Texas senator Ted Cruz on Friday indicated that the battle among GOP senators over gun-control legislation was so fierce that, at several points during the debate, some of his Republican colleagues yelled at him “at the top of their lungs.”
“I don’t know that there is an issue that has generated more heat internally in the Republican conference,” Cruz said at a Texas tea-party rally. “We’ve had probably five or six lunches with a bunch of Republican senators standing up and looking at Rand [Paul] and Mike [Lee] and me and yelling at us at the top of their lungs, I mean, really upset.” He continued, “They said, ‘Look, why did you do this? As a result of what you did, when I go home, my constituents are yelling at me that I gotta stand on principle.’ I’m really not making that up. I don’t ever bother to argue with them, I just sorta let them yell and said, ‘Look, you know, vote your conscience.’”
Cruz who, along with senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee, launched an effort to filibuster any gun-control legislation brought to the Senate floor, called Republicans who did not back the effort ”squishes.” The trio were criticized by conservatives outside the halls of Congress as well — Cruz noted that the Wall Street Journal ran two editorials attacking their efforts.
Though their motion was defeated, aides to Cruz and Lee told National Review in the wake of the Senate vote that the trio believe they achieved an important strategic victory by drawing attention to the constitutional issues at stake before in the preceding weeks. They point to the defeat of the Democrats’ legislation as proof of their success.
Since his election to the Senate in November, Cruz has joined with Paul and Lee — both tea-party candidates elected in 2010 — to challenge not only the Democrats, but much of the Republican party, which they appear to be trying to steer in a different direction. More than once, senior senators such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham have voiced their disdain and disapproval.
Thus far, though, the newcomers are undeterred. ”We are winning,” Cruz told the crowd.