If there’s one senator that Joe Scarborough and the rest of the folks on MSNBC’s Morning Joe have contempt for it’s Ted Cruz. The freshman Texas senator and Tea Party favorite has been attacked by the morning schmoes on a regular basis, and on April 30 Scarborough -- a formerly conservative U.S. congressman -- went after Cruz once again.
On Tuesday morning, Scarborough chastised Cruz for, “mocking members of his own party” surrounding the gun control debate in Congress. Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski, who are no strangers to verbally attacking Cruz, described his actions as inappropriate:
The Texas freshman broke tradition on Friday by publicly discussing what went on behind closed doors when fellow Republicans criticized him for giving Democrats ammunition to portray the GOP as obstructionists. [See video after jump.]
As the segment continued, Scarborough accused Cruz of lying about discussions between Republican Senators during closed door meetings. Cruz claimed that:
We've had probably five or six lunches with a bunch of Republican Senators standing up and looking at rand and Mike and me and yelling at us at the top of their lungs. I mean really upset… They said, listen, before you did this, the politics of it were great. The Dems were the bad guys, the Republicans were the good guys, now we all look like a bunch of squishes. Well, there is an alternative. You could just not be a bunch of squishes.
This allowed Brzezinski to use a piece by The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin in which she told Senator Cruz to not be a jerk to smear the Texas Senator even further:
His actions suggest an immaturity and lack of sophistication about conservative governance. He might want to apologize to his colleagues for betraying their confidence and sit down and think what it is he wants to do in the senate. Obstruction is easy, governance is hard.
The Post’s Jonathan Capehart added on to the attacks, saying that:
The guy's only been in office since January and he’s -- if there's bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill, it's that Senator Cruz is a bit of a jerk. Well, maybe not a bit of a jerk. He is a jerk. Democrats don't like him. But Republicans really can't stand him.
No one on the panel seems to understand that Senator Cruz campaigned on being an anti-establishment member of the Senate, someone who asks questions and challenges the mainstream in Washington.
In other words, he's doing precisely what he said he'd do on the campaign trail. Instead of realizing that Cruz is simply voicing concerns that he promised he would focus on prior to getting elected, Scarborough and the rest of the Morning Joe crew would rather demean and mock the senator, trying to shame him into silence and badger him into being a meeker, milder freshman legislator.
Unfortunately, this will likely not be the last time Cruz is verbally abused on an MSNBC set. Over the last few months MSNBC has trashed Cruz on a number of occasions, including MSNBC's chief blowhard Chris Matthews calling him the new Joe McCarthy as well as Scarborough saying Cruz acts, “like a carnival barker” and “ignorant” on gun control legislation.
See relevant transcript below.
April 30, 2013
7:12 a.m. EST
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We'll start with Ted Cruz who threatened to filibuster the gun bill and he’s now openly mocking members of his own party.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Oh that's good. Good move. Helpful for your--
SCARBOROUGH: It's really great when freshmen actually mock senior party members. What did he do?
BRZEZINSKI: The Texas freshman broke tradition on Friday by publicly discussing what went on behind closed doors when fellow Republicans criticized him for giving Democrats ammunition to portray the GOP as obstructionists. Cruz hit back during a Texas meeting of the Tea Party aligned group Freedom Works.
TED CRUZ: We've had probably five or six lunches with a bunch of Republican Senators standing up and looking at rand and Mike and me and yelling at us at the top of their lungs. I mean really upset. And they said, look, why did you do this? As a result of what you did when I go home, my constituents are yelling at me that I've got to stand on principle. Look, there are a lot of people that don't like to be held accountable. But here was their argument. They said, listen, before you did this, the politics of it were great. The Dems were the bad guys, the Republicans were the good guys, now we all look like a bunch of squishes. Well, there is an alternative. You could just not be a bunch of squishes.
SCARBOROUGH: Jon Meacham. That's a smart move by the young Senator. And I encourage him to continue.
JON MEACHAM: Well, it's--
SCARBOROUGH: To misrepresent what people say inside of – I mean he's lying.
MEACHAM: That's the key.
SCARBOROUGH: He's lying about what Republican Senators were saying in those meetings. He's exaggerating.
SCARBOROUGH: But, you know, he's not lying about Democrats, he's lying about his own party.
MEACHAM: Right. The problem with that
SCARBOROUGH: You know, a lot of people in Washington including myself, we know what went on inside those meetings and what Ted Cruz is saying is just not true.
MEACHAM: Yeah. It's one of Richard's buddies Dean Acheson used to say, it's important to remember no one ever comes out second best in their own memoir. No one ever comes out second best in their own anecdote in a constituent meeting.
SCARBOROUGH: Jennifer Ruben wrote something, again very conservative person. She commented on Ted Cruz making something up to attack fellow republican senators. What did she say?
BRZEZINSKI: So she writes in the Washington Post, don't be a jerk, Senator Cruz. There's being principled and then there's being a jerk. Putting down your colleagues to boost your own street cred with the base falls in the latter category. There are many things wrong with Senator Cruz's comments whatever you think of the merits of the gun legislation for a guy who likes manners, he comes across as whiney. His actions suggest an immaturity and lack of sophistication about conservative governance. He might want to apologize to his colleagues for betraying their confidence and sit down and think what it is he wants to do in the Senate. Obstruction is easy, governance is hard.
SCARBOROUGH: Jonathan Capehart, Ted Cruz, not most likely to win miss hospitality this year.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: No, the guy's only been in office since January and he’s
-- if there's bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill, it's that Senator Cruz is a bit of a jerk. Well, maybe not a bit of a jerk. He is a jerk. Democrats don't like him. But Republicans really can't stand him. There was that day when both Ruth Marcus and another, I can't remember the other columnist, you know, someone from the right, someone leaning from the left gunning for Ted Cruz. And that only happens when people in your own party are sick and tired of your nonsense and you’re gumming up the works especially in some place like the Senate that they want to send a message to you. And watching that video clearly Ted Cruz couldn't care less what democrats think of him and certainly couldn't care less what republicans think of him in the senate. He doesn't know, but Richard Haass the senate unlike any institution in the American governance is the smallest of boats. There are 60 people jammed on to a boat. And you and I have seen it through the years. If one guy comes in and he starts acting like this, you know, the oar just accidentally comes around and hits him in the back of the head several times. He does not realize how small the Senate is and you go around making up stories about Republicans in Republican meetings that are supposed to be in confidence anyway.
RICHARD HAASS: It's not just what goes around comes around, and this will ultimately come back and hurt him but on a more serious level. This is what's wrong with American politics. It’s the breakdown of any ability to get work done. At some point you want to say look you’re an insider now. You've got some responsibility, you've got to govern, it means forging coalitions, I mean sometimes compromising instead of just playing to the galleries and to these extreme groups. And when you look at sort of the sources of why politics don’t work anymore, that’s one of the places you point to.
WILLIE GEIST: Clearly he thinks this is a Jimmy Stewart thing, he came to Washington, he’s banging on the podium, the lectern. He’s going to change the way business is done. He's one man fighting, swimming upstream. But it’s a long road, six years, a term in the Seante. You’re going to need a lot of votes from those people who you’re telling stories about in closed door meetings.
SCARBOROUGH: He's a man of the people. A Harvard lawyer. I think he went to Princeton undergrad. I mean listen he doesn't have my cred. He’s not a University of Alabama graduate.
BRZEZINSKI: He counts way higher than number one.
SCARBOROUGH: I went to Harvard and I went to Princeton.
SCARBOROUGH: Wasn't he working the Solicitor General's office? He’s just a man of the people Willie.
GEIST: Clerks for William Rehnquist.
SCARBOROUGH: Clerk for the great William Rehnquist, once alone the center, one of the most influential conservative jurists of the 20th century. He's just a simple guy. Just going down to Texas talking about, hey, I found the place and I'm shaking it up.
MEACHAM: Truth to power, baby.
SCARBOROUGH: Truth to power because he's never been around it. Puts on his best clean shirt and goes to work and puts on the clip-on tie and, you know, does his best. I mean that’s what he wants people to think. He's a Harvard lawyer and this is whatever, good luck today, Senator Cruz. We're thinking about you. You know if the Senate, if the Republican Caucus in the Senate could do to you what they New York Jets did to Tim Tebow they'd be doing it today.