Texas Senator Ted Cruz, facing criticism of late for supporting President Trump and his agenda despite the vitriol that occurred between the two men during the 2016 presidential campaign, was asked about it during his first debate with Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
“The last time you stood for election was in 2016. You were the runner-up in the Republican primary for president,” said moderator Gromer Jeffers. “Donald Trump as you remember, dubbed you ‘Lyin’ Ted.’ He took swipes at your wife and father. You, in turn, called him a pathological liar. And quite frankly, there’s so many insults between the two of you, it would take the rest of this show to go through them all. But now that he’s president, you guys have become friendly to the point where you praised him in Time Magazine. How do you respond to critics who say that as it relates to President Trump, you’ve lost your dignity?”
“Well, there is no doubt 2016 was an election unlike any others,” replied the Texas senator. After referencing the “hard shots thrown” during the 2016 campaign, Cruz stated his love for his father, who he said “has been my hero every day in my life,” and his wife, whom he is “blessed from God” to be married to. He then described the “choice” he faced after the election.
“Now, after the election in 2016, I faced a choice,” said Cruz. “Donald Trump had been elected president and we had an opportunity to do something extraordinary. I made a conscious choice to do the job I’d been elected to do, which is to represent 28 million Texans. I’ve got a responsibility which is to fight for every person here and every person in this state.”
Working “hand in hand with the president,” Cruz described “remarkable victories” on tax cuts, jobs created, deregulation, and unemployment.
“Texans’ lives are better, so yes I could have chosen to make it about myself to be selfish and say, ‘You know what, my feelings are hurt. So I’m going to take my marbles and go home,'” said Cruz. “But I think that would have been not doing the job I was elected to, and every single day in the Senate it has been my job to fight for jobs, jobs, jobs, and to fight for 28 million Texans.”