The GOP leaders have spent a better part of the 2016 presidential race denouncing party front-runner Donald Trump over his inflammatory rhetoric and lack of political experience. But that doesn’t mean the Republican leaders like the billionaire’s chief opponent, Ted Cruz, any better. If anything, the GOP seems to hate him even more.
Former Speaker of the House John Boehner, a conservative Republican, recently made headlines by calling the Texas senator “miserable son of a b****” and “Lucifer in flesh.” He even went on to swear he would not vote for Cruz (if he were on the ballot in November) and called Trump his “texting buddy.”
While it is no secret that some GOP lawmakers loathe the senator, Boehner’s remarks have once again proved the party is caught between two evils. He is also not the only high-ranking Republican to make harsh comments about Cruz.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who now supports Cruz's presidential bid, once said, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” While Peter King, Republican congressman from New York, said in an interview that he would “take cyanide” if Cruz ever got the nomination.
Pretty drastic, right?
So, why does the GOP hate him again?
Well, for starters, Cruz has often gone against his fellow Republicans in the Senate to show that he does what he likes. He doesn’t care if his actions oppose the party’s stance, as long as his own agenda is being fulfilled.
For instance, in 2013, the Texas senator led the federal government shutdown – a move he now considers his “single biggest mistake.” Then, hoping to defund Obamacare, Cruz pulled an all-night talk-a-thon, where he spoke straight for 21 hours and 19 minutes. Although GOP leaders also wanted to end Obamacare, only few supported Cruz's actions, which lead to the lowest approval ratings for the Republican Party in decades.
In 2014, he refused to endorse incumbent GOP senators against the insurgent primary challengers, even though he was chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which was responsible for reelection.
He also called Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell a liar on the floor and then refused to apologize.
“Cruz is an army of one, alienating anybody who is in his path,” former Republican congressional aide John Feehery once said in a statement. “He advocates losing strategies purely to further his own career at the expense of the party.”
The White House hopeful also had a feud with Boehner, whom he now claims to never have “had any substantive conversation” with despite serving as his lawyer in a 1998 lawsuit. The feud eventually led to Boehner’s ouster in 2015.
The thing is, Cruz now needs the support of Republican Party more than ever, but his bristly past with his colleagues is coming back to haunt him big time. It also appears to have affected his popularity among other groups.
On Thursday, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest Hispanic business group, chose to back Ohio Gov. and the other remaining GOP candidate, John Kasich, instead of Cruz – the only Latino candidate left in the race. They also endorsed Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.