Politics

Ted Cruz Tells CPAC Armed Teachers Are a Good Thing

Texas senator mocks CNN's 'infomercial' for gun control, praises GOP agenda — and says nobody ever feared Chris Cuomo

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) bashed CNN for its Wednesday night “infomercial” for gun control held in South Florida, asserting regulation upon good citizens will produce bad results.

“You want to see crime take off? Disarm the law-abiding citizens,” said Cruz, speaking to interviewer Ben Domenech, founder of The Federalist, at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C.

The massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, was a hot topic on CPAC’s first day, but conservatives looked to leaders such as Cruz to find solutions not based on nicking away at the Second Amendment.

“It’s tiresome,” said Cruz, speaking to thousands of conservative attendees. “Every time you see a horrific crime, people in the media and Democratic politicians immediately leap on it to advance their agenda, and their agenda is stripping Second Amendment rights away from law-abiding citizens.”

Cruz said teachers wanting to defend themselves with concealed carry is a good thing.

“It makes perfect sense that if teachers want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, that only makes schools safer,” Cruz said. “I don’t think you should make teachers do that, but if a teacher is comfortable and wants to be prepared to defend himself or herself, that’s a good thing.”

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The Texas Republican also said federal and state agencies may have some culpability in refusing to see red flags shown by the alleged shooter, suspended student Nikolas Cruz, 19.

Cruz was a popular draw at CPAC, even though he and President Donald Trump brutally clashed in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. Cruz was once Trump’s top rival, even refusing to endorse him at the 2016 Republican National Convention. But the two patched things up before the Nov. 8, 2016, election.

Now Cruz boasts of all Trump and the GOP accomplished in 2017, including the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch’s placement on the court was a “home run” for the GOP, Cruz said. Conservatives hold a 5-4 edge on the high court as a result.

The GOP also hit a home run with tax reform, Cruz said. The annual conservative convention, held every winter in the Washington region since 1974, was abuzz with talk about the growing economy and the tax cuts that are now fattening the paychecks of millions of Americans.

The Republicans were very close to a major disaster in mid-2017, Cruz told Domenech, with inaction on repealing Obamacare and passing tax reform. But in the end, Cruz said, the GOP passed major tax cuts and major tax reform, all while repealing the core of Obamacare, the individual mandate requiring people to buy federally approved health insurance coverage or pay heavy fines to the IRS.

Cruz has two rules for dealing with Trump and reporters: He won’t comment on either Trumps’ tweets or the latest media feeding frenzy about the president.

The Texas senator got a surprise standing ovation when he bashed college and university leaders, saying colleges and universities are now run “by a bunch of ’60s hippies who are imposing some draconian speech code.”

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The discussion was often light-hearted, with Domench asking Cruz about his fondness for “The Simpsons.” Cruz said the Democrats had become the soppy liberal party of Lisa Simpson.

Cruz and Domenech also took a shot at CNN, with Domenech asking about Wednesday night’s CNN forum on guns, which stressed regulation. Domenech reminded Cruz that host Chris Cuomo, on CNN’s “New Day,” had claimed Cruz was scared to come on his morning show and debate guns, despite the fact CNN declined to air an pre-taped interview with Cruz about the Parkland shooting and gun control.

Cruz indicated he is up to any challenge from the “New Day” host.

“I can tell, you in the history of the universe, no one has ever been afraid of Chris Cuomo,” said Cruz.

PoliZette White House writer Jim Stinson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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