Ted Cruz won’t answer straightforward questions about Trump’s relationship to Russia. Approached by MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on the Hill this morning, the senator was asked a relatively simple question: “Is Russia an enemy of the United States?”
“Russia,” Cruz began, with signature bombast, “is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug.”
Hunt cut in immediately. “Do you think that Trump is treating them that way?” she asked.
Cruz reacted as if he’d heard a different question all together. “I think that we have had eight years of Barack Obama showing nothing but appeasement towards Russia.”
Hunt tried again. “President Trump,” she asked, “is not appeasing Russia?”
Cruz veered away yet again. “Part of the irony of this media obsession with Russia,” he said, beginning a long dodge and weave, “is that the Obama administration began with Hillary Clinton bringing a big red reset button to Russia.” He blamed Hillary, he blamed Obama, he blamed John Kerry for doing nothing on when Russia invaded Ukraine.
Hunt, gamely, tried again to get Cruz to discuss the current administration. “President Trump,” she pointed out, “is trying to water down a sanctions bill that you voted for.”
Cruz reacted as though he hadn’t heard her. “The policies of the Obama administration were constant weakness and appeasement,” he continued. He mentioned the Trump administration’s signaling on anti-ballistic missile installations planned in Poland and the Czech Republic. “You know, those were scheduled to go in 10 years ago, and in 2009, in the opening weeks of the Obama administration, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton canceled the anti-ballistic missile batteries in Poland and the Czech Republic. Why? Because they wanted to appease Putin,” he said, content to talk about the past, rather than the present.
He lectured Hunt and he never answered her actual questions.
“I'm glad that the Trump administration is returning to a commonsense defense of our allies against our adversaries,” Cruz said in soaring finish.” I think standing up using all of the tools we have to constrain Putin's and Russia's aggression is a good thing to do, and I think one of the real problems with the Obama/Hillary Clinton foreign policy is that it facilitated Russian aggression. And I'm glad we're not doing that.”
He made no mention of Trump’s actual relationship to Russia. He did not address Trump’s actual Russia policies, let alone ways in which this administration has not just appeased, but cozied up to, Moscow’s strongman.