The hosts of CBS This Morning on Wednesday berated Ted Cruz for his terrorism policies, suggesting he’s “playing into the hands of ISIS” with “anti-Muslim” policies. Norah O’Donnell accused the candidate of making “political points” and demanded to know how many Muslims there are in America. Gayle King lectured, “There are so many people that say that your comments are decidedly anti-Muslim.”
Preemptively blaming the Republican for future terror attacks, she suggested Cruz is “playing right into the hands of ISIS, that you're giving them ammunition to come after us, to really take action against us, that you're just teeing it up for people to come after us.”
Earlier in the almost eight minute segment, Norah O’Donnell played gotcha. Regarding Cruz’s comment that “we need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” the co-host demanded:
NORAH O’DONNELL: Let me ask you, how many Muslims are in America?
CRUZ: I don't know the number off the top of my head.
O'DONNELL: So, you're saying that law enforcement should surveil Muslims and you don't even know how many Muslims there are in America? There are three million Muslims in America. Law enforcement is overwhelmed.”
Cruz retorted, “So, you’re saying that we can’t defeat radical Islamic terror?” Can one imagine CBS journalists telling Hillary Clinton that the Benghazi attack only emboldens terrorists? Or offering a question similar to the one O’Donnell sprung?
O’Donnell seemed to be the most irritated. After Cruz pointed out that under Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD had a program that worked with the Muslim community to stop radicalization, the co-host sputtered, “Senator, you know that surveillance program was in effect in New York. It has been disbanded as you mentioned. You also know it didn’t lead to any leads any intelligence tips. They said it didn’t work. It didn’t work.”
On March 15, CBS This Morning co-hosts brought on ten-year-old children to discuss “super nice” Muslims.
A transcript of the full segment is below:
7:40:24 to 7:48:12
7 minutes and 48 seconds
CHARLIE ROSE: Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz this morning picked up an important endorsement. It came from his former rival Jeb Bush. He is also celebrating a win in yesterday's Utah caucus, but the candidate is facing a backlash this morning over the proposal to target Muslims Americans after the Brussels attack. He said, quote, “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhood before they become radicalized.” Senator Cruz joins us now in Studio 57. Senator, welcome back.
TED CRUZ: Good morning, Charlie. Good to be with you.
ROSE: We want to talk about Muslim neighborhoods and what you mean. But first, here is what police commissioner of New York Bill Bratton said this morning on this program. Here he is.
BILL BRATTON: He doesn't know the hell what is he talking about, to be quite frank with you. I took great offense at that statement. I have almost a thousand Muslim officers in the NYPD. Ironically, when he is running around here we probably have a few Muslim officers guiding him.
ROSE: So, what do you say to that?
CRUZ: Well, listen. It's not surprising that the Democratic political henchmen of Mayor de Blasio are coming after me and under the instructions of mayor de Blasio.
ROSE: It couldn’t be because he simply thinks patrolling Muslim neighborhoods is a bad thing to do in the interest of New York?
CRUZ: Boy, you know, it would be striking if his position we shouldn't patrol Muslim neighborhood and patrol every neighborhood. Listen. Yesterday, we saw a horrific terror attack in Brussels. And our prayers this morning are with the families of those murdered, of those wounded. But what is important is that was not a lone wolf. It wasn't an isolated attack. It was radical Islamic terrorism. It was ISIS has declared jihad and is waging war on us. And resident Obama and Hillary Clinton and sadly, mayor de Blasio, the elected Democrats are so bound up by political correctness they refuse to utter the words radical Islamic terror terrorism and they refuse to be serious to defeat it.
ROSE: But the point is, you're suggesting that they could focus on Muslim neighborhoods more than any other neighborhood.
CRUZ: Look. New York City, under Mayor Bloomberg, had a program that focused on worked proactively with the Muslim community to stop radicalization, to prevent attacks from radical Islamic terrorism before they occur. Now what happened, Mayor de Blasio came in and decided political correctness mattered more than keeping people safe. He disbanded the program. If you're concerned with gang violence, gang violence is a real problem in a lot of places across the country. What does law enforcement do with proactiving policing? You go into the neighborhood where gang violence is a problem and you work proactively to get the gang members off the street. And by the way, the people you are protecting are the residents of those communities who are typically the victims. With gang violence, it is often African-Americans and Hispanics and low-income Americans often the victims of those violence. By having a serious police presence there, you're protecting those communities. The same is true in the Muslim community where radical islamic terrorism don't murder just Christians and Jews, murder other Muslims as well. And we need to fight and defeat radical Islamic terrorism.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Senator, you know that surveillance program was in effect in New York. It has been disbanded as you mentioned. You also know it didn’t lead to any leads any intelligence tips. They said it didn’t work. It didn’t work.
CRUZ: It is true that the de Blasio political henchmen say that. It is also true that the NYPD said it provided valuable intelligence. And I’ll tell you, as I travel the city of New York and as I travel the country, police officers, over and over again, stop me and they say, “Thank you for standing up and having my back.” You know, there was a moment here in New York —
O’DONNELL: This raises a lot of civil liberty concerns. Let me ask you, how many Muslims are in America?
CRUZ: I don't know the number off the top of my head.
O’DONNELL: So, you’re saying that law enforcement should surveil Muslims and you don’t even know how many Muslims there are in America? There are three million Muslims in America. Law enforcement is overwhelmed.
CRUZ: So, you’re saying we can’t defeat radical Islamic terror?
O’DONNELL: We have a chief of police, one of the most well-respected chiefs of police, who was here earlier who said there are no Muslim neighborhoods. It’s not like Europe. It doesn't exist that way. It's impractical what you're suggesting. Also, it doesn’t suggest it would lead to anything. It’s more of a political point that you’re making.
CRUZ: Norah, actually you brought up Europe and it's a good example. If you look at the attack in Brussels, it's a direct result of the failed immigration policies in Europe that have allowed vast numbers of radical Islamic terrorists to come to Europe and they have been ghetto-ized in neighborhoods that have become isolated, that have become separate and they become incubators for radical Islamic terrorism.
O’DONNELL: I don’t disagree. That is not a similar problem that we have in the United States.
CRUZ: Of course, it is. There are communities in America —
O’DONNELL: Name one community and one city where we have a large group of radicalized Muslims.
CRUZ: You have communities — you have communities, for example, in Minnesota. You have communities in Michigan with heavy concentration and you have incidents of radical imams preaching Jihadism, preaching Islamism.
GAYLE KING: How about this point of view: There are so many people that say that your comments are decidedly anti-Muslim and that you're playing right into the hands of ISIS, that you're giving them ammunition to come after us, to really take action against us, that you're just teeing it up for people to come after us.
CRUZ: Gayle, with all respect, people are fed up with the political correctness of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, where following the Paris attacks, following San Bernardino and, no doubt, following Brussels, President Obama goes on TV. He will not say radical Islamic terrorism. Instead, he lectures Americans on Islamophobism. Islamism is a political and theocratic philosophy that commands its adherence to wage violent jihad to murder infidels, which they define as everyone else.
KING: But you're painting one community with one brush. That’s the problem.
CRUZ: No, I'm not. There is a difference between Islam and Islamism. Islamism commands that you either murder the infidels or you forcibly convert them. You wage jihad. And here is the consequence of President Obama and Hillary Clinton and Bill de Blasio refusing to acknowledge what we are fighting. You end up with policies that don’t keep us safe. So, for example, President Obama and Hillary Clinton both still support bringing tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refuges to America. That is despite the fact that ISIS has said they intend to infiltrate those refugees with jihadists that are here to murder us. And despite the fact that the head of the FBI, James Comey, who was appointed by Barack Obama, said they cannot vet those refuges to make sure they are not ISIS terrorists. The first obligation of the President as commander in chief should be to keep America safe. And I tell you this, I will apologize to nobody for how vigorous I will be as a president fighting radical Islamic terrorism, defeating ISIS and keeping America safe.
ROSE: On the question of your chances to become president, you got an endorsement from Jeb Bush.
ROSE: Does that give you a pathway, you think? And what is that pathway to get the nomination?
CRUZ: Well, I'm very grateful to have the support of Governor Jeb Bush and it's really — it's an indication of what we are seeing nationally. We are seeing Republicans uniting behind our campaign. You know, last night we had a tremendous victory in the state of Utah. We were very much hoping to break 50 percent and give us all of the delegates. Not only did we break 50 percent, we ended up with a landslide of nearly 69 percent, nearly 70 percent. And what we are seeing is we are seeing Republicans uniting behind our campaign, because we are the only campaign — Utah is now the tenth state where we have beaten Donald Trump. You know, Charlie, it's interesting. In the last ten days, we have been endorsed by Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Mike Lee and Mark Levin. Now, you want to talk about a broad spectrum of the Republican Party. That is the entire ideological spectrum. And what we’re seeing is Republicans are uniting behind the campaign that has beaten Trump over and over again and that can and will beat Donald Trump.
O’DONNELL: Senator —
ROSE: We have about eight seconds. Only to say thank you.
O’DONNELL: Yes, thank you Senator Cruz for being here.