Sen. Ted Cruz joined Chris Cuomo’s CNN program Wednesday night in the hopes of discussing his new book and the battle over the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court vacancy. What the Texas senator got, instead, was dragged by Cuomo, who helpfully reminded Cruz that he is a man who remains very dedicated to Trump, despite the fact that the president called Cruz’s wife a fuggo not so long ago.
For nearly 20 minutes, the two men traded barbs, with Cruz ultimately coming out as the weakest link. When Cuomo mentioned Trump’s reluctance to disavow white supremacists during the first presidential debate, Cruz attributed it to partisan media bias, noting that Trump’s Democratic competitor, Joe Biden, gave a eulogy for Sen. Robert Bryd—a former and allegedly reformed Klansman—ten years ago.
“You’re really going to go with that?” Cuomo responded, deadpan. “I know you’re a master debater, and Professor Dershowitz tells me you were the smartest student he ever had at Harvard Law. You’re going to go with that weak-ass argument here?”
Cuomo pointed out that Trump has a long history of refusing to perform this very basic ask, during Charlottesville and even the early days of his presidential race.
“The old Ted Cruz—who [Trump] called Lyin’ Ted when he wasn’t insulting your wife and father—tweeted ‘Hey, you’re better than this, Mr. President,’” Cuomo said, referring to Cruz’s response to Trump’s reluctance to disavow an endorsement from David Duke—a former KKK grand wizard and unrepentant white supremacist—during the 2016 primary.
“What happened to that Ted?” Cuomo asked. “I don’t know if he changed or just you changed, for some reason, senator.”
Cruz, apparently, didn’t like Cuomo bringing up old shit.
“Chris, you know, I’m glad you take tips on insults from other folks—” Cruz said.
“Really? Am I insulting you, sir?” Cuomo said
“Oh, yeah, you are, and you’re enjoying it!” Cruz replied.
Cruz pivoted to insulting CNN and Cuomo’s show, claiming that Trump “broke” their journalistic integrity. Cuomo continued to express confusion over Cruz’s fervent loyalty to Trump, and the conversation devolved into petty, personal nonsense before landing on the covid-19 crisis, which has left over 207,000 Americans dead. Cruz noted the covid-19 fatalities in New York state, where Cuomo’s brother—Andrew Cuomo—is governor.
“Your brother has presided over the state with the highest death rate in the country,” Cruz said. “I know your brother didn’t want those people to lose their lives, but he shouldn’t play politics with that.”
“So you don’t think [my brother] intentionally killed them,” Cuomo replied. “That’s good, that’s very charitable of you, Ted. Must be the Christian in you.”
Naturally, the personal jabs didn’t end there.
Cruz: Does it trouble you at all that New York and New Jersey had the highest death rates in the country?
Cuomo: Of course, it all troubles me, Ted! To watch guys like you and stroke your beard like a wise man instead of telling the president to get on it when you have power is a problem.
Cruz: How about telling your brother to get on it?
Cuomo: My brother will stand for his own record. Why don’t you talk to the president the way you talk to my president, Ted? You afraid of him? You think he’ll smack you down at home? Is that what it is? Like he’s Sherriff Wolf in the primary?
Cruz: Oh, yeah, I’m terrified of the Cuomos. You guys are really tough!
Cuomo: Not the Cuomos, I’m talking about the president. My brother’s not the president. I’m talking about the president, the one who called you a liar, the one who said your wife was ugly. That guy. You know, the guy now who you won’t say anything about.
Cruz: I recognize that you like—you actually wonder why you don’t have a lot of Republicans that want to come on your show—
Cuomo: I have more than any other show—
Cruz: Because you come here and scream at me, and yell at me, and insult me—
Cuomo: I’m not yelling at you, I’m raising my voice to match your own because you’re playing games, Ted, and people are dying.
Cuomo was a skip and a hop away from calling Cruz a little bitch on national television, a moment many Americans—including President Trump—would find absolutely delightful. Alas, maybe next time.