U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday apparently tried to make a soundbite speech for Fox News while falsely characterizing the LGBTQ Equality Act and its impact on “religious freedom.” Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) was not going to allow Cruz’s political grandstanding get in the way of an important confirmation hearing.
Cruz, under fire for months now over various scandals, including his role in the January 6 insurrection, has gone as far as doing a photo op showing him holding a case of bottled water after his Cancun excursion when he left millions of his constituents in the middle of a sub-freezing winter storm without power or water.
On Tuesday Cruz tried the “religious liberty” approach, attacking civil rights attorney and champion Vanita Gupta.
Gupta, the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, is President Joe Biden’s nominee to be Associate Attorney General. Cruz falsely framed his question, trying to back Gupta into a difficult position while not letting her complete her answer.
“Do you agree with the provisions stripping RFRA’s religious liberty protections from Americans?” an argumentative Cruz asked Gupta.
The LGBTQ Equality Act does not “strip” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act’s religious liberty protections from Americans. What it does is say the law cannot be used as the basis for anti-LGBTQ discrimination. Cruz has attacked LGBTQ activists in year past, claiming they are waging “jihad” on Christians.
Gupta tried to answer and present her position. She did not get far.
“Senator, let me begin by saying that religious liberty is incredibly important to me. I am a person of faith. My family is one of deep and abiding faith. And this country’s founding freedom was rooted in religious liberty. I have defended religious freedom throughout my career when I was at the Justice Department I launched an interagency effort to protect religious liberty –”
“I appreciate that but our time is limited –” said Cruz, not wanting Gupta’s background to be advertised, and cutting her off.
“Senator, Senator, it is only fair to allow her to complete her answer,” Chairman Durbin told the Texas Tea Party Senator.
Cruz was not about to let Durbin set the rules.
“Mr. Chairman, I understand that she has things she wants to say but I asked if she supports the repeal of RFRA,” Cruz said, admitting that he’s lying about the LGBTQ equality Act, which does not repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Senator, if you want to make a speech you may make a speech,” Durbin replied before Cruz cut him off too.
“I’m asking a question, I’m asking a question and I understand that you support her nomination so you’re giving a speech too but but I’m asking a question,” Cruz repeated.
“I’m asking you allow her to answer,” Durbin again stated.
“She was not answering,” Cruz claimed, unfairly. “She’s welcome to answer the question. The question is, do you support the Equality Act’s repealing RFRA’s protection of religious liberty for Americans?” Cruz said, again falsely stating what the LGBTQ Equality Act does.
“Senator, I support RFRA,” Gupta replied. “I have enforced provisions of RFRA, and the Justice Department must enforce the law. The Justice Department enforces religious liberty and protects it. It also enforces our nation’s anti discrimination laws.”
Cruz again was not satisfied and interrupted Gupta again.
“Let me try again for a third time. Do you support the Equality Act’s repeal of RFRA’s religious liberty protections?” he asked, again lying about what the legislation does.
“Senator, if confirmed as Associate Attorney General, my duty will be to enforce laws to protect religious liberty and the anti discrimination laws that the Justice Department –”
And once again, Cruz interrupted Gupta.
Okay so you’re declining to answer that as well.”
Sen. Dick Durbin to Sen. Ted Cruz: “Senator if you want to make a speech you may make a speech, but if you’re asking a question allow her to answer.” pic.twitter.com/KXJxeFnKVV
— The Hill (@thehill) March 9, 2021
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‘Clear Call to Violence’: Experts Slam Gaetz for ‘Inciting Another Insurrection’
U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) says Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is “urging people to shoot Silicon Valley employees.” Congressman Lieu is not alone. Others, including experts, are delivering similar criticism and warnings after Gaetz on Thursday delivered disturbing remarks calling for Americans to fulfill their constitutional “obligation” to “use” the Second Amendment.
“The internet’s hall monitors out in Silicon Valley, they think they can suppress us, discourage us — maybe if you’re just a little less patriotic, maybe if you just conform to their way of thinking a little more, you’ll be allowed to participate in the digital world,” Gaetz said at a Thursday rally with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
“Well, you know what? Silicon Valley can’t cancel this movement or this rally or this congressman. We have a Second Amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it.”
“The Second Amendment – this is a little history lesson for all the fake news media. The Second Amendment is not about, it’s not about hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports. The Second Amendment is about maintaining, within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary,” Gaetz, who is under DOJ investigation for possible sex trafficking and possible sex with a 17-year old, told supporters.
To be clear, Gaetz’s claim is false.
Lieu once again called for Gaetz to be removed from the Judiciary Committee.
Dear @GOPLeader: You need to remove Rep Matt Gaetz from the House Judiciary Committee. It’s a conflict of interest for Gaetz to have oversight over the DOJ that is investigating him for sex crimes.
Also, Gaetz is urging people to shoot Silicon Valley employees. https://t.co/OccZKeoyVi
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 28, 2021
GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois reminded Americans the First Amendment does not offer blanket protection to say anything you want.
This is not speech protected by the first amendment. This is beyond yelling fire in a theater. https://t.co/FyIcIqqsIl
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) May 28, 2021
Former Director, U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency:
I avoid commenting on members of congress & their inane remarks. But as a recent recipient of multiple death threats, this clear call to violence by a member of congress is beyond the pale. It’s disqualifying & un-American. If you associate w/ this, you’re part of the problem. https://t.co/GHdyOqJziM
— Chris Krebs (@C_C_Krebs) May 28, 2021
Yale Historian Dr. Joanne Freeman:
Matt Gaetz is wrong.
The 2nd Amendment is about the security of the state, NOT about overturning the state. https://t.co/usPCIlsAbf
— Dr. Joanne Freeman (@jbf1755) May 28, 2021
Arizona Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego says Gaetz may lose his Second Amendment “rights” given the investigation into multiple possible felonies:
Guy is about to be a prohibited possessor so 2nd Amendment is null and void for him. https://t.co/OMEdEOuavt
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 28, 2021
Also Gaetz: “We have a 2nd amendment in this country and I think we have an obligation to use it!”
This is incitement, plain and simple. https://t.co/sdDtTnjqvh
— Kelly Steele (@steelekelly) May 28, 2021
I was unaware that the 2nd Amendment nullified the laws against murdering corporate leaders you don’t like, but Matt’s a Congressman and his dad’s a millionaire so I guess he knows what he’s talking about, right? https://t.co/PtKTppQnXc
— Seth Cotlar (@SethCotlar) May 28, 2021
Former GOP Congressman:
There is a critical element to what Matt just did. The 2A and NRA folks have long posited that 2A allows the people to protect themselves against their *government*, to self-defend.
Tonight, Gaetz directly threatens using the 2nd Amendment to go after *big tech*, not government. https://t.co/P342rKyQQE
— David Jolly (@DavidJollyFL) May 28, 2021
Kremlin, Russian mafia specialist:
— Olga Lautman (@OlgaNYC1211) May 28, 2021
Yesterday 9 people went to work @VTA serving the Silicon Valley community—but they didn’t go home to loved ones because they were gunned down & murdered.
Tonight Matt Gaetz told supporters they have “an obligation to use the 2nd Amendment” on Silicon Valley.
There is no bottom. https://t.co/fVwex2YZVv
— Dean Wallace 🗳🗽 (@deanofdublin) May 28, 2021
When the Founders debated the 2nd Amendment the only discussion was about allowing religious exemption for folks joining the militia. 2A is and was NEVER about fighting the government because you don’t like it. Never. https://t.co/jeEoQONTJn
— Boomer Bear (@barefootboomer) May 28, 2021
The 2nd Amendment specifies that it’s for “the security of a free State,” not for “armed lunatics to overthrow the State.”
— Jedi, Interrupted 🏳️🌈💛 (@JediCounselor) May 28, 2021
Bill Strips Right to Food Stamps, Unemployment, Medical Assistance if Convicted of ‘Crime’ During Political Protest
A possibly unconstitutional Minnesota bill would punish anyone convicted of a crime during a political protest by stripping them of their right to any state-funded assistance, including food stamps, student loans, medical assistance, unemployment, or rent or mortgage assistance, among other programs.
Republican state Senator David Osmek filed SF 2381, a one-page bill which reads in part: “relating to public safety; prohibiting any state loan, grant, or assistance for persons convicted of offense related to protest, demonstration, rally, civil unrest, or march.” HF 466, a companion House bill, was filed by GOP Rep. Eric Lucero.
“A person convicted of a criminal offense related to the person’s illegal conduct at a protest, demonstration, rally, civil unrest, or march is ineligible for any type of state loan, grant, or assistance, including but not limited to college student loans and grants, rent and mortgage assistance, supplemental nutrition assistance, unemployment benefits and other employment assistance, Minnesota supplemental aid programs, business grants, medical assistance, general assistance, and energy assistance.”
The legislation could conflict with the First Amendment right to free speech, peaceful protest, and the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
“The bill comes amid many arrests at protests for Daunte Wright, a young Black man killed by police last Sunday,” The Minnesota Daily reports. “Thousands of college students from several universities across the Twin Cities have participated in protests against police brutality, following the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020. Those protests have not lost much momentum over the past year, and key messages have included issues ranging from police brutality to climate change and voting rights.”
Ted Cruz Will No Longer Wear a Mask in the Senate Despite CDC Guidelines and Rising COVID Cases
As COVID-19 continues to rise across half the country and the CDC IS urging Americans to continue to practice social distancing and mask-wearing, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has decided he will no longer wear a mask while on Capitol Hill.
“At this point I’ve been vaccinated. Everybody working in the Senate has been vaccinated,” the Texas Republican told CNN, which is false. About one in four members of Congress are refusing to be inoculated or to disclose their vaccination status as of last month. And many people who are not working in the Senate, but visiting Capitol Hill on business enter the building daily.
Axios reports COVID -19 is on the rise in half the country, including Texas, which saw an 18.5% increase in new cases from April 6 to April 13.
“At this point, virtually everyone here has been vaccinated. And everyone has the opportunity,” Cruz added, after a reporter told him they and others had not been vaccinated.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is the only other Senator who has steadfastly refused to wear a mask. He also claims he is not and will not be vaccinated. Paul tested positive for coronavirus last year in March, which he falsely suggests makes him immune.
The COVID vaccine is highly-effective but not one-hundred percent. Current studies show in real-world examples it’s 90% effective, and with 43% of Republicans across the country refusing to be vaccinated, America is a long way away from herd immunity.
Hours before Cruz made clear he will no longer wear a mask, Pfizer announced it will “likely” be necessary for Americans to get an annual booster shot, much like with the flu.
“We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC notes in an April 2 update. “After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.”
Cruz has been working up to this moment. Last month he infamously refused a reporter’s request to wear a mask, again falsely claiming CDC guidelines did not require him to.
Question: Would you mind putting on a mask for us?
Ted Cruz: Yeah when I’m talking to the TV camera, I’m not going to wear a mask pic.twitter.com/sUoKjvACcz
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 24, 2021
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