At the moment rioters were storming into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, the Senate was hearing objection to election results. The effort was led by Texas’ junior senator, Ted Cruz, along with some of his Republican colleagues. The group planned to hold up the typically pro forma process of certifying the election of Joe Biden by asking for an emergency audit of the results, based on uncorroborated reports of election fraud.
Though the motion was bound to fail, as it did when the Senate reconvened after protesters were cleared, Cruz’s critics say his objection was more than just a harmless piece of political theater.
Ben Wermund is a Washington correspondent for the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. He told Texas Standard that fellow Republicans have criticized Cruz since the storming of the Capitol Wednesday, as have some conservative commentators. Democrats, including former rival Beto O’Rourke and San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro, have gone further, calling on Cruz to resign his Senate seat. Cruz tweeted Thursday that he wasn’t going anywhere.
1/2 @AOC You are a liar.
Leading a debate in the Senate on ensuring election integrity is doing our jobs, and it’s in no way responsible for the despicable terrorists who attacked the Capitol yesterday.
And sorry, I ain’t going anywhere. When you and your socialist buddies… https://t.co/UoKBOC8ZU7
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 7, 2021
Among the criticisms leveled at Cruz was that he was sending out fundraising appeals on the day of the attack on the Capitol.
“I think a lot of people already viewed his objection as politically motivated, as an attempt to court Trump supporters,” Wermund said.
Cruz said the text messages his campaign sent Wednesday were automated and preplanned to coincide with his objections to the certification of election results. He said he ordered that the messages be stopped once the Capitol attack began.
Wermund says it remains to be seen whether Cruz’s fellow Republicans move away from supporting President Trump, and whether Cruz’s supporters will hold him responsible for inciting Wednesday’s violence.
“The fact that the level of outrage over this has lasted for the last couple days is significant,” Wermund said. “There has been reporting that some business leaders are considering cutting off financial support for the Republicans – including Ted Cruz – who objected to the results.”