Cruz Shuts Down Media Attempt to Use Storm to Attack GOP

On Monday afternoon, liberal news anchors on CNN and MSNBC were so desperate to find a way to exploit Hurricane Harvey and attack Republicans that they grilled Texas Senator Ted Cruz on his legitimate objections to pork barrel spending shoved into a relief bill for Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Cruz corrected their misleading descriptions of the five-year-old legislation and called out the attempt to engage in “political sniping.”

Appearing on CNN’s Wolf in the 1 p.m. ET hour, the Senator was pressed by fill-in host Jim Acosta:

I know during Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy, this became an issue, where there were some Republicans in Texas who were opposed to that funding, and now many of those members of Congress would like to see help come in as quickly as possible. I know at that time you were one of those Republicans who were opposed to that emergency funding. What is your sense of it now? Is your perspective different now, now that you’re seeing this happening in your home state?

 

 

Cruz immediately pushed back on the deceptive reporting: “Well, Jim, it’s not accurate that there were Republicans opposed to hurricane funding. Every Republican, including Texas Republicans, agreed that hurricane funding is an important and critical role for the federal government...” He further explained:

Now, there were a number of us who were concerned that that particular bill became a $50 billion bill that was filled with pork and unrelated spending that wasn’t hurricane relief. That was simply local members of Congress spending on their pet projects and two-thirds of what was spent in that bill had little or nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy....you should not have members of Congress that are exploiting disasters to fund their pet projects.

Apparently concerned that he hadn’t politicized the storm coverage enough, minutes later, Acosta could be heard in a hot mic moment asking a producer, “Can I ask about Arpaio or no?,” referring to President Trump’s recent pardon of the controversial Arizona sheriff. Evidently the producer advised Acosta not to raise the issue because it never came up in the remainder of the interview.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Over on MSNBC about half an hour later, host Katy Tur interrogated Cruz using the same liberal line of attack: “But a lot of people are pointing out that you voted against aid for Sandy after that catastrophic storm up in the northeast, that package back in 2012. And they’re pointing at you and saying you’re asking for money now when you weren’t willing to help the people in the northeast, what do you have to say to them?” Cruz replied: “Well, you know, look, there’s time for political sniping later. I think our focus needs to be on this crisis and this disaster – ”

Tur interrupted and proceeded to self-righteously lecture the Senator: “It’s not really political sniping, Senator, these are people who needed money and who needed funding right after that storm, I covered those people, many of them, just like those in Houston, lost absolutely everything they owned.”

Cruz corrected the record:

Well, Katy, of course that’s right, and the accurate thing to say is that I and a number of others enthusiastically and emphatically supported hurricane relief for Sandy. Hurricane and disaster relief has been a vital federal role for a long, long time and it should continue. The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy....it’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster and people are hurting to pay for their own political wish list...

A 2013 Heritage Foundation report detailed the tremendous amount of waste included in the Sandy relief bill.

Both anchors also questioned Cruz on the President’s upcoming trip to Texas on Tuesday. Acosta worried: “And we know that President Trump and the First Lady are coming down to Texas tomorrow....Is it a good idea, do you think, for the President and that entire entourage to be coming into the state of Texas right now?”

Tur fretted:

Senator, the President is talking about coming to Texas on Tuesday. Do you think it’s the right time to come considering the storm is still ongoing and could stretch into the weekend?...Do you think he’s going to be redirecting resources though that could – but could those resources be used in Houston right now and in other areas that are currently experiencing flooding?

The biased exchanges were brought to viewers by Verizon, Allstate, and American Express.

Here are excerpts of both August 28 interviews:

Wolf
1:45 PM ET

(...)

JIM ACOSTA: And we know that President Trump and the First Lady are coming down to Texas tomorrow.

SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: Right.

ACOSTA: That’s fairly early on after a major storm like this hitting part of the United States. Is it a good idea, do you think, for the President and that entire entourage to be coming into the state of Texas right now?

(...)

CRUZ: When I visited with the President, he raised a concern that he didn’t want to come so early that it would distract from relief efforts. I think that’s why he delayed the trip until tomorrow. And my understanding is that where he’s going to be traveling is gonna be away from where the direct life threatening challenges are right now. But I think he wants to be here and to lean in with federal resources. And here in Texas we’re grateful for the national outpouring of love and support that we’ve received the past several days.

ACOSTA: And Senator, I know because you’ve been in Washington for some time now, that these debates come up over relief for disaster areas and so forth. I’m just curious if your perspective changed at all when it comes to that need for quick disaster relief for a hard-hit area? I know during Hurricane Sandy, Superstorm Sandy, this became an issue, where there were some Republicans in Texas who were opposed to that funding, and now many of those members of Congress would like to see help come in as quickly as possible. I know at that time you were one of those Republicans who were opposed to that emergency funding. What is your sense of it now? Is your perspective different now, now that you’re seeing this happening in your home state?

CRUZ: Well, Jim, it’s not accurate that there were Republicans opposed to hurricane funding. Every Republican, including Texas Republicans, agreed that hurricane funding is an important and critical role for the federal government and that Hurricane Sandy, there were a great many people that were hurting from it. Now, there were a number of us who were concerned that that particular bill became a $50 billion bill that was filled with pork and unrelated spending that wasn’t hurricane relief. That was simply local members of Congress spending on their pet projects and two-thirds of what was spent in that bill had little or nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy.

So of course the federal government has a critical role in disaster relief. It has before and should continue to, but you should not have members of Congress that are exploiting disasters to fund their pet projects. And so there’ll be time for all of those debates in Washington. Right now, Jim, the immediate focus is on preserving life and saving lives.

(...)

ACOSTA [HOT MIC]: Can I ask about Arpaio or no?

(...)

 

MSNBC Live With Katy Tur
2:10 PM ET

(...)

KATY TUR: Senator, the President is talking about coming to Texas on Tuesday. Do you think it’s the right time to come considering the storm is still ongoing and could stretch into the weekend?

SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: Well, I understand why the President wants to come. When he and I spoke he expressed concerns about not wanting to come too soon and distract resources, distract assets that are needed in life saving. My understanding is tomorrow he’s planning to come to areas that are not – not facing immediate flooding but rather that were hit on the first end of storm. I think that probably makes some sense. But I know that’s a balance the White House is trying to follow.

TUR: Do you think he’s going to be redirecting resources though that could – but could those resources be used in Houston right now and in other areas that are currently experiencing flooding?

CRUZ: Well, I am confident the federal government is going to devote the resources needed, and that is what my office – my office is working hand in hand with local mayors, county judges, local officials, police officers, and connecting them with state resources and federal resources. I’m confident that coordination will continue.

TUR: Final question, Senator, I know you’re busy and I want to let you get back to doing everything you can out there. But a lot of people are pointing out that you voted against aid for Sandy after that catastrophic storm up in the northeast, that package back in 2012. And they’re pointing at you and saying you’re asking for money now when you weren’t willing to help the people in the northeast, what do you have to say to them?

CRUZ: Well, you know, look, there’s time for political sniping later. I think our focus needs to be on this crisis and this disaster –

TUR: It’s not really political sniping, Senator, these are people who needed money and who needed funding right after that storm, I covered those people, many of them, just like those in Houston, lost absolutely everything they owned.

CRUZ: Well, Katy, of course that’s right, and the accurate thing to say is that I and a number of others enthusiastically and emphatically supported hurricane relief for Sandy. Hurricane and disaster relief has been a vital federal role for a long, long time and it should continue. The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy. And what I said then and still believe now is that it’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster and people are hurting to pay for their own political wish list. Disaster relief needs to be focused on the victims of disaster relief, and I supported that for Sandy, disaster relief there, and I would support that anywhere there’s a major disaster without getting distracted by political unnecessary pork spending.

(...)

NB Daily Budget Earmarks Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Hurricane Sandy Conservatives & Republicans CNN MSNBC Video Jim Acosta Katy Tur Donald Trump

Sponsored Links