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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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Sen. Ted Cruz faces calls for resignation following Capitol riot


Lawmakers and political organizations, including College Democrats at UH, are calling for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to resign for his alleged role in the  Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, which coincided with his objection to certifying election results. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Lawmakers and political organizations, including College Democrats at UH, are calling for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to resign for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, which coincided with his objection to certifying election results. | Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Calls for Sen. Ted Cruz to resign or to be censured have mounted in the weeks following his objection to the certification of presidential election results on Jan. 6, which took place on the same day as the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  

Along with Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Cruz has come under fire from lawmakers for lending legitimacy to the Donald Trump supporters who illegally entered the Capitol.

Senate Democrats, led by Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, have requested an ethics investigation into Cruz’s and Hawley’s alleged roles in the Capitol attack.  

“There’s a lot of anger inside Congress right now from both parties about what happened,” said UH political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus.

“Some of that anger is being directed at the senators and members of the House who enabled the president to make these unfounded claims and amplified these unfounded claims,” Rottinghaus added.

The ethics investigation will look into the senators’ knowledge of plans for the Jan. 6 rally, whether they or their staffers contacted rally organizers and whether the senators received donations from the rally’s funders.

The goal? To determine if Cruz’s and Hawley’s behavior was “unethical” or “improper.” 

Cruz denounced the violence, but stood firm in his objections to certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. 

Despite calls for him to leave office, don’t expect Cruz to resign anytime soon. No stranger to controversy, Cruz’s feeling “like he’s got a firm base of support in Texas” makes his resignation an unlikely outcome, Rottinghaus said. 

“There have been these kinds of calls in the past when he’s done things like shutting down the government or other kinds of outlandish claims,” Rottinghaus said. 

“I guess you would have to see full repudiation from every member of the party, and you’d have to see his key backers saying they will no longer support him in the next election, so it would have to cut off his political support and his financial support, to be able to convince him that he would not be a viable candidate,” Rottinghaus added.

On campus, Cruz’s objection to election results and potential part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot have sparked conversations on both sides of the aisle for politically affiliated student organizations. 

College Republicans at UH openly condemned the violent mob’s actions on social media, stating that challenging election results “is not equivalent to storming the Capitol.” 

College Republicans president Natalia Melo Malfitano stands by Cruz’s objections to election results.

The organization itself also called for Congress to object to the certification of election results in December, in light of what Malfitano referred to as “the undoubtedly substantial fraud that occurred in this election.” 

“At no time did (Cruz) call for any sort of violence to be done or anything close to storming the Capitol,” Malfitano said.

“Unlike many other senators, Ted Cruz was listening to the American people … He was voted in to be a representative of the American people, and that’s how he was using his voice,” Malfitano added.

No credible evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election has been found.

Investigations by election officials, former Attorney General William Barr and various media outlets have unearthed no proof to substantiate the claims of election fraud by former President Donald Trump that Cruz and Hawley support. 

College Democrats at UH has called for Cruz to stop what he’s doing and resign “because of the danger that (his) irresponsible actions have caused,” said finance chair for College Democrats Henry Teccsi. 

“We’ve been very firm on our stance that these talks of conspiracy theory have all been disproven and that to preserve our democracy, we cannot throw out talks of stolen and fraudulent election every time a party loses,” Teccsi said. 

“As long as Cruz fails to accept the results of the election, the same people who stormed the capitol will continue to be energized as they feel that the fight is winnable.”

While Cruz weathers this latest controversy, his chances for Senate re-election and for the success of a potential presidential bid in 2024 remain unclear. 

“It cuts both ways for Senator Cruz: he both is going to get the benefit of the rage that’s pulsing through the Republican party,” Rottinghaus said.

“But also he’s going to get the backlash from people who see him and his fellow Republicans who backed Donald Trump’s unfounded claims about the election as being problematic and leading to violence,” Rottinghaus added.

“A lot’s going to change in the next four years… But if the current trend continues, most of the political and economic world are moving away from Donald Trump and those that enabled him.

“So it’s going to be a challenge for Ted Cruz to be able to win an election because of his association with Donald Trump and with the claims that have been unfounded on the 2020 election.”               

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