Ted Cruz's Token Black Friend Swears He's Not Racist, Really

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Guys, it turns out that Ted Cruz’s bigoted tendencies are NBD, because the presidential hopeful’s former college roommate and current biffle David Panton, who happens to be a person of color from Jamaica, told The New York Times otherwise. Good to know!


The NYT piece opened with Panton on a typical day. You know, a typical day of disavowing Cruz’s reportedly quasi-racist tendencies:

“On a break during a business trip to Washington last year, David Panton hailed a cab to take him to the Capitol. He told the driver he was going to see the Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

‘He’s racist,’ the cabdriver replied, according to Mr. Panton.

Mr. Panton, taken aback, informed his driver that Mr. Cruz had a bust of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the right side of his desk, that he was the only senator to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela and that he had a ‘black guy’ as a college roommate and best man at his wedding.

‘I don’t believe that,’ the cabby said, as Mr. Panton tells it.

‘Well,’ Mr. Panton replied, ‘you’re talking to him.’

Everyone seems to have an opinion of Mr. Cruz, and usually it is not a good one. He has repeatedly come under attack from Donald J. Trump and other rivals as being eminently unlikable, having antagonized even members of his own party. Hillary Clinton joined that chorus this month when she described Mr. Cruz as a ‘meanspirited guy.’ The New York primary last week, in which he finished a distant third, may have been the low point in his decades-long struggle with popularity.”

(The fact that Cruz’s political idol, former senator Jesse Helms, voted against every Civil Rights-related legislation that came across his desk during his tenure—including making MLK Day a federal holiday—counts for nothing, right?)

According to the article, Panton and Cruz met when they became roommates at Princeton—right after screenwriter and number one Cruz detractor Craig Mazin . The pair went on to become classmates at Harvard Law and eventually business partners. The Washington Post described Cruz and Panton’s business venture, which centered around Caribbean markets and investments:

“[Their business] was modeled after U.S. private equity companies that made fortunes by using investor dollars to remake underperforming companies. The Caribbean concept came with a twist — the investor dollars would be drawn in part from governments, including from the United States, leveraging funds intended to boost the developing world.

It was an odd fit for Cruz, who as early as high school and college expressed a strong belief in limited government. But the plan held potential for big profits. And Cruz was welcomed by Panton’s fellow Jamaican partners as a skilled negotiator well suited to help hone their pitch for managing the new firm.”

NYT also cited a 2013 article in Time Magazine, which reported that Cruz “failed to disclose the profit on two years of Senate ethics forms,” which he then called “an oversight.”

But back to the racism bit: it’s important to note that there is a pointed difference between overt racism (i.e., the KKK; waving the Confederate flag; almost everything that comes out of the mouth of human garbage pit Donald Trump) and benign racism. The latter is an insidious enterprise, which manifests in everything from passive microaggressions to overlooking people of color in movie roles to racial profiling.


In short: having one friend who happens to be a person of color does not exempt one from indulging in racist tendencies. (Hipster racism, anyone?)

Side note: Panton did not mention whether Ted Cruz was the Zodiac Killer, though, so like, totally Zodiac Killer, right?


Contact the author at jamie.reich@jezebel.com.

Image via Getty.


AllieCat demands hats on cats-is probable weirdo

Making new slogans for Ted Cruz really needs to be my full time job. Come on, buddy! I’ve never found a dead body in my employers closet and called the cops. (An interesting game to play is “how much money would it take to drop all your morals and publicly campaign for Ted Cruz. And the rule is you can never tell your friends and family why. You have to say it’s because you truly believe in him. How much would it take for you to do it? I think my number is low enough to feel ashamed. Pretty broke)

Anyway, Mr. Cruz....a sample of my work to reach out to diverse voters:

TrusTed! Never racist unless you’re named, Abed.