Sen. Ted Cruz turned off his social media rant button and spoke in more measured tones on CNBC’s Squawk Box, but that’s not to say Cruz didn’t stay on the attack.
Cruz slammed President Biden‘s initial approach to the debt ceiling talks — his early refusal to conflate forward-looking budgetary issues with the already-accrued debt (while House Speaker Kevin McCarthy wielded the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge) — as “obviously unreasonable.”
President Joe Biden should listen to Vice President Joe Biden.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 23, 2023
We need to rein in spending! pic.twitter.com/vwCFAy7hDK
Then Cruz sought to place former Vice President Joe Biden in opposition to the 2023 Joe Biden who occupies the Oval Office, pointing out that in 2011 VP Biden was instrumental in negotiating a deal that helped Congress pass a debt limit raise, working with Mitch McConnell and the House to do it.
Sounds like a compliment on Biden’s abilities, until Cruz follows it by again harshly slamming Biden and saying he fears this time Biden’s not “up to the task.” Cruz asserts that he doesn’t think Biden is “engaged in the negotiations personally and directly.”
Why? To answer, Cruz goes full smear mode, saying Biden’s “mental capacities are markedly diminished from where they were just a few years ago.”
[NOTE: The Cruz smear comes despite Speaker McCarthy’s reporting that Biden and he have made progress and that both expect a deal to result from their personal meetings at the White House.]
Then Cruz, who despite the modulated voice is still hurling aspersions, says he thinks the decisions being made in the White House are being made by “twenty-and thirtysomething little Marxists who don’t have appreciation for reality.”
In separate tweets, however, Cruz gives Biden credit for having a distinct negotiating strategy and implies that the President is working the negotiations with intent — and employing scare tactics.
Cruz writes: “America should NEVER default on our debt — Joe Biden could ensure that! But why won’t Biden do that? Biden wants to scaremonger.” Cruz describes a bold strategy from a man he just described as a diminished political player.