It’s a day that ends in “y,” so that means Ted Cruz has found a new way to debase and humiliate himself. He’s like a deep sea diver looking for the bottom of the sea of humiliation and folks, I’m not sure he’s ever going to find that bottom. He just keeps sinking and sinking and sinking.
Let’s take a look back at some of the more humiliating events we’ve witnessed in the career of Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz and then take the highly scientific poll: Which of these is Cruz’s most cringeworthy moment?
“Here’s the thing you have to understand about Ted Cruz. I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.” — Al Franken, in Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.
Let’s get started with the most recent entrant: Cruz’s appearance on Tucker Carlson’s White Power Hour last Thursday night. In case you missed it, Cruz asked to appear on the show to clear up his previous comments in which he called the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol a “terrorist attack,” something Carlson took great offense to and slammed Cruz for on his Wednesday night show. Please watch and tell me if you have ever heard a more slimy answer in your life. It’s incredible that Cruz sat there smiling and groveling after Carlson called him a liar on national television.
Ouch! Thank you, sir! May I have another? That was remarkably uncomfortable. Imagine having to grovel to Carlson and then being so very, very bad at it.
Let’s go further back in Cruz’s career and reflect on some other utterly cringeworthy moments. It is truly going to be hard to pick a “winner” from these options. In no particular order, here they are:
That time he went off on “the libz” from the state of Washington for banning dancing during COVID-19—except in this case, “WA” stood for Western Australia. Wrong country, pal! After quick viral mocking, Cruz deleted this tweet, but not before half the Internet took a screenshot.
Ope! “WA” is Western Australia, pal.
Next up, we have an incident that was about as big of a Texas-sized fuck up as I have ever seen. In February 2021, a cold front descended on the lower Midwest and into Texas, causing one of the biggest crises in the history of Texas. An estimated 210 Texans died, and the entire state was frozen solid and suffering. So what did Cruz do? He slunk off to the Ritz Carlton resort in Cancun, Mexico. Worse than that, after he was flat-out busted on social media, he had the audacity to blame his daughters. And if it couldn’t get any worse, it was revealed he left the family dog, Snowflake, home alone.
How in the hell did he survive that without resigning? It’s going to be hard to beat that, but we press on.
Let us now recall the time he was falling behind in the 2016 Republican primaries to a two-bit wannabe mobster and television personality and became so desperate that he announced Carly Fiorina as his running mate for a primary he would never come close to winning. Worse, his own pick seemed to hate his guts. Later she revealed that yes, she really does.
“I have to say I’m very disappointed in Ted. I’ve been very disappointed in Ted for some time now,” she responded. “I tried to help Ted’s candidacy because I thought it would be tragic and terrible if Donald Trump were the Republican party’s nominee. Turns out I was right about Donald Trump. And sadly, it appears, I was wrong about Ted Cruz.”
Nonetheless, we were treated to perhaps the single most awkward hand-hold of all time. A very “ I’m in charge—no, I’m in charge!” vibe.
If you didn’t think that campaign appearance could get anymore cringeworthy, think again. He went on to accidentally hit his wife in the face, not once, but twice in the most awkward family hugs we’ve ever witnessed.
That naturally leads us into another sweet family moment.
Can’t you just feel the love?
Since we are in the 2016 timeline, let’s revisit more of his presidential desperation. I need you to brace yourselves for this one, okay? Know that up front, because I’m about to revisit the booger incident.
Sure it is possible that was something other than a booger, but goodness, I’m gagging at the mere memory of this cringeworthy moment. I’m sorry I had to do that to you, really.
Next up we have the time Cruz’s official Twitter account quite noticeably liked a porn video on Twitter.
While that is hilarious all by itself, let us now listen to Cruz explain that it was merely a mistake by a low-level staffer. Because, you know, unnamed, low-level staffers all have the keys to the social media accounts of powerful U.S. senators.
Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted. Yes, I bet he did identify this staffer. Mmhhmm. His name probably rhymes with Red Ooze.
How about that time Cruz sought and received an endorsement from a congressman who was so shamelessly racist that even his fellow Republicans stripped of him of his committee assignments and eventually ran him out of Congress?
Ted was “beyond honored” to receive that endorsement. Do you know how racist you have to be for Republicans to act? And I guess he thought he could make that vanish, but my colleague Gabe Ortíz didn’t forget.
How about the 2013 Senate debate about the Affordable Care Act, when Cruz filibustered with the cutesy act of reading Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham?
Gosh, isn’t he clever? Eight years later, he would sell autographed copies of the Dr. Seuss classic to “own the libz” again and rail against “cancel culture,” all because the Dr. Seuss Foundation announced they would no longer publish six books that contain racist imagery. And nothing sets Cruz off more than refusing to publish children’s books with harmful, racist imagery.
And last, but not least, there was this 2016 moment: a broken Cruz phone-banking for Donald Trump, even after Donald Trump publicly called Cruz’s wife ugly and hinted in a Republican primary debate that Cruz’s father, an immigrant from Cuba, had a hand in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Before we get to the poll, I’d like to mention that it was difficult to pare this list down because there are a remarkable number of Ted Cruz moments. I asked my colleagues to refresh my memory on some of these cringeworthy memories and we came up with a list of terrible, no good, purely awful Cruz moments. Barb Morrill reminds us of something we cannot overlook: Cruz has long faced accusations that he could be the Zodiac Killer. There were many other moments that didn’t make the poll, but do deserve an honorable mention. They include:
- Anti-vaccination Ted takes on Big Bird.
- Ted Cruz defending Nazi salutes at a school board meeting.
- Ted Cruz getting his ass handed to him after coming for Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
- Ted Cruz makes the mistake of asking a law expert which voter ID laws are racist on live TV.
- Ted Cruz publicly making a crass joke about Joe Biden just days after Joe’s son, Beau Biden, died of brain cancer. (My colleague, David Nir, had to dig into to the Wayback Machine to find this now-scrubbed video of him walking off when being asked about it.)
- In 2015, Cruz called the Supreme Court’s decision to allow gay marriage “tyranny” and in 2016 he vowed to protect the right of bigots to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.
- Railing against “blue check mark Libs” about immigration and open borders while pretending his own father wasn't an asylum-seeker from Cuba.
- Ted Cruz tried to blame undocumented immigrants for COVID-19 cases. Guess what happened next?
- Ted Cruz, born in Canada and brought to the U.S. as a child, rejects citizenship for Dreamers.
- That time he thought he was “owning” Beto O’Rourke on climate change and again dipped into the sea of humiliation.
That is a lot to take in, right? Please feel free to add your own recollections in the comments below.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos