Just a day after announcing his endorsement of Donald Trump, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz sat down with CEO Evan Smith to address questions and explain himself in a highly-anticipated one-on-one session.
Story by Zoya Zia
Photos courtesy of The Texas Tribune
Sen. Cruz outlined the two reasons why he decided to back Trump. First, he says he promised to vote for the Republican nominee no matter what. Second, he does not believe Hillary Clinton is fit to be president.
Sen. Cruz was concerned with defending freedom and the constitution, especially with regards to the Supreme Court. He argued that Clinton would appoint left-wing justices. Trump expanded a list of potential justices that satisfied Sen. Cruz.
Smith brought up another important list as he cracked down on the recent endorsement. He listed the names Sen. Cruz has called Trump and even mentioned the derogatory comments Trump made towards Sen. Cruz’s wife and father. Sen. Cruz said he made the decision to forgive Trump because “at the end of the day, it’s about the country.”
The audience engaged in the conversation by yelling out comments and applauding or booing. Sen. Cruz says he reads every bad thing said about him online. When he called himself a simple guy, Hogg Memorial Auditorium roared in laughter.
Some moments of the session were more comical than others. As the topics shifted from the election to the police shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, a different tone emerged.
Sen. Cruz voiced that anytime an American is killed, the situation is tragic. He then argued that police officers are afraid of completing their job because the media vilifies them. He dodged the issue of racial profiling and police brutality by saying that he thinks “members of the African-American community perceive” that they are being targeted.
Sen. Cruz switched gears and talked about “radical Islam.” He criticized President Obama’s “willful blindness” to terrorist threats at home and abroad. Although Sen. Cruz admitted the situation in Syria is a humanitarian crisis, he supported a measure that would limit the number Syrian refugees in America.
ORANGE managing editor Zoya Zia asked Sen. Cruz if Muslims and other minorities could feel comfortable in a Trump presidency, considering the recent comments both him and Trump have made. This was the first audience question in the session. The audience cheered and applauded after the question was posed.
Sen. Cruz responded by saying “that is a question you’re going to have to ask yourself.” The audience booed and Smith pitched in by pointing out that the question was directed towards him.
According to Sen. Cruz, every voter has to ask their conscience which candidate will keep the country safe. Although he has had disagreements with Trump in the past, he will still vote for him.
Rather than answering the question, Sen. Cruz reframed it as one about “radical Islam.” He noted that Muslims are among the victims of ISIS before moving on to praise Egyptian President el-Sisi.
Sen. Cruz concluded his response hoping that the next president “will work with leaders across the world to protect all Americans of every faith and to stop jihadism.” Smith asked if he had full confidence that Trump is that president, but the senator did not provide a definite answer.
Watch the video of ORANGE's Zoya Zia asking Sen. cruz the question below.