This statement by Ted Cruz is giving a lot of people an opportunity to express their opinion on how unlikeable he is – how despicable he is on the inside. This is what Cruz said with regard to the violence that happened yesterday at two Trump rallies:
“A campaign bears responsibility for creating an environment when the candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence.”
Wow, that seems antithetical to our cherished principles of free speech! Cruz claims to be a Constitutional conservative, how can he say that someone’s speech can be responsible for someone else’s actions? How dare he comment on what we can and cannot say! That’s PC bullshit! He’s just like Nancy Pelosi! He’s a liar, a phony, a charlaton! This just proves he is a jackbooted thug in disguise!
Everyone seemed to miss the part where he also said:
“Earlier today over thirty people were arrested at one rally, and then tonight as violence broke out the rally was cancelled altogether. Now the responsibility for that lies with protestors who took violence into their own hands . . . .”
While I would have urged Cruz to spend more time on the responsibility of the protestors in Chicago, he was not talking just about Chicago. He was also talking about the sucker punch on a protestor at a rally in North Carolina – for which a Trump supporter has been arrested, and the take down of the Breitbart reporter by an as of yet to be definitively determined Trump staffer, among other things.
Here is the video clip of Cruz’s interview (my transcription follows below):
Here is Cruz’s full response (my transcription):
“I also want to mention something about the events in Chicago. This is a sad day. Political discourse should occur in this country, without a threat of violence. Without anger and rage and hatred directed at each other. We need to learn to have disagreements without being disagreeable. We need to have disagreements while respecting human beings on the other side. Earlier today over thirty people were arrested at one rally, and then tonight as violence broke out the rally was cancelled altogether. Now the responsibility for that lies with protestors who took violence into their own hands but in any campaign responsibility starts at the top. Any candidate is responsible for the culture of the campaign. When you have a campaign that disrespects the voters, when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have a campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discourse.”
When asked if he thought the rally should be cancelled, he said this:
“The decision should be based on public safety, but I think a campaign bears responsibility for creating an environment when the candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence to punch people in the face. The predictable consequence of that is that it escalates and today is unlikely to be the last such instance. We saw earlier today in St. Louis over thirty arrested. That’s not how our politics should occur. You know, the city of Chicago in 1968 saw some ugly days when politics descended into hatred and incivility and even violence. It is my hope in 2016 that we can appeal to our better angels and avoid going down that road once again.”
Make no mistake, I condemn those protestors who, with premeditation, insert themselves into crowds to intentionally provoke violence. But I also condemn those who fall for it. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but I have to give it to Trump for once again making lemonade out of lemons. He continues to profit off of his own complicity. That is truly amazing. Don’t ever say I can’t recognize the power of Trump. Doesn’t mean I support him!
And sorry, I don’t agree with the outrage against Cruz. Why is it always that when someone changes the rules, the rules don’t change for everyone? I despise different rules for different people but that is the reality. (Poor Rubio saw how well playing by Trump’s rules worked for him). It wasn’t long ago that people were calling for Cruz to fire people in his campaign because of the “culture” he supposedly created when his people disseminated an actual CNN report about Ben Carson going back to Florida and the natural implications of that action. Or when his campaign manager carelessly promoted a vague video clip that on first look appeared to show Rubio dissing the Bible. Or when his campaign sent out mailers shaming people for not voting, mailers that have been used for decades by candidates of both political parties. Cruz was being crucified for these, in comparison, tiny little nuanced mistakes. But somehow Republicans have now been backed into the position of defending Donald Trump’s reckless speech – and I’m not talking about when he says the comparatively mild things like “Islam hates America” or “Megyn Kelly was bleeding out of her whatever.”
I’m talking about speech like, “I’d like to punch him in the face” and, “In the old days [protesters would be] carried out on stretchers.” And, “We’re not allowed to push back anymore.”
Or stuff like this:
When a Black Lives Matter protester was punched and kicked by attendees at a Trump rally last fall, Trump remarked the next day that “maybe he should have been roughed up.”
Trump issued a threatening tweet on Monday to the Ricketts family, which has been politically active in recent cycles.
“I hear the (Ricketts) family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful. They have a lot to hide,” Trump tweeted.
And reportedly, this about the North Carolina sucker puncher:
Donald Trump told an audience Friday morning that it was “very, very appropriate” for one of his supporters to punch a black protester during a rally earlier this week. “That’s what we need a little bit more of,” Trump said of fans hitting people at his campaign events.
Tapper then confronted Trump with a laundry list of past quotes that Tapper suggested encouraged violence at his rallies.
On February 23, Tapper noted, Trump said of a protester: “I’d like to punch him in the face.”
February 27: ‘In the good ol’ days, they’d have ripped him out of that seat so fast.’
February 1: ‘Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously, OK just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise,'” Tapper continued, quoting Trump’s past statements.
And one more:
“Missouri, I can’t believe this. There used to be consequences to protesting. There are none anymore. These people are so bad for our country, you have no idea folks.”
Sure he can say that kind of stuff all he wants, but there are consequences Donald. And getting people riled up with the tacit approval of such actions is one of them. Isn’t it? Taken separately perhaps all these statements are harmless or could be one-offs, not indicative of creating a “culture.” But together? Trumpeters, I’m afraid your continued allegiance to this buffoon, who may or may not actually be dangerous, undermines your cause, and my legitimate attempts to be open minded about the prospects of a Trump presidency.
Tell me what difference there is between Trump’s statements and this: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” Do you want to support Obama’s right to say that too? Is your response to just say something worse? Apparently so.
Maybe you don’t think anything Trump has said could possibly be viewed as inciting violence. Fine. Then answer this – the question I am really interested in: What would Trump have to say in order for you to agree he has gone over the line? Is there anything he could say where you would finally conclude, “Now, that’s a bridge too far!” Is there any line at all? Sadly, I think the answer is, “No.” As we go farther into this black hole of anything-goes-election-season untethered by any moral obligation to be respectful in our discourse, just do me a favor and keep this idea in mind: Will you take any responsibility for the state of human interactions when someone more powerful than Trump becomes the next president? I guarantee by then, the jackbooted thugs will no longer be on your side. When you are not the loudest voices in the room anymore, what will you think then? Will you have any regrets?
Don’t try to say I am caving to the PC police either. Here is what Politically Correct means to me: when you don’t say the truth because you are afraid it will offend someone. That is progressive speech control and I abhor it. This is different from Respectful Discourse: when you say the truth in a way that is not rude or insulting. The Left has managed to characterize Respectful Discourse as Politically Incorrect. Trump actually bolsters their stupid speech restrictions by continuing to use Disrespectful Discourse and attack those who criticize him as being Politically Correct. He uses any kind of language he wants, and nobody can criticize him because they will be called PC. So in order to avoid be called PC, we are forced to support Trump and criticize Cruz who is actually advocating responsibility for one’s actions! Wait, isn’t that a conservative principle? Amazing, and absolutely twisted. If that is not genius, then it’s at least fabulously opportunist.
In this Twilight Zone Upside Down Opposite Day world we are now living in, even respectable conservatives are finding themselves criticizing Cruz and siding with Trump. I’ve never felt so alone.
Added: Not that he hasn’t shown himself to be a hypocrite time and again, but here is Trump denouncing Pamela Geller’s Draw Muhammad contest:
“I watched Pam prior, and it looked like she’s just taunting everybody,” Said Trump. “What is she doing drawing Muhammad? And it looks like she’s actually taunting people – and it’s disgusting that it happened and everything else. But why are they doing drawing Muhammad? Isn’t there something else they can draw.”
Translation: “I can say anything I want, but you, I’m not so sure about that.”