Republicans Sen. Ted Cruz was accused of cowering to challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday after declining to take part in a CNN town hall prior to the upcoming midterm election, but his history with CNN and O’Rourke seem to say otherwise.
The Texas senator was “unable to participate” in the back-to-back town halls with O’Rourke, according to Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager. Roe dismissed the notion that Cruz had any apprehension about appearing on CNN with O’Rourke.
“To be clear, the Cruz campaign proposed that CNN host one of the Cruz-O’Rourke debates,” Roe noted. “The O’Rourke campaign declined.”
Roe was referring to a series of debates that Cruz proposed in August that would have covered a variety of policy topics and would have been located in various cities throughout Texas. O’Rourke initially agreed to the proposed debates, but bowed out, claiming he was unhappy that he didn’t get a big enough say in the terms.
O’Rourke also notably dodged the second scheduled debate in order to live stream various attempts at recording a campaign ad.
However, the conflicting schedule did not stop left-wing activists from accusing the Texas senator of declining the CNN town hall, claiming he was afraid of O’Rourke. (RELATED: Texas Politics Project Dissects Polls, Explains Why Ted Cruz Will Win)
“Wow. Ted Cruz knows he looks so bad on television up against Beto O’Rourke that he declined to appear side by side with him on a nationally televised townhall,” tweeted Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King. “Cruz is really slipping.”
Political activist Adam Best tweeted that Cruz was “chickening out” and self-proclaimed journalist Brian Krassenstein called him a “coward.” Even the Democratic Coalition said Cruz was “running scared.”
Tommy Vietor, former Obama-era NSC spokesman and left-wing podcaster, accused Cruz of being “so scared” to debate O’Rourke, leading Emily Miller, a spokeswoman for Cruz to fire back.
“Dude. Read more than tweets before opining. Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke are debating Tuesday in San Antonio, then in Houston (makeup for Beto hiding in #empty kitchen),” Miller tweeted. “Then Beto wants to pander to his base on CNN.”
Dude. Read more than tweets before opining. @tedcruz and Beto O’Rourke are debating Tuesday in San Antonio, then in Houston (makeup for Beto hiding in #emptykitchen ). Then Beto wants to pander to his base on CNN. #Txsen https://t.co/v5wrBm6Hpt
— Emily Miller (@EmilyMiller) October 10, 2018
Miller’s comment was in reference to the aforementioned debate at the University of Houston that O’Rourke reneged on — his half hour live stream featured over four minutes of an empty kitchen with music playing in the background.
The third debate is scheduled for Oct. 16 in San Antonio and the second debate will be re-scheduled for a later time in Houston.
Miller confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Cruz campaign will be “doing activities that engage Texas voters” during the time of CNN’s town hall. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Challenger Gets Flagged For Campaign Finance Violations)
CNN’s Brian Stelter criticized Cruz earlier in the year for declining an invitation to appear on the network, which Cruz quickly shut down.
“Gosh, I seem to recall doing not 1, not 2, but THREE town hall debates with Bernie Sanders on CNN,” Cruz responded in February. “Each 90 minutes long.”
Gosh, I seem to recall doing not 1, not 2, but THREE town hall debates w/ @BernieSanders on @CNN Each 90 min long. You can accuse me of many things, but being afraid of CNN is not one of them…. https://t.co/we6HBY0oQ9
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 15, 2018
“You can accuse me of many things,” Cruz continued. “But being afraid of CNN is not one of them.”
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