Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) walked back his use of the word “terrorist” to describe the attack on the Capitol on January 6, during an intense back and forth with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who repeatedly questioned the honesty of the Republican senator’s explanation over the remarks.
Cruz was slammed on Carlson’s Wednesday night show for referring to the attack on the Capitol on January 6 as “a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol.” Carlson inquired as to why Cruz used the term “terrorist,” and Cruz dismissed his prior use of the term as “sloppy” and “frankly dumb.”
Carlson did not accept that response, stating that the incident was not a terrorist act, and questioned Cruz’s intentions.
Carlson said, “You told that lie on purpose, and I’m wondering why you did.”
Cruz, a possible presidential contender in 2024 who has said that he is well-positioned for the Republican presidential nomination following his second-place performance behind Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, continued to defend himself.
Cruz explained, “What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers. I think you and I both agree that if you assault a police officer, you should go to jail. I wasn’t saying the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn’t saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting Trump are terrorists.”
In response, Carlson fiercely responded, “what you just said doesn’t make sense.” The segment’s title was “TUCKER TAKES ON SENATOR TED CRUZ”, which led to some speculation that Carlson is gearing up for a 2024 presidential run.
Even though Carlson has brought Cruz’s statements to attention twice this week, the senator’s usage of the phrase is not new. The senator from Texas issued a statement after Congress reconvened to certify the election on Jan. 6, 2021, in which he described the day as a “despicable act of terrorism.”
Cruz went on to remind Carlson that he was one of the Republican senators who objected to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Cruz added, “So of course, it would be ridiculous for me to be saying that the people standing up and protesting to follow the law were somehow terrorists. I was talking about people who commit violence against cops. So of course, it would be ridiculous for me to be saying that the people standing up and protesting to follow the law were somehow terrorists. I was talking about people who commit violence against cops.”
He continued, “That being said, Tucker, I agree with you. It was a mistake to say that yesterday and the reason is what you just said, which is we have now had a year of Democrats and the media twisting words and trying to say that all of us are terrorists. Trying to say you are a terrorist, I am a terrorist.”
Cruz and Carlson went back and forth for nearly ten minutes. Carlson, seeming exhausted with Cruz’s explanation, at one point said, “I guess I just don’t believe you. And I mean that with respect.”
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