After a Banner Week for Ted Cruz, Let's Look Back at His 10 Biggest Lies and Flip-Flops

Would this face lie.
Would this face lie. Gage Skidmore

Ted Cruz told a giant lie this week. Actually, it was more like a series of whoppers, designed to roll back his essential role in the 2013 shutdown of the federal government just as Washington emerged from Shutdown 2018. Cruz's lie came the same week as his claim that anyone wishing to give recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program a path to citizenship was "to the left of Obama" on immigration policy, as well as new poll showing he's just eight points ahead of Democrat Beto O'Rourke in his bid for re-election. The statement causes one to think back on all the previous lies, half-truths and changes of direction that Texans have suffered through since electing Cruz in 2012.

As Cruz re-enters the public eye after his failure to keep President Donald Trump off the Republican Party ticket in 2016, here's a handy guide to why Trump's nickname for Cruz — "Lyin' Ted" — remains apt.

1. Cruz says he's "consistently opposed shutdowns."
Cruz told reporters Monday that he had nothing to do with shutting down the government in 2013.

“In 2013,” Cruz told reporters. “I voted repeatedly to fund the government, and in 2013 it was Harry Reid and the Democrats who voted no, who voted to shut the government down just like this week.”

Apparently Cruz forgot conspiring with House Republicans to reject any funding bill that didn't delay the implementation of Obamacare, leading to a 17-day shutdown. There was also the 21-hour, Obamacare-blasting speech he made on the Senate floor just before the shutdown.

Even Fox News' Shep Smith couldn't resist making light of Cruz's hypocrisy. 
2. President Barack Obama wanted to allow "grown men and boys into little girls' bathroom, according to Cruz.
Cruz, speaking at the 2016 Republican Convention of Texas, let loose on Obama's recent directive regarding transgender students at U.S. public schools.

"The president issued a decree to every public school in America demanding that they change their bathroom policies, demanding that every public school now allow grown men and boys into little girls’ bathrooms. We have entered the world of politically correct lunacy," Cruz said.

Obama's policy was aimed at students, not adults, and was intended to make sure that transgender kids could use the bathrooms they felt the most comfortable using.

3. Cruz once said that ISIS was "right now crucifying Christians in Iraq, literally nailing Christians to trees."
As he was considering a run for president in 2014, Cruz told a WFAA-TV reporter that members of the Islamic state were crucifying in Syria. Politifact checked out his claims and found no evidence that any Christians had been nailed to anything.
click to enlarge Ted Cruz (left) and his father, Rafael Cruz, attended the Dallas County Republicans' Reagan Day dinner. - MIKE BROOKS
Ted Cruz (left) and his father, Rafael Cruz, attended the Dallas County Republicans' Reagan Day dinner.
Mike Brooks

4. The vast majority of violent criminals are Democrats, according to Cruz.
Texas' junior senator told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in November 2015 that it was a "simple and undeniable fact [that] the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats."

When the media pressed Cruz's campaign about the senator's comments, aides said Cruz's assertion was based on a University of Pennsylvania study about restoring voting rights to felons. Some of the data collected for the study indicated that, in three states, the majority of felons who re-registered to vote did so as Democrats, giving Cruz all the information to make his claim.

5. Cruz thinks you don't have the right to masturbate.
This one's a flip-flop. In a 2007 brief to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Cruz asserted that the 14th Amendment doesn't protect one's right to masturbate. "There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship," Cruz wrote in defending a Texas law prohibiting the sale of sex toys.

His college roommate at Princeton, Craig Mazin, expressed amusement when Cruz's brief came up during the run-up to the 2016 election. "I was his college roommate. This would be a new belief of his," Mazin tweeted.

6. Ted said he was the only candidate who could beat Hillary Clinton.
As Trump became the clear front-runner for the 2016 nomination, Cruz started telling conservatives that they should gather behind him, no matter who their first choice was, because he could beat Hillary Clinton and Trump couldn't.

If only that were true.

7. After calling Trump everything but a child of God, Cruz submitted and stumped for Trump.
Shortly before his presidential campaign's last gasp in the Indiana primary, Cruz lit into Trump.

"This man is a pathological liar; he doesn't know the difference between truth and lies. ... In a pattern that is straight out of a psychology textbook, he accuses everyone of lying," Cruz told reporters. "Whatever lie he's telling, at that minute he believes it. ... The man is utterly amoral. Donald is a bully. ... Bullies don't come from strength; they come from weakness."

Later in the campaign, Cruz ate his words, getting caught on video stumping for Trump at Tarrant County GOP headquarters.
8. Cruz said he voted against Sandy relief bill because it was "two-thirds pork."
Last year, in an attempt to explain how he could support federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Harvey after voting against the $50 billion aid package to victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Cruz told MSNBC that most of the Sandy relief bill had nothing to do with the storm.

"The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork. Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy," Cruz said.

According to a Washington Post fact check, "[t]he vast majority of the spending was for Hurricane Sandy, including elements (such as Smithsonian repairs) that some lawmakers incorrectly believed were unrelated to the storm."

9. Try figuring out whether Cruz believes legal status should be granted to any or all undocumented immigrants in the United States.
During Congress' 2013 comprehensive immigration reform debate, Cruz offered an amendment to the bill drafted by the bipartisan Gang of Eight. It would've granted undocumented immigrants in the United States legal status but permanently denied them a path to citizenship.

Cruz spelled out his reasoning during a meeting of the Senate's judiciary committee. The intent of the bill, Cruz said, was "to provide a legal status for those who are here illegally, to be out of the shadows. This amendment would allow that to happen. But what it would do is remove the pathway to citizenship, so that there are real consequences that respect the rule of law and that treat legal immigrants with the fairness and respect they deserve.”

During the 2016 campaign, Cruz's Republican rivals challenged him from the right for formally supporting legalization of some undocumented immigrants. Cruz responded by repeatedly saying that he introduced his amendment in order to sabotage the Gang of Eight's bill.

He said exactly the opposite in 2013.

“My objective was not to kill immigration reform, but it was to amend the Gang of Eight bill so that it actually solves the problem,” Cruz told the Washington Examiner's Byron York after the bill failed.

10. For a devout evangelical, Cruz has issues with tithing.
During the run-up to the 2016 Iowa caucus, Buzzfeed ran an article detailing Cruz's apparent failure to appropriately tithe from 2006-10. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Cruz blamed his lack of giving on being newly married.

“I will readily admit that I have not been as faithful in this aspect of my walk as I should have been," Cruz said. "That article focuses on 10 years. We don’t have the ability to go back and change what occurred 10 years ago when Heidi and I were newly married and we’d just started a family. But at the end of the day, being a Christian is not about holding yourself out as righteous. It’s about beginning with the understanding that we are flawed sinners and we are saved not by deeds but by Christ’s redemption."

Cruz married his banking executive wife, Heidi Cruz, in 2001. In 2006, the first year of included in the Buzzfeed report, Cruz reported $347,716 in gross income. In 2010, the last year included, Cruz made $2,040,840. During the five years, the Cruzes gave $44,000 to charity.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young