U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is taking back some of the recent remarks he made about the rioters behind last year’s breach of the Capitol building.
As the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot approached, Cruz delivered a statement during a Senate committee meeting in which he likened the protesters to terrorists.
“We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week,” the Texas Republican said, according to Breitbart. “And it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol, where we saw men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage, incredible bravery, risk their lives for the Capitol.
“You told that lie on purpose”
In a subsequent Fox News Channel appearance, however, the senator sought to clarify his meaning. He apologized for invoking terror-related rhetoric, which he said was “sloppy” and “dumb.”
Fox News personality Tucker Carlson has been a vocal critic of progressive pundits and politicians attempting to paint the riot as an attempted insurrection. He invited Cruz on his show this week to explain the recent remarks.
Although Carlson described Cruz as someone known for choosing his words carefully, the host said that did not appear to be the case when he described the riot as a terrorist attack.
“That’s a lie,” Carlson asserted, according to Breitbart. “You told that lie on purpose, and I’m wondering why you did.”
“I guess I just don’t believe you”
After Cruz apologized for his “frankly dumb” and “sloppy” statement, the host made it clear that he was not convinced.
“I’ve known you a long time, since before you went to the Senate,” Carlson said. “You were a Supreme Court contender. You take words as seriously as any man who has ever served in the Senate.”
Although Cruz attempted to explain away his rhetoric as referring only to the rioters who assaulted police officers, Carlson remained incredulous and accused the senator of helping Democrats portray Trump supporters as “foreign combatants” at war with the United States.
“I guess I just don’t believe you,” the host told his guest, as Breitbart reported. “And I mean that with respect because I have such respect for your acuity and your precision.”
Cruz has long faced harsh criticism from the left, though his ideological stance has largely insulated him from backlash among fellow conservatives. His recent remarks on the Jan. 6 riot, however, represented a clear exception to that rule.