EXCLUSIVE: Ted Cruz Explains How He Tanked Biden’s Nominees

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz outlined his efforts to tank President Joe Biden’s nominees as the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller.

Cruz, mentioned that in the first five months of 2023, three non-judicial Biden nominees have been defeated in the Senate, after failing to make it past the Senate Commerce Committee.

The Texas senator said he and his team worked behind the scenes to get every Republican on the committee unified in opposition to the three nominees who came before the committee but then withdrew. He also mentioned working to get the support of multiple Democrats on the committee by showing them how unfit the nominees were.

“First was Gigi Sohn, an extreme leftwing partisan, whom President Biden had nominated to be on the Federal Communications Commission. And had she been confirmed, she would have used that incredibly powerful regulatory board to silence and censor views with which she disagrees,” Cruz told the Caller. “My team and I worked hand-in-hand with every Republican in the Commerce Committee to unify opposition to Ms. Sohn, to lay out chapter and verse of her extreme record, and then earned the support of multiple Democrat senators who agreed her record was far outside the mainstream. The Biden White House had no choice but withdraw the nomination.” (RELATED: Biden FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Called For A Truth And Reconciliation Commission During The 2020 BLM Riots)

Gigi Sohn testifies during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing examining her nomination to be appointed Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission on February 9, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images)

“Next was Phil Washington,” he continued. “Phil Washington, perfectly nice guy, had an honorable career in the military, serving over two decades in the military, he was nominated to be the administrator of the FAA, and Mr. Washington knows nothing about airplanes. Traditionally the administrator of the FAA has had a long career in aviation, and ideally in aviation safety.”

Cruz then mentioned Ann Carlson, Biden’s nominee to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The two-term Republican said Carlson “has been an extreme environmental activist her entire career, and was put there to push the White House’s radical Green New Deal agenda, and to try to force car makers to abandon the internal combustion engine and go all electric instead.”

“NHTSA has a very important job,” Cruz added. “It’s charged with focusing on safety in automobiles on highways, looking at, ‘How do we make cars more safe? How do we protect our families?’ And once again, just like with the FAA, the [NHTSA] is a safety job. Biden administration didn’t care about the safety component.”

“For the third time, we unified Republicans on the committee in opposition,” Cruz explained. “We worked with stakeholders across the country concerned by such a radical nominee, and we earned the support of multiple Democrats, resulting in the Biden White House admitting defeat a third time in five months and withdrawing the nomination.”

The Texas Republican said he tries to focus on substance and not personal attacks and that he was able to hear from people across the country who were concerned about specific issues regarding the nominees and present those concerns to the committee. (RELATED: Yet Another Biden Pick Withdraws Nomination)

“My approach is to stay directly focused on facts and substance, on the actual record of the nominee. Not to engage in character assassination, not to go into the gutter with personal matters, but rather to examine the cold hard facts, the actual record of the nominee,” Cruz told the Caller. “With Ms. Sohn, it was a record of extreme left-wing partisan activism. With Mr. Washington, it was a record that lacked any material experience in aviation or aviation safety. With Ms. Carlson, it was a record of environmental extremism. But, with each, it involved meticulously assembling the record, and then laying it out in a way that my colleagues could appreciate it and realize just how far out of the mainstream these nominees were.”

Phil Washington, chief executive officer of Denver International Airport and administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) nominee for US President Joe Biden, during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee nomination hearing in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. (Photographer: Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Cruz insisted that his efforts to block Biden’s nominees were not motivated by partisan rancor and that he would back a nominee he felt was qualified for the position. As an example, Cruz pointed to acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolan. (RELATED: ‘Spoils System’: Ted Cruz Slams Inexperienced Biden FAA Nominee As Patronage Pick)

“During the hearing, I pointed out that Billy Nolan, President Biden’s acting administrator, certainly appeared to be qualified. He had all of the expertise that Mr. Washington lacked. He had decades of experience in aviation and aviation safety,” Cruz told the Caller. “I think pointing to a credible alternative already serving within the Biden administration was an important piece in building opposition to a nominee who was objectively unqualified.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee business meeting to vote on Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Capitol Hill, April 4, 2022 in Washington, DC. A confirmation vote from the full Senate will come later this week. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images).

“I make clear in public hearings that, if they had nominated Billy Nolan, the acting administrator, that I would push for a swift bipartisan confirmation. Because every day we don’t have a Senate-confirmed leader of the FAA, the flying public is in greater danger,” he added.

Cruz ended the interview by saying the White House has prioritized “political patronage” over “finding the best qualified nominee.”