Ted Cruz jokes about his Cancun trip in CPAC speech dubbed ‘unhinged’ by critics

Graig Graziosi
·3-min read
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 26, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY (REUTERS)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 26, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY (REUTERS)

Senator Ted Cruz's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference was widely mocked, as critics called the wide ranging talk "embarrassing."

Mr Cruz worked his way through numerous topics, including a joke about his trip to Cancun while the millions of people in his home state of Texas faced massive power outages during single degree temperatures, his complaints about the media setting up a "new galactic empire" and complaints about mask usage during the pandemic a week after the US death count topped 500,000.

Critics viewed the speech as Mr Cruz's attempt to save face after his was widely criticised for leaving Texas during a state-wide power catastrophe, and viewed his rhetoric as his attempt to frame himself as a bomb-thrower in the same vein as Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene and Donald Trump Jr.

"Ted Cruz is embarrassing himself only to finish the 2024 GOP primary behind Marjorie Taylor Greene," one Twitter user commented.

The senator began his speech by referencing the Texas controversy, saying "Orlando is awesome. It's not as nice as Cancun, but it's nice."

Read more: Follow live updates from CPAC

While speaking about Texas, Mr Cruz made a joke about people shooting protesters, his comments coming in the wake of a year of unrest stirred by continued police violence against Black Americans.

"In Houston where I live, I have to tell you, there weren't any rioters because let's be very clear, if there had been, they would discover what the state of Texas thinks about the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms," Mr Cruz said.

He also went on to call mask-wearing during the pandemic that has already killed 500,000 Americans, "virtue signalling."

"We're gonna wear masks for the next 300 years," Mr Cruz said. "And by the way, not just one mask — two, three, four — you can't have too many masks! How much virtue do you wanna signal?"

Scott Dworkin, executive director of The Democrat Coalition, said Mr Cruz sounded like he was deranged.

“Ted Cruz just was screaming like an unhinged lunatic at CPAC. So, normal,” he wrote.

Mr Cruz complained about the media, and "cancel culture," and accused Democrats of trying to convert 19-year-old skaters in Los Angeles into "socialists."

The senator also voiced his support for Donald Trump, saying "Donald J Trump ain’t going anywhere" and that Democrats were afraid he was not going to disappear.

"And they look at Donald J Trump and they look at the millions and millions of people inspired who went to battle fighting alongside President Trump, and they're terrified and they want him to go away," he said.

Mr Cruz also minimised Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's experience during the Capitol insurrection, calling it "political theatre." Ms Ocasio-Cortez raised nearly $5m to help Texas relief efforts in the wake of the storm that Mr Cruz fled.

He then said the media was desperate to conjure up a civil war in the Republican party.

Mr Cruz's comments come days after Rep Liz Cheney and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, both Republicans, publicly disagreed on whether or not it was appropriate for Mr Trump to speak at CPAC.

Ms Cheney said that she did not think Mr Trump should speak or have any influence on the Republican party or the nation going forward. She was one of 10 Republicans in the House to vote to impeach Mr Trump.

Later, Ms Greene gave a press conference where she called Ms Cheney a "fool" and said any Republican who spoke out against Mr Trump was similarly foolish.

Mr Cruz closed his talk by quoting a movie, which he does often, yelling "Freedom" in an invocation of William Wallace from the movie Braveheart.

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