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On Jan. 6, 2021, a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the electoral victory of President Joe Biden. The chaos that ensued left five people dead and dozens more injured. While many of the events of that day have been thoroughly analyzed and reported, there have been a few new revelations – most notably, the unleashing of a newly unveiled recording exposing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and his messaging efforts to overturn the presidential election.
The recording was obtained by CNN and reported in a bombshell article on April 28 that outlines Cruz’s alleged scheming behind the scenes to push baseless claims of voter fraud and encourage the certification of the Electoral College results to be challenged. This recording, coupled with other events, demonstrates the senator’s involvement and complicity in the events of Jan. 6.
In the recording, obtained from the conservative group the John Birch Society, Cruz is heard discussing the certification process with Michael Quinn Sullivan, the CEO of Empower Texans, a hard-right political advocacy group. “I think we need to do something. I think we need to do something that depends upon whether or not tomorrow objection is allowed to proceed,” Cruz says in the recording.
Later in the conversation, Cruz suggests that Sullivan and his organization “try to come up with some way of communicating this very quickly,” referring to a plan to challenge the certification of the Electoral College results. Cruz said that “there is a principle at stake that is far bigger than this particular election,” referring to the belief held by some that the results were invalid.
Cruz’s rhetoric in the recording suggested that he was willing to hold up the certification process through procedural votes and other mechanisms, even if it meant delaying the start of Biden’s presidency. His eagerness to challenge the election results shows how deep the conspiracies about voter fraud had emerged in some corners of the Republican party.
These revelations about the senator’s role in the attempted coup have been met with widespread criticism and outrage. Many believe that Cruz and other Republican lawmakers who espoused unfounded claims of voter fraud must be held accountable for the violence that occurred during the insurrection. Cruz’s attempts to delegitimize the election results, it seems, were a driving force behind the events of Jan. 6.
It is worth noting that the recording is just one piece of the puzzle. Cruz has repeatedly denied that he had any involvement in the events of Jan. 6 or any role in fomenting the violence that occurred that day. But it is difficult to reconcile those statements with what we know about Cruz’s actions leading up to the certification vote.
It is clear that Cruz was one of the leaders of the drive to challenge the election results. He signed on to a letter by several Republican senators who said they would vote to reject the results of the Electoral College, even though there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Cruz also spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally outside the Capitol building on Jan. 6, just hours before the attack began.
In the weeks since the insurrection, Cruz has tried to distance himself from the events of that day. He has called for investigations into what happened and said that the rioters should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But many people are still calling for him to resign or, at the very least, face consequences for his role in spreading misinformation about the election.
It is clear that the Jan. 6 attack was not an isolated incident. It was the result of months of disinformation and political propaganda, much of which was fueled by extreme right-wing media outlets and politicians who were willing to spread baseless conspiracy theories to score political points. Cruz, it appears, was one of those politicians.
What this new recording appears to show is that Cruz was aware of the potential for violence and was willing to stoke the fires of unrest in order to challenge the election results. It is a chilling reminder of just how fragile our democratic institutions can be in the face of political extremism.
As the country continues to grapple with the aftermath of Jan. 6 and tries to address the root causes of the violence that occurred, it is important that we hold those responsible accountable for their actions. This recording, along with other evidence, suggests that Sen. Ted Cruz played a role in spreading the lies and misinformation that led to the insurrection. He and others like him must be held accountable for their actions if we are to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again in the future.