Ted Cruz sparked anger among conservatives after he appeared to regurgitate left-wing talking points on the Senate floor by referring to the events of January 6, 2020 as a “violent terrorist attack.”
Democrats and some members of the mainstream media have repeatedly referred to the riot, which occurred following former President Trump’s refusal to concede the 2020 US presidential election, as a violent “coup” or “insurrection” despite none of its participants being charged with terrorism or insurrection.
On the anniversary of the riot, Vice President Kamala Harris and other Democrats compared the events of Jan. 6 to Pearl Harbor and 9/11 – and Cruz’s remarks on the Senate floor came as a stinging reminder to conservatives that they may not necessarily have allies in the Senate.
Cruz’s remarks were in contrast to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who mocked the Jan. 6 memorial service as “just a politicized Charlie Foxtrot.”
Following the outrage to Cruz’s remarks, the Texas Senator took to Tucker Carlson’s show on Thursday night to clarify what he said.
“So I guess what I mean, there are a lot of dumb people in the Congress. You're not one of them and you're smarter than I am. And you never use words carelessly, and yet you called this a terror attack when by no definition, was it a terror attack,” said Carlson. “That's a lie. You told that lie on purpose, and I'm wondering why you did.”
“Well, Tucker, thank you for having me on when you air your episode last night, I sent you a text shortly thereafter and said, listen, I'd like to go on because of. Oh, the way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb,” said Cruz.
“Look, I've known you a long time. Since before you went to the Senate, you're a Supreme court contender. You take words as seriously as any man who's ever served in the Senate. And every word you repeated that phrase. I do not believe that you use that accidentally. I just don't,” rebutted Carlson.
“It's so Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing, it's caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant,” insisted Cruz. “Let me tell you what I meant. What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers. I think you and I both agree that if you assault a police officer, you should go to jail.”
“That's who I was talking about. And the reason the phrasing was sloppy is I have talked dozens if not hundreds of times, I've drawn a distinction. I wasn't saying that the thousands of peaceful protestors supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn't saying the millions of patriots across the country, supporting president Trump are terrorists,” he continued. “And that's what a lot of people have misunderstood that.”
“Hold on a second,” replied Carlson. “What you just said doesn't make sense. So if somebody assaults a cop, he should be charged and go to jail. I couldn't agree more. We have said that for years, but that person's still not a terrorist. How many people have been charged with terrorism on January 6?”
Carlson continued: “Like why’d you use that word? You’re playing into the other side’s characterization, that as Joe Kent just explained, allows them to define an entire population as foreiegn combatants. And you know that so why’d you do it?”
“So Tucker, let me answer you directly,” Cruz replied. “The reason I’ve used that word for a decade, I have referred to people who violently assault police officers as terrorists. I've done so over and over and over again. If you look at all the assaults we’ve seen across the country, I've called that terrorism over and over again.”
“That being said, Tucker, I agree with you. It was a mistake to say that yesterday. And the reason is what you just said, which is we've now had a year of Democrats in the media, twisting words, and trying to say that all of us are terrorists trying to say you're a terrorist, I'm a terrorist.”
“And so look, I don't like people who assault cops and, and, and I stand up and defend cops,” Cruz went on. “The reason I use that word is that's the word I've always used for people that violently attack cops. But in this context, I get why people were angry because we've had a year of the corrupt corporate media and Democrats claiming anyone who objected to the election fraud.”
Cruz also took to Twitter to apologize for his phrasing: