The internal struggle among Republicans in the Congress – and in the GOP race for President – burst onto the Senate floor on Friday, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) used a speech to savage his own party’s leadership, accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of being a liar.
In an extraordinary scene on the floor of the Senate, Cruz gave what was basically a modified version of his campaign speech for President to argue that GOP leaders in the Congress are worthless.
“We’ve had a Republican majority in both houses of Congress now for six months; what has that majority done?” Cruz asked.
“There is a profound disappointment among the American people,” Cruz said, “because we keep winning elections and we keep getting leaders who don’t do anything they promised.”
In very direct language, Cruz accused McConnell of acting “arm-in-arm” with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, in setting up a vote as soon as Sunday on a measure to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
“We now know that when the Majority Leader looks us in the eyes and makes us an explicit commitment, that he is willing to say things that he knows are false,” Cruz said.
Cruz said McConnell had told him directly that no deal had been cut with Democrats to allow for consideration of the Export-Import bank plan; Cruz and a number of Republicans oppose its re-authorization, arguing it is nothing but “crony capitalism.”
Cruz revisited a vote earlier this year on major trade legislation, where a group of Democrats agreed to support advancing the plan, reportedly because they were assured of a vote at some point on the Export Import Bank matter.
The Texas Republican, who has struggled recently in the polls in his race for President, said McConnell had assured him there was no quid pro quo on that issue.
“The Majority Leader looked at me and said there is no deal,” Cruz remembered, saying McConnell was emphatic that there was no agreement.
“My staff told me that afternoon, ‘he is lying to you,'” Cruz recalled, as he moved to say the same on the Senate floor today.
“If you or I cannot trust what the Majority Leader tells us, that will have consequences on other legislation,” Cruz declared.
McConnell was not on the Senate floor during the speech. A spokesman told the Associated Press that the Majority Leader would have no response.