On Wednesday, following the violence on Capitol Hill when Trump supporters laid seige to the United States Capitol and forced Congress into lockdown during the certification of Joe Biden's victory, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas issued a statement denouncing the rioters' actions.
Of course, he didn't acknowledge the role his own baseless objections to the vote certification played in inciting the insurrection. The mob of White supremacists, White nationalists, QAnon adherents and MAGA minions descended on the Capitol after listening to President Donald Trump, his older sons, Rudy Giuliani and others repeat the same repeatedly disproven claims about the election results Cruz also shared.
During that rally, Giuliani spoke of trial by combat and the Trumps encouraged the crowd to go to the Capitol. The President told the crowd he called to gather in Washington DC on the vote certification day to walk up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol—claiming he would be going with them—to give Congress a message.
You can read Cruz's post about the Capitol riot here:
Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York was quick to call Cruz out for his attempt to erase his incitement of the rioters and for fundraising off of their anger based on false claims Trump created about the election.
Cruz wrote back to AOC calling her a liar.
1/2 @AOC You are a liar. Leading a debate in the Senate on ensuring election integrity is doing our jobs, and it’… https://t.co/j59hWv5VRO— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz)1610042906.0
2/2 ...try to massively raise taxes, when you try to pass the green new deal & destroy millions of jobs, when you p… https://t.co/Nbto9gjLAE— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz)1610043195.0
But AOC came to Twitter with the receipts.
She shared a fundraising text Cruz sent out during the siege of the Capitol building where he claimed to be "leading the fight to reject electors."
Oh - you’re accusing me of lying? Isn’t this you? Your campaign sent out this fundraising message as people were s… https://t.co/woJejLx63s— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1610061738.0
Cruz claimed he told his staff to stop fundraising efforts as the siege began and the automated text (which was sent hours after the Capitol was stormed) spreading more inflammatory election rhetoric was forgotten about.
@AOC 1. Yes, my campaign sends out automated fundraising messages—as does your campaign & every other. 2. When the… https://t.co/HlxksgoZ0T— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz)1610063172.0
Even if the text going out during the siege was an honest mistake, Cruz didn't seem to grasp his original sin was to lend credence to President Trump's baseless conspiracy theories.
By convincing Trump supporters the election was being stolen from them and there was still hope for Congress to overturn an election so Trump would win—with absolutely no evidence or constitutional authority to back up these claims—Cruz helped incite the violence that resulted in five deaths.
Resign.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1610062190.0
Calls for Cruz to resign were deafening on Twitter, though he wrote he "ain't going anywhere."
@tedcruz @AOC Your words have consequences. A police officer has now been pronounced dead the same type of people y… https://t.co/3hdSsVu7xY— David Hogg (@David Hogg)1610064639.0
@tedcruz @AOC Ted. Ted. Ted. This isn't the @Princeton debating team. You supported baseless attacks on the integri… https://t.co/ClJradu1ZK— Gregg Gonsalves (@Gregg Gonsalves)1610109895.0
@tedcruz @AOC @Princeton @realDonaldTrump You think this is just another step on your way to power. Princeton. Harv… https://t.co/d2fFm47JQU— Gregg Gonsalves (@Gregg Gonsalves)1610110035.0
@tedcruz @AOC @Princeton @realDonaldTrump You think you're above it all now. There are no consequences for you. But… https://t.co/j7RGSrCnqX— Gregg Gonsalves (@Gregg Gonsalves)1610110227.0
The Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol felt justified in their actions because they falsely believed an election was stolen from them.
That false narrative was encouraged by many Republican leaders—such as Cruz—for their own financial gain and publicity.
@tedcruz @AOC Sir, when joining a coup you need to be very careful with automated emails!— Josh Marshall (@Josh Marshall)1610063258.0
@tedcruz @AOC 1. You were fundraising off of the LIES about fraud well before the incitement of violence 2. You… https://t.co/8dxKVJn3k6— Tony Engel (@Tony Engel)1610063421.0
Many online also called Cruz out for the inconsistencies in his proposed timeline.
@tedcruz @AOC "w/n minutes I told my team to halt fundraising" Clashes started at 1:20. Text at 3:33. Two hours is… https://t.co/MzB6wsEZfp— markira (@markira)1610118965.0
@tedcruz @AOC Ted, listen. When you tell lies that incite violence, you’re inciting violence.— Mueller, She Wrote (@Mueller, She Wrote)1610090529.0
In light of the role his words played in Wednesday's shameful display, calls for Cruz to resign or be expelled will likely continue into the foreseeable future.
With more people killed in the Capitol riots—including a Capitol police officer—than in Benghazi, many people are calling for consequences for those who incited the riots.
Whether Cruz can avoid being counted among those responsible remains to be seen.