NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – It may be the last thing one might to expect to hear from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
“More than once in the past month, I have raised a glass to toast Harry Reid,” he told a small group of reporters with quizzical expressions at the annual the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, just outside Washington Thursday.
“We owe an ironic debt of gratitude to Harry Reid,” the senator declared, for “the most conservative cabinet in decades.”
And then the coup de grace.
“Thanks to Harry Reid, Jeff Sessions is the attorney general, Scott Pruitt is the administrator of the EPA and Betsy DeVos is the education secretary.”
Cruz explained, “There is one person directly responsible for that, and that is Harry Reid, who invoked the so-called nuclear option and broke the Senate rules to lower the threshold for confirmations from 60 votes to 51.”
Cruz said he tried to warn the former Senate majority leader. He and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, both argued “vociferously” to their Democratic Party colleagues that it was a mistake.
“At the time, I told them, several Democrats, this will result in more Scalias and Thomases on the Supreme Court and on the federal courts.”
“And,” the senator continued, “it will result in much more conservative cabinet nominees. That’s precisely what occurred, if you look at the nominees we’ve seen and confirmed, a number them by very narrow margins.”
“It is difficult to believe a Jeff Sessions, or a Scott Pruitt, or a Betsy de Vos would have been nominated if they required 60 votes to be confirmed.”
An amused Cruz observed that the interesting thing about how the nuclear option operated in practice is that it did not alter who the Democrats nominated.
And he didn’t mince words.
“The Democrats have always nominated their nut cases to be in the cabinet. Republicans have quietly and docilely confirmed them.”
That didn’t change under the nuclear option when Obama was president, Cruz asserted.
“Obama did not hesitate to nominate extreme left-wing radicals, and, sadly, the Senate did not hesitate to confirm them.”
Cruz also lamented how Republicans had not only rolled over and confirmed Obama’s radical nominees, previous Republican presidents often wouldn’t even bother to nominate strong conservatives for cabinet positions, knowing they couldn’t break the 60-vote threshold.
“And so, by Harry Reid’s actions, which I disagreed with at the time, the consequences are we now have a much more conservative cabinet, and I believe were going to be able to move expeditiously to confirm strong conservatives.”
Cruz wants to see that tide of strong conservatives go beyond the administration and sweep into the federal court system.
“With over 100 vacancies, I would like to see an army of young, principled constitutionalists on the bench. A generation of new leadership. A generation of 30-something and 40-something Scalias and Thomases.”
That, the senator said, would protect Americans’ constitutional rights not just today, but for generations to come.
Cruz also had some good words for another former bitter adversary: President Trump, with whom he waged a fierce war of words on the presidential campaign trail last year.
When WND asked the senator how he would rate the Trump administration at this point, he replied, very slowly in measured tones, as if to choose his words carefully for just the right emphasis.
He began by calling the administration’s performance “remarkably strong.”
“It is an all-star Cabinet. We have the most conservative Cabinet we have had in decades. The early executive actions have been significant, whether green-lighting the Keystone pipeline, or halting the deluge of new job-killing regulations, or freezing federal nonmilitary hiring, we have seen meaningful executive leadership. And that is encouraging.”
“I hope the next four years follow the same pattern of significant conservative policy,” Cruz added.
Sounds like a pretty good scorecard, WND replied.
“Yeah,” was the succinct reply, but it was delivered with conviction.