.”
King, who seems more obsessed with taking down Cruz than he is defeating Democrats has compared Cruz to a “kamikaze pilot” who is “hijacking the party.” The New York representative has also said that people “think he’s crazy” and that “no one has done more to strengthen Obamacare” than the Texas senator.
When Erin Burnett asked him about the attacks, Cruz opted not to respond in kind, instead redirecting the conversation to the tone in Washington. “He’s welcome to express his opinions, and he is entitled to them,” Cruz said of King. “I think there are far too many politicians in Washington in both parties that spend their time attacking each other rather than focusing on the substance.”
Asked on Wednesday to respond to Cruz’s comment on CNN, King again went on the attack, saying Cruz’s comments are an example of the senator’s “smug arrogance” saying they’re the reason he has few friends in Congress.
“This is what happens when guys like Ted Cruz make themselves the center of their own universe,” King told Politico. “They have no idea what’s going on around them.”
King added that he pitied the “ignorant” Cruz because he hasn’t availed himself of King’s sage advice over the years.
“Actually, I feel sorry for him,” he said. “Maybe, if he had a taken the time to listen to me over the years, maybe he’d be a little smarter than he is and be a little less ignorant and maybe he’d have a few more friends. He likes to live in his own little bubble.” King added, “In all seriousness, what I’ve heard about Cruz is that he knows himself and nobody else, basically.”
King found yet another opportunity to attack Cruz with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday. After being shown the clip of Cruz saying he didn’t know him, King responded, “This proves what happens when Ted Cruz has decided to be the center of his own universe — to live in his own world,” King said. “For him not to know who other members of Congress are…other members of the senate, I mean that’s really his problem.”
King again groused that Cruz would “be a little smarter” if he had taken his advice over the years. The New York congressman then went on to list his own intellectual achievements: “But I mean, not to be talking about myself, but I was the third highest Republican on national television shows last year. I’m on your show all the time.” Who knew the Republicans were keeping score?
King fired a parting shot at Cruz, saying he hopes Cruz does not get the presidential nomination.