On Saturday at South Carolina Republican Party’s annual convention, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who recently won two straw polls in two of South Carolina’s biggest counties, forcefully attacked big business for its collusion with the Democratic Party in attacking Indiana’s religious liberty law. He also slammed the Obama administration for its intrusion on Americans’s liberty.
Speaking on the brouhaha raised after Indiana passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Cruz said bluntly that the cooperation of the Democratic Party and businesses that threatened Indiana over the law was a “perfect storm of the Democratic Party and big business coming together.” Indiana’s law came after last year’s battle between Evangelical leaders in Houston and city officials after the city subpoenaed sermons given by pastors opposing a gay rights ordinance. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly lesbian mayor of a major American city, led support for the ordinance.
Cruz asserted, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you,” adding “I will not flinch from defending religious liberty.”
Cruz also spoke on the controversy over Jade Helm 15, a domestic military training exercise that has been accused of secretive behavior that frightened people in Texas—enough that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked the Texas state guard to monitor the exercise to make sure it did not act inappropriately. Cruz told Bloomberg:
It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed. My office has reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise. We are assured it is a military training exercise. I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.
I have a great deal of faith and confidence in Governor Abbott. He is a long-time friend and mentor of mine. You know, I understand a lot of the concerns raised by a lot of citizens about Jade Helm. It’s a question I’m getting a lot. And I think part of the reason is we have seen, for six years, a federal government disrespecting the liberty of the citizens. That produces fear, when you see a government that is attacking our free speech rights, or Second Amendment rights, or religious liberty rights. That produces distrust.
Cruz blistered Barack Obama for refusing to call out “radical Islamic terrorism” by name and said Obama and his administration had shown “shameful hostility” to Israel, which prompted a standing ovation.
In the two South Carolina polls in mid-April, Cruz finished ahead of the pack. In Greenville, the state’s biggest Republican county, Cruz garnered 31 percent of the vote among 11 possible candidates, with Scott Walker finishing second at 25 percent. In Spartanburg County, Cruz received 33 percent, and Walker finished with 31 percent.