(CNN)Ted Cruz said something truly remarkable — like, truly — in an interview with a Houston TV station on Thursday.
“The President’s language and rhetoric often goes too far,” the Texas senator said straight-facedly. “I think, yesterday in particular, the President’s language and rhetoric crossed the line and it was reckless. I disagree with it, and I have disagreed with the President’s language and rhetoric for the last four years.”Yup! You read that right. The Texas Republican senator, who not only has stood by Trump through thick and thin over the past few years but also was one of a handful of senators who voted to object to the Electoral College results following a riot at the US Capitol on Wednesday, actually uttered these words, “I disagree with it, and I have disagreed with the President’s language and rhetoric for the last four years.”It would be sort of funny — in a get-a-load-of-this-guy way — if it wasn’t so incredibly disingenuous.Cruz has spent the last four years sucking up to Trump in any way he can think of. Read MoreCruz volunteered to be the lead lawyer in the ridiculousness attempt by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to throw out votes in other states if the case was heard by the Supreme Court. (The court rejected the case out-of-hand.)Cruz ran point on the Senate impeachment trial to ensure Trump was acquitted. As The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis wrote in January 2020 of the Texas Republican:”Working inside the Senate and out, Cruz played a unique role in securing President Trump’s swift acquittal at the third-ever presidential impeachment trial — simultaneously serving as legal strategist, jury consultant, messaging guru, broadcast surrogate and, unexpectedly, a breakout podcasting star.””God bless Texas, and God bless President Donald Trump,” Cruz said at a massive October 2018 rally attended by Trump, who was lending a hand to the Texas senator in his surprisingly competitive race against former Rep. Beto O’Rourke. (Cruz won.)
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All of that would be enough — actually more than enough — to make clear just how much Cruz is seeking to re-write history with his assertion Thursday that he has “disagreed with the President’s language and rhetoric for the last four years.” But the depth of Cruz’s flip-floppery can only be truly understood when you consider what happened between the two men during the 2016 primary campaign.Over the course of that contest, Trump:* Said that Cruz stole the Iowa caucuses* Suggested that Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy* Insinuated that Cruz’s wife, Heidi, was unattractive* Bestowed the nickname “Lyin’ Ted” on CruzAnd, in turn, Cruz:* Called Trump a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral, “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen” and “a serial philanderer.”* Suggested that Trump may have ties to the Mafia* Said that “if I were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw Donald in the backup camera, I’m not confident which pedal I’d push.”* Told Trump to “leave Heidi the hell alone.”* Pointedly refused to endorse Trump in a primetime speech at the 2016 Republican National ConventionSo, yeah, there’s a lot of water under the bridge there.What explains Cruz’s all-over-the-place response to Trump over these past five years? I know this will stun you, but the answer is politics. Cruz decided he needed to make nice with Trump because Cruz wanted (and wants) to run for national office again and he knew he would have no chance at winning if he stayed in the “mortal enemy” category of the sitting President. And so he did everything he could to fix his relationship with Trump. But now, with the violent insurrection and occupation of the Capitol having tarred Trump’s legacy forever, Cruz is trying to get away from the soon-to-be-former president as quickly as possible.The problem? Well, the last five years, mostly. Cruz can’t rewrite that history no matter how hard he tries.