For a few moments Sunday evening and as this week got started, we actually felt a little bad for Ted Cruz. At the Co nservative Political Action Conference a couple of weeks ago, Cruz shook hands with a man later diagnosed as having been infected with the coronavirus.
Then came Wednesday and a very special episode of Verdict, the podcast Cruz made to trumpet how much he wasn't going to listen during President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.
Texas' junior senator made it clear that he believes the coronavirus is a threat. (That's good.) Then he made a series of excuses for how Trump — the man who said Cruz's dad might have been involved in the JFK assassination and implied Cruz's wife was ugly — handled the initial spread of the virus in the United States. (That's less good.)
"It is unfortunate seeing some partisans who want to use (coronavirus) for political purposes. They want to blame it all on President Trump and we get it," Cruz said. "They don't like Donald Trump, that's not lost on anybody, but, at the same time, he wasn't serving bat soup in the Wuhan (Hubei) province."
Cruz and his remote co-host then laughed and laughed. The thing about the bat soup — which, if we're being charitable, is at least "racially tinged" as The New York Times might say — was apparently supposed to be joke.
The media, according to Cruz, wants people to die so that Trump will look bad.
"Blaming all of this on Donald Trump is a little absurd, and you can see the media trying to turn it politically. They want it to be the equivalent of Katrina and, President Bush, the way he handled Katrina, it was not, he got a lot of criticism, a lot of blame for how he handled Katrina. The media is gleeful to see the president stumble in how he's handled it. I do think ... the decision to halt air traffic was the right decision," Cruz said.
First off, Hurricane Maria was already President Trump's Katrina. Second — and we're going to go ahead and speak for everyone in the media when we say this — no one wants anyone to die from coronavirus. We would all much rather that none of this was happening.