Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz was criticized for hypocrisy after he defended a bill he introduced that would cap Senate terms at two even as he seeks a third term for himself.
During an interview on the CBS News program Face the Nation, host Margaret Brennan asked Cruz about his decision to run for a third term, questioning why he is doing the very thing his bill would restrict.
Cruz described himself as "a passionate defender of term limits" but said he is not "going to unilaterally comply" until the legislation actually passes.
You can hear what Cruz said in the video below.
When Brennan asked Cruz why he is not "holding [himself] to [the] standard" outlined in his bill, Cruz responded:
"Listen, I'm a passionate defender of term limits."
"I think that Congress would work much better if every Senator were limited to two terms if every House member were limited to three terms. I've introduced a constitutional amendment to put that into the Constitution."
But when Brennan pointed out he is "still running," Cruz gave a hypocritical answer for the ages.
"If and when it passes, I will happily, happily comply."
"I've never said I'm going to unilaterally comply."
He also did not answer Brennan directly when she asked him if he intends to run for the White House in 2024.
Cruz insteadattackied "the socialists" and "the swamp" he claimed are making things worse in Washington.
"I'll tell you what, when the socialists and when the swamp are ready to leave Washington, I will be more than happy to comply by the same rules that apply for everyone."
"But until then, I'm going to keep fighting for 30 million Texans because that's the job they've asked me to do."
These statements are a stark about-face from ones Cruz made last month when he introduced the bill and said term limits would offer "accountability that is long overdue."
At the time, Cruz called term limits "critical to fixing what's wrong with Washington, DC." and claimed the Founding Fathers would have been aghast at a system of "permanently entrenched politicians who prey upon the brokenness of Washington to govern in a manner that is totally unaccountable to the American people."
After his Face the Nation appearance, Cruz posted a clip and again claimed he is "fighting for 30 million Texans."
However, Cruz was harshly criticized for his hypocrisy.
A term limit is a legal restriction that limits the number of total terms or consecutive terms an officeholder may serve in a particular elected office.
When term limits are found in presidential and semi-presidential systems they act as a method of curbing the potential for dictators rising to power, where a leader effectively becomes "president for life" such Vladimir Putin in Russia, the Kim family in North Korea and Xi Jinping in China.
When the 22nd Amendment of the United States Constitution was ratified in 1951, it formally established the two-term plus no more than half of another person's term limit for Presidents. This allows a Vice President who ascends to the presidency to be elected to two terms as President if they served less than two years of the prior President's term.
While Americans largely support term limits—for instance, a November 2022 Ipsos poll found two-thirds of Americans "agree that there should be upper-age limits for service" for Presidents and federal office holders in the executive branch—there are no term limits in place for Representatives or Senators in the legislative branch nor Supreme Court justices in the judicial branch.
As they pertain to Congress, laws to enforce term limits were struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court when the court ruled state governments cannot limit the terms of members of the federal government.