Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell traded barbs on Thursday as Swalwell attempted to suggest that Cruz was “defending Nazis” after the Texas Senator grilled AG Merrick Garland over his plan to weaponize the DOJ against parents in schools.
Swalwell’s claim was an attempt to skew Cruz’s defense of the parents which the Democrats are trying to label as “domestic terrorists” in line with their new strategy to squash dissent in schools over the radical curriculum being taught.
Cruz fired back at Swalwell saying, “You are frequently a liar (when you’re not sleeping with Chinese spies).”
He added, “But here, you’re (sic) lie is exactly 180 degrees false. I was defending the right of citizens to denounce authoritarian policies. In other words, to OPPOSE Nazis (or petty tyrants), not to support them.”
The exchange that prompted Swalwell’s attempt at smearing Cruz involved Cruz questioning Garland on Wednesday.
Cruz asked Garland, “Let me ask you something, (Attorney) General Garland: In the letter, which you told the House of Representatives was the basis for this abusive memo targeting parents, how many incidents are cited in that memo?”
“I have to look back through the memo,” Garland answered.
“You don’t know. How many of them were violent?” Cruz asked.
“Again, the general report—” Garland began.
“How many of them were violent?” Cruz persisted.
“I don’t know,” Garland admitted.
Cruz asserted, “You don’t know. And there’s a reason you don’t know. Because you didn’t care and nobody in your office cared to find out. I did a quick count just sitting here during this hearing; I counted 20 incidents cited. Of the 20, 15 on their face are non-violent. They involve things like insults; they involve a Nazi salute. That’s one of the examples. My God, a parent did a Nazi salute at a school board because he thought the policies were oppressive. General Garland, is doing a Nazi salute at an elected official, is that protected by the First Amendment?”
Garland replied, “Yes, it is.”
Mainstream media outlets on the left also pushed a similar false narrative about Cruz, using a partial clip from the Senator’s statement to make it seem as though his stance was pro-Nazi.
On Wednesday, liberal writer Aaron Rupar posted the clip of Cruz arguing with Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate committee hearing. However, Rupar promoted the clip as “Ted Cruz defends Nazi salutes at school board meetings.”
The Daily Beast, meanwhile, published an article titled “Ted Cruz Defends Parents Doing Nazi Salutes at School Board Meetings,” which claimed the Republican senator “at one point defended parents throwing up Nazi salutes at school board meetings” when Cruz actually asked if such a gesture was protected by the First Amendment.
HuffPo similarly followed suit by writing the headline “Sen. Ted Cruz Defends Parent Who Gave Nazi Salute At School Board Meeting.” While HuffPo did acknowledge that Garland himself agrees that Nazi salutes as protest were protected speech, the site also appeared to frame Cruz as supporting Nazi salutes as a whole.
That misleading narrative was also perpetuated by both MSNBC and CNN who reported on the clip. MSNBC’s Ari Melber argued that, while a Nazi salute is technically protected speech, that Cruz is excusing “efforts that foment harassment and violence.”
“The issues at that oversight hearing were the rising hate in America, which is wrong, and these efforts that foment harassment and violence which are illegal,” Melber said.
CNN’s John Avlon was also misleading in his “Reality Check” segment, framing the situation as not an argument about First Amendment rights but about Cruz supporting indecency. The headline underneath him read “Sorry, Ted Cruz: Nazi Salutes at School Board Meetings Aren’t Normal.”
“If you’re defending Nazi salutes at school board meetings, you’re already losing,” Avlon said. “Of course, the issue here isn’t the First Amendment. The issue is the galloping insanity that’s infecting our civic life.”
Author: Wayne Barrons