Addressing the annual CPAC conference of American conservatives, Texas Senator Ted Cruz mocked a former Republican speaker for reportedly telling him to “go f*** himself” during an audiobook recording.
During a high-energy roving-microphone speech in which he repeatedly referenced the Star Wars movies and implored Americans to “have fun” rather than fall prey to “cancel culture”, Mr Cruz complained that many in the right-wing establishment “act like they’ve got a stick inserted somewhere it doesn’t belong.
He then referred to Mr Boehner’s reported comments. “He suggested that I do something that was anatomically impossible,” Mr Cruz said. “To which my response was: Who’s John Boehner?”
Mr Boehner retired as speaker and left Congress during the Obama administration, abruptly stepping down in 2015 in favour of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who had been Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. He has been recording an audiobook version of his memoir,On The House, and recently tweeted a picture from the recording sessions which showed him sat before a microphone with a glass of red wine. “You can blame the wine for the expletives,” he wrote.
Mr Cruz, who is famously unpopular among his Congressional colleagues, appeared uncharacteristically energised during his CPAC speech, which he made just a week after he was exposed travelling to Cancun while his state faced a catastrophic energy crisis as a result of a winter storm.
While he briefly joked about that incident, the body of his speech was spent ridiculing left-wing self-righteousness and rigidity and boasting that the Republicans are far from vanquished despite losing control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.
He also went on a lengthy tangent mocking social distancing restrictions in public spaces, especially in restaurants, not long after the CPAC audience had been admonished to put their own masks on in compliance with the rules of the venue. Despite being told that as conservatives they should respect the wishes of a private business, many of the crowd booed. Mr Cruz, for his part, dismissed mask-wearing rules as “virtue signalling”.
He also mocked the enhanced security measures now in place at the US Capitol after the 6 January riot, claiming they are in place in service of the Democrats’ ulterior motives.
“The Democrats are convinced that political theatre helps them. Let’s be clear: this is not about security at this point, this is about political theatre. Half the country, the deplorables, are dangerous, and they’re gonna turn the Capitol into a military outpost in Baghdad just to have their compliant media echo that message.”
In fact, thehead of the US Capitol Police told a House subcommittee hearing yesterday that the measures will need to stay in place because of warnings that militia groups want to “blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible”.