Texas senator Ted Cruz skipped Wednesday’s Armed Services Committee hearing on the American strategy to counter the Islamic State. Instead, he was making an appearance on Fox News and then set to attend a fundraiser in New York City. Cruz was the only committee Republican not to attend, the committee’s office confirmed.
Cruz watched a portion of the hearing from a split screen while appearing on America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer in Manhattan. He told Hemmer he was “working to lead on defending this nation against ISIS, on standing up [to] radical Islamic terrorism.” His next event today, a fundraising luncheon in Manhattan hosted by several supporters, including the president of a cluster of super PACs backing his candidacy, Kellyanne Conway, and a managing partner of Goldman Sachs, is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m., according to an invitation obtained by National Review.
Testifying in the hearing, taking place now on Capitol Hill, are Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and General Paul J. Selva. Earlier this morning, Carter lambasted the committee’s Republicans for attempting to block the State Department’s defense appointees, including their nominee for undersecretary of the Army. Cruz has been criticized as a prime driver of this delay, after he announced this summer that he would place holds on all State Department nominees in protest of the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
During the 2014 cycle, former North Carolina senator Kay Hagan, who was at the time a member of the Armed Services Committee, came under fire for missing a hearing on the rise of the Islamic State to attend a New York City fundraiser. She went on to lose badly in her reelection bid that year.
A spokesman for the Cruz campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
— Elaina Plott is a William F. Buckley Fellow in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.