GREENVILLE, South Carolina — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News here in his campaign office on Monday, escalated his battle with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on the 2016 campaign trail to a whole new degree: Now, Cruz is laying out why Rubio is responsible for the terrorist attack in Benghazi.
Cruz’s argument goes like this: Rubio backed now former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner, and President Barack Obama in their efforts to take Muammar Qaddafi out in Libya. As a result, that spiraled the nation into the control of jihadists, who then carried out the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
Cruz answered when asked by Breitbart News about why he’s better for America’s national security than Rubio:
On foreign policy, Sen. Rubio’s foreign policy judgments have been consistently wrong. When Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made the decision to intervene in Libya, to topple Qaddafi, Sen. Rubio chose once again to stand with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Now, Qaddafi was a bad man. He had a terrible human rights record, and he himself had sponsored terrorism for many, many years. But in response to U.S. strength, Qaddafi had changed course. He voluntarily handed over his nuclear program and shut it down. And he was actively cooperating with the U.S. government in the fight against radical Islamic terrorists. He was capturing radical Islamic terrorists and handing them over to America. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio led the NATO coalition in toppling Qaddafi. And the result of that was that Libya was handed over to radical Islamic terrorists and is now a chaotic war zone of battling Islamists. And that is much, much worse for U.S. national security. The tragedy at Benghazi, four Americans murdered including the first American ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since the 1970s under Jimmy Carter, the tragedy of Benghazi was the direct result of the failed foreign policy in Libya that was championed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and supported by Marco Rubio.
Continuing on the foreign policy theme in the interview while discussing national security, Cruz kept lumping Rubio together with Clinton and Obama—because they have technically supported many of the same foreign policy decisions in the Middle East. Cruz went on to say:
Likewise in Egypt, Obama and Hillary opposed Mubarak. Mubarak had a lousy human rights record but had been a reliable ally of America. The Obama administration pressed to topple Mubarak and they handed that country over to the Muslim Brotherhood—a terrorist organization that finances jihadists all over the globe. That made U.S. national security worse off. And now, in Syria, once again, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are pushing to topple another dictator—Assad. Now, Bashar Assad is a bad man. He has a horrible human rights record. He’s murdered his own citizens. And yet the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. There is a reason Prime Minister Netanyahu has said he has no dog in the fight in the Syrian Civil War, because if President Obama and Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio succeed in toppling Bashar Assad, the consequence will be radical Islamic terror will take over Syria. ISIS will govern Syria. That is worse from the perspective of U.S. national security interests.
Cruz added in the exclusive interview with Breitbart News that Rubio—along with Clinton and Obama—are making similar “mistakes” to those made by now former Democratic President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s. Cruz said:
I will note the mistakes that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio keep making are reminiscent of the foreign policy mistakes made by Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s stood by while the Shah of Iran was toppled because Jimmy Carter—like Obama and Hillary and Sen. Rubio—believed there was an Arab Spring, a Democratic uprising. Well, the consequence of the Islamic revolution has been the birth of a nation that has been waging war with America for decades—filled with religious and theocratic fanatics who pledge ‘Death to America.’ And I very much agree with Ronald Reagan and Jeane Kirkpatrick who at the time said this is a catastrophic mistake. You shouldn’t be toppling governments and handing them over to radical Islamic terrorists. That’s what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton keep doing, and unfortunately Sen. Rubio keeps making the errors in judgment that have the effect of benefitting radical Islamic terrorists.
More pieces of Cruz’s exclusive interview with Breitbart News are forthcoming.