Senator Ted Cruz has slammed Democrats as ‘hypocrites’ for their second impeachment push against Donald Trump, claiming they ‘cheered on BLM and Antifa’ while accusing Trump of inciting the fatal riot at the U.S. Capitol.
‘The president’s language at times is a little over heated. But if you look at the language he used, saying things like ‘fight’, saying things like ‘go retake our country’, if that is now incitement then we better prepare a long line to indict every candidate for office, anyone who’s ever run,’ Cruz said in an interview on Tuesday with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
‘The president was careful to say that the protesters should be peaceful,’ claimed Cruz, a Texas Republican, speaking after the first day of Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
He said that anyone who attacked police or engaged in violence during the January 6 riot should be harshly prosecuted, but argued that Democrats were unwilling to make the same demand of violent protesters on their own side.
‘If you engage in violence whether you’re left wing or right wing, that’s unacceptable. The difference is, the Democrats have been complete hypocrites on this, cheering on BLM and Antifa and apologizing for their violence,’ said Cruz.
‘We have had Democrats for a year, cheering on — we have seen violence all of the country, we’ve seen riots all over the country,’ Cruz said. ‘What do the Democrats do, they cheered it on… They celebrated.’
Cruz singled out Vice President Kamala Harris, who tweeted out a call for donations to a bail fund for demonstrators in Minnesota.
‘She raised money to pay for the bail, to bail out the violent criminals,’ Cruz said.
Cruz was one of the members of Congress who supported Trump’s attempt to challenge the slates of electors from several states during the joint session that was interrupted when the mob breached the Capitol.
His critics call him a member of the ‘treason caucus’ accused of inspiring the riot, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even accused him in a tweet of ‘trying to get me killed,’ remarks the New York Democrat has refused to apologize for.
In the interview on Tuesday, Cruz argued that the impeachment case being presented against Trump by House Democrats ‘fails on the merits.’
‘Nothing he said meets the legal standards for incitement. Incitement is very clear,’ argued Cruz. ‘Incitement is very clear and saying “go and attack.”‘
He said that remarks made by Democrats in the past come closer to meeting the standard for incitement, but that he felt it was all protected speech.
‘We have the First Amendment, we have robust political speech, and people are entitled to be idiots,’ he said.
Cruz called the impeachment trial ‘political theater’ that would be pointless without the votes needed to convict.
‘I think today typified what we’re going to see this week, which it reminded me of Shakespeare. It’s full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,’ he said.
‘We’re going to see this week a whole lot of Democrats pounding the table and a lot of moralizing. And a lot of venting their hatred for Donald Trump.’
‘This is going to be venting the id of the Democrats, and it’s going to end with failure. It’s going to end with Trump being acquitted,’ Cruz added. ‘The Democrats want a week of political theater raging at Donald Trump.’
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 56-44 to move forward with the impeachment trial, rejecting arguments from Trump’s attorneys that it is unconstitutional to convict after a president leaves office.
Six Republicans sided with the Democrats in the vote, but the tally suggested that the trial will result in acquittal.
At least 16 Republicans would need to defect for a conviction, which requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate. A conviction could bar Trump from holding office in the future.