In the wake of a surprising Senate floor speech Friday in which he accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) — and fellow party member — of lying, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz only has been dialing things up.
During an rare interview with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh later that day, Cruz explained why he tore into McConnell in front of TV cameras and fellow lawmakers — and discussed his aim to stir up a "grassroots tsunami" that he hopes will level Washington's establishment politics.
"Today the Senate took up the Export-Import Bank, a classic example of cronyism and corporate welfare," Cruz told Limbaugh. "The leader of Senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell, went to the floor and demonstrated that he had lied both to the American people and also to every Republican senator, including me. Back when we were having the fight over trade promotion authority, I asked Mitch McConnell directly if he had cut a deal to reauthorize this cronyism and corporate welfare in order to try to get the votes, and he looked at me, he looked at all 54 Republican senators, and he said flat-out, 'There is no deal. There is no deal. There is no deal.'"
Which is what led to his stirring speech on the Senate floor — but the 2016 presidential candidate said he's not stopping there.
Cruz explained that the "Washington cartel," which he said is behind such deals that ultimately benefit "a handful of giant corporations" and drain taxpayers' pockets, is an ugly outgrowth of establishment politics on both sides of the aisle.
"It's career politicians in both parties who get in bed with lobbyists and special interests," Cruz said. "It's why we're bankrupting our kids and grandkids."
The senator noted as much in an email blast to supporters Saturday, saying that "today we have government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists."
Cruz told Limbaugh there's mounting frustration among voters — particularly those who put their trust in GOP office holders — because the Republican majority is looking nothing like one.
"We see so many campaign conservatives that pretend to be conservative on the campaign trail but they don't govern according to what they promised us on the campaign trail," he added.
Cruz then noted what he believes it will take to do away with the Washington cartel, pointing to an iconic American president.
"In 1980 the Reagan revolution came from the American people," Cruz told Limbaugh. "Remember, Reagan, a lot of people forget, he took on the Washington cartel. He primaried Gerald Ford. You want to tick off Republican leadership, come within an inch of defeating the incumbent Republican president. The Reagan revolution came from the grassroots."
Cruz noted that "the only way we can break this, the only way we can get leaders to actually stand for conservative principles, is if there's a grassroots tsunami."
Here's audio of Cruz's interview with Limbaugh:
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