WASHINGTON — Heckled on live TV, Sen. Ted Cruz sparred Monday with the hosts of ABC’s The viewwho accused him of undermining democracy by trying to keep Donald Trump in power when he lost the 2020 election.
At one point, a ticketed climate protester yelled the F-bomb at Cruz, though viewers didn’t hear it because the network cut the sound.
“I’ve been very vocal and very critical of you. I’m sorry that this has happened in our house,” co-host Ana Navarro Cruz said after an abrupt commercial break, though she and other co-hosts quickly resumed a pile-on, questioning his character and judgment for allying with Trump and trying to overturn the election.
“We don’t like it when Republicans win, but … we’re not storming [the Capitol]. We’re not trying to change” the outcome of an election, co-host Whoopi Goldberg told him in a testy exchange.
Cruz compared “antifa” protests over police brutality to the attack on Congress on January 6, 2021, when a mob encouraged by Trump interrupted the election certification. Cruz led a group of senators who challenged the state-certified results from Pennsylvania and Arizona that day.
When Cruz recalled Hillary Clinton questioning the 2000 election because the Supreme Court had stepped in, Navarro countered by recalling how Clinton handled her own defeat in 2016: “She called Donald Trump the next morning and she conceded the election, Ted .”
Cruz’s appearance was part of a tour to promote his latest book, Justice Is Corrupt: How the Left Weaponized Our Justice System which will be published on Tuesday.
Goldberg held up a copy and announced that everyone in the studio would be getting one.
The co-hosts gave Cruz leeway to offer talking points.
He predicted a GOP “tidal wave” in the upcoming midterm elections. He condemned President Joe Biden’s handling of border security and the economy. He called the Jan. 6 House committee a “kangaroo circus” and called it ridiculous for anyone to think Trump will agree to testify.
And he made the most of his appearance by touting it on social media before and after it aired, using it to promote his book.
The co-hosts, however, were eager to engage in a harsher conversation.
“I would say your responsibility was to a constitutional democracy, not to Donald Trump,” Navarro said at one point, after playing a clip from 2016 when Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar” for linking his dad with the JFK assassination.
“It’s a very different Ted Cruz that we’re seeing,” Navarro said. “Did you lie then or are you lying now?”
Cruz gave much the same explanation he had during his 2018 Senate campaign.
“We had a primary election and Donald Trump and I beat the living crap out of each other. … Why did I choose to work with him even though I was angry about what he said? Because I had a job to do and I had a responsibility” to 30 million Texans, he said.
Telling moment from #The view:@tedcruz: “Hillary Clinton who stood up and said Trump stole the election. Or Stacey Abrams who said the election was stolen. They sat here and said it was illegitimate-“
Whoopi: “And that was it.”
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) 24 October 2022
Co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin, who resigned from Trump’s White House staff and has since become a critic, recalled rallying support for Cruz over Trump when she worked for conservative members of the House in 2016.
But she said, “Jan. 6 is something I’m having a really hard time getting over. … How can you be okay with these undemocratic actions and trying to disenfranchise 80 million voters? And do you think Biden legitimately won the election?”
Cruz encouraged viewers to read his book for his views on January 6. As to who really won, he said only that “Biden is president today.”
Hours later on Fox News, he called the show “a bit of a circus” but said conservatives shouldn’t “just preach to the choir. A lot of the viewers of The View have only seen one partisan story all along.”
The show was broadcast live from ABC’s New York studios.
In town a day early, the Senator headed to Yankee Stadium to watch his hometown Houston Astros clinch a World Series berth, standing out behind home plate in Astros colors. Viral tweets showed Yankees fans flipping him the bird and yelling profanities, calling him a “racist piece of s—” and urging him to “go back to Cancun!” a reference to his brief escape when a winter storm knocked out power to millions of Texans last year.
“It’s fine,” Cruz said as he settled down to continue grilling The view. “I was pretty happy with how the game ended.”
Moments later, Heckling started shouting about climate change. Cruz looked up and kept talking as the yelling continued.
Goldberg finally broke in to silence the naysayers: “Let’s do our job. We hear you.”
“I couldn’t even hear what they were protesting,” Cruz said.
“They accused us of not covering climate change,” Sunny Hostin said.
In September 2020, Cruz appeared on The view to promote a previous book, One vote away, about high-stakes Supreme Court confirmation battles. He also blasted Democrats’ approach to the COVID-19 epidemic.