The Rare EIB Interview: Senator Ted Cruz on Why He Called His Leader a Liar
Jul 24, 2015
RUSH: I want to welcome back to the program, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas, and Republican presidential candidate. You did something today I don’t think I’ve seen before. This was a direct hit on your Senate leadership over a number of things, Senator. What spawned this today, and look, rather than me describe it for people, just tell everybody what you did and why you did it.
CRUZ: Well, Rush, it’s great to be back with you. Today the Senate took up the Export-Import Bank, a classic example of cronyism and corporate welfare. The leader of Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell, went to the floor and demonstrated that he had lied both to the American people and also to every Republican senator, including me. Back when we were having the fight over trade promotion authority, I asked Mitch McConnell directly if he had cut a deal to reauthorize this cronyism and corporate welfare in order to try to get the votes, and he looked at me, he looked at all 54 Republican senators, and he said flat-out, “There is no deal. There is no deal. There is no deal.”
RUSH: Now, this deal you’re talking about, Senator, you’re talking about the Asian — the Pacific trade deal the president wanted, and the Export-Import Bank’s part of that, right?
CRUZ: Exactly right. That’s part of how Republican leadership got the votes for TPA is by promising to put taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars of loan guarantees that go primarily to a handful of giant corporations. And it’s what I refer to as a Washington cartel. It’s career politicians in both parties who get in bed with lobbyists and special interests. It’s why we’re bankrupting our kids and grandkids. And what’s striking — I mean, Rush, people are so frustrated, ’cause we keep winning elections, and then our leaders don’t do a darn thing they said they were going to do. So we were told in the House of Representatives things will be different.
In 2010, the people rose up, we got a Republican majority. And they haven’t done much of anything. Then we were told we just need a Republican majority in the Senate, retire Harry Reid. In 2014, millions of Americans stood up to do that. For six months we’ve had a Republican majority. What have they done? They passed a trillion-dollar Cromnibus plan filled with corporate pork and corporate welfare. We funded Obamacare and President Obama’s executive amnesty, and Republican leadership jammed through the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general. Every one of those is exactly the same as what Harry Reid would have done. And it’s why people are frustrated.
Why is it that Republican leadership, authorities as Harry Reid and the Democrats — and the answer is the lobbyists and special interests, the giant corporations that want Big Government and power. They give campaign contributions to both Republicans and Democrats. And today I called out the majority leader for looking 54 Republicans in the eye and telling a flat-out lie. It was a very unfortunate day for the Senate. It’s not a good day when the majority leader is willing to lie to the members of the Senate.
RUSH: Well, I don’t know. If I were you — well, you sound insulted. I mean, here, after all, the majority leader is telling you, “Hey, hey, hey, you know what, Export-Import not gonna happen, guaranteed not gonna happen, and, furthermore, we’re gonna give you another repeal Obamacare vote.” By now everybody knows that’s a joke, don’t they?
CRUZ: It’s complete fiction. He wants a show vote on repealing Obamacare. Now, of course back in October 2013 when Mike Lee and I were leading the fight to defund Obamacare, then Mitch McConnell joined with Harry Reid in leading the fight to preserve Obamacare. So when it actually has teeth, leadership wasn’t with us. But they do want an empty show vote. And, you know, Rush, as you know, a couple of weeks ago I came out with a new book, A Time for Truth, and the entire point of the book is to tell the truth about what is happening behind closed doors, and, in particular, how career politicians in both parties are not telling the truth to the American people. And this was an example of that. And, unfortunately, it’s why we see so many campaign conservatives that pretend to be conservative on the campaign trail but they don’t govern according to what they promised us on the campaign trail.
RUSH: Let me ask you some questions that are born of my natural naivete.
RUSH: Well, no, it is. It honestly is. Like, for example, I’m gonna ask you a question the answer to which is so obvious that I ought to not ask it. But I’m gonna ask. What in the world does Boeing or General Electric or any other, Walmart, I don’t care who, what in the world do they need with American taxpayer dollars? Why would they even want it? They have their own money, they’re doing quite well. See, I know the answers to the question, but it still burns me. I do not understand.
RUSH: They call it crony capitalism, crony socialism. It’s neither. It’s cronyism and what’s happening is these major corporations —
RUSH: — which everybody thinks are big Republican conservatives, they’re not doing anything in the best interests of the country anymore. All of this is about personal enrichment, corporate enrichment, and now it’s reached down to elected members of Congress in the House and Senate who somehow are being personally enriched after they retire because they vote for these kinds of things.
CRUZ: That is exactly right. Any time someone tells you it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.
RUSH: But what does Boeing need from the Export-Import Bank? What the hell is the Export-Import Bank anyway for people that don’t know.
CRUZ: So the Export-Import Bank was created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And it puts American taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in loan guarantees. Most of these loan guarantees go to foreign companies in China and Russia and even in some instances doing business in Iran, and they expose taxpayers and they enrich a handful of giant corporations. Boeing is the single largest recipient. Now, on an earnings call just recently the CEO of Boeing said, you know, without the Export-Import Bank, we’ll be fine, there’s plenty of loans. We can get credit in the private market, but it’s easier, it’s cheaper to write campaign contributions to the Washington cartel and get them to raid the taxpayers, that’s easier and cheaper, and it’s what’s fundamentally corrupt about Washington, and it’s both parties.
You know, right after Mitch McConnell did this, Harry Reid tweeted out a tweet celebrating Mitch McConnell for reauthorizing or leading the fight to reauthorize this corporate welfare and cronyism. But one, all of the Democrats who rail against Big Business who put on populist rhetoric, this shows at the end of the they’re just interested in the same campaign contributions everyone else is. And every Republican who says he or she believes in free market principles, at the end of the day it is about power and money and Washington, and the people getting left behind are working men and women. Now, I will say one thing that is very encouraging, Rush, which is even though the Washington cartel is coming after me hard, all of the lobbyists are backing other candidates in this presidential race, out of 16 candidates for the Republican nomination, you know which candidate raised the most hard money out of all 16?
RUSH: Duh. Let me —
CRUZ: (laughing). We did, and it was 175,000 contributions that TedCruz.org, where people came and said we want someone to tell the truth and stand up to the bipartisan corruption of Washington.
RUSH: Well, you said today that your staff, when you told your staff that you would not believe McConnell was lying to you, your staff tried to warn you that you were being lied to on the Pacific trade deal, the Export-Import Bank, and you stood up for McConnell, to your staff, correct?
CRUZ: Well, that’s exactly right. When I came out of that lunch where Mitch said three times, “There is no deal. There is no deal. There is no deal,” I offered them nothing. I came back and sat down with my staff, and my staff all said he’s lying to you, this isn’t true. And I said, “Listen, guys, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but he looked me in the eye, he looked every Republican senator in the eye. I don’t have a basis to assume he’s lying. I’ve got to take him at his word.” And so my vote hinged on that. His behavior today demonstrates that, unfortunately, my staff was right, and I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but his conduct today — you know, it’s interesting, there were a bunch of other amendments that I had introduced, that other senators had introduced, for example, an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood.
We’ve seen the shocking, horrible videos. Mitch McConnell billed the amendment, (unintelligible) which is the exact same procedural abuse of power Harry Reid used to do, to defund Planned Parenthood. An amendment to stop sanctuary cities, that was another amendment, cut off federal funds to sanctuary cities. Well, Mitch McConnell billed the amendment tree to prevent any vote on sanctuary cities. The priority of leadership is what the lobbyists and giant corporations and special interests in Washington want. It’s why we’re bankrupting our kids and grandkids.
RUSH: Well, we can’t take the ideology out of this, Senator. I know you have a flight to catch, I’ll be very quick here. I was gonna ask you about McConnell blocking the vote on the Planned Parenthood amendment, defunding them and sanctuary cities.
RUSH: Now, you say that this is being done in fealty to lobbyists, K Street, donors and so forth. But let’s face it, what McConnell is doing is advocating for the leftist agenda, is he not? The money may be the reason, but what’s the end result of this?
CRUZ: At the end of the day, you think about who leadership listens to. I was having a conversation with a few senators on the Senate floor last week, and they were saying, has the divide between leadership and the grassroots ever been this wide? And we were all agreeing it wasn’t. And it’s because leadership listens to K Street and Wall Street, it’s the Big Money donors. The actual grassroots conservatives who gave us a majority in both houses, they don’t listen to at all. So can you think of a single priority for a real live conservative that this Senate Republican majority has voted on? It’s all been what the lobbyists care about.
RUSH: Yeah, I know. I know. It’s distressing and it’s dispiriting to a lot of people. Then we wake up today, and we see the Chamber of Commerce threatening unnamed Republicans or conservatives by claiming to take ’em out. “Chamber Gearing Up to Take Out GOP Incumbents.” We all know that that means GOP conservatives. Chamber of Commerce, everybody thinks they’re a bunch of Republicans, Senator.
CRUZ: Well, it’s interesting. The local Chambers of Commerce, the small business people usually are, but the national chamber is just a giant lobbying arm for Big Government handouts to Big Business. And so they are essentially promising to create the crony caucus. Everyone who is in favor of corporate welfare — you know, how is any conservative supposed to credibly take on welfare reform if we’re not willing to stop shoveling billions of dollars to giant corporations? We need to show some consistency here, and people are understandably frustrated because you don’t see people willing to take on the Washington cartel.
RUSH: I’ll tell you —
CRUZ: The only way to break it —
RUSH: They’re frustrated because they see losing the country. They see the country going down the drain, Senator, culturally —
RUSH: — values.
RUSH: And they see all these corporate entities that they used to think held the same values apparently don’t care while the country is circling the drain, none of that matters to anybody in Washington. That’s the disconnect.
CRUZ: Right. And we have seen before how to defeat the Washington cartel, which in 1980 the Reagan revolution came from the American people. Remember, Reagan, a lot of people forget, he took on the Washington cartel. He primaried Gerald Ford. You want to tick off Republican leadership, come within an inch of defeating the incumbent Republican president. The Reagan revolution came from the grassroots. It’s why the incredible outpouring of grassroots support, of volunteers, of 175,000 contributions at TedCruz.org is so encouraging, because the only way we can break this, the only way we can get leaders to actually stand for conservative principles, is if there’s a grassroots tsunami. And I believe 2016 is gonna be an election like 1980, that we’re gonna win by painting in bold colors and not pale pastels.
RUSH: Senator Ted Cruz, I know you got a plane to catch and I really appreciate your time here. Again, it’s probably happened, I just have not seen such a direct allegation, series of them, as you made against Mitch McConnell today. If I had more time I’d ask you what kind of fallout you expect, but we’ll find out soon. It won’t take long.
CRUZ: Well, I’ll tell you, the reaction has been interesting, Rush. The reaction from the grassroots is a lot of people saying, “Thank you for standing up and speaking the truth.” And the reaction in Washington is teeth are bared and the knives are out and the cartel’s coming after me. In A Time for Truth, the first chapter is entitled Mendacity, and it describes what happens behind closed doors in the Senate. It describes how the Washington cartel tries to mislead the American people. And what I endeavored to do today was exactly the same thing, which is just tell the truth about what’s happening, which is what it’s gonna take to change the direction we’re on.
RUSH: Senator, thanks much, and best to you, and we gotta take a break, folks. We’ll do that and be back with much more after this, and, again, thanks. That was Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.