CNN's Dana Bash asked Cruz in an interview that aired Thursday why he didn't do a "real" speaking filibuster for the debt limit bill, like he infamously did in October in an attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act.
"I'll tell you several people raised a question just like you did there, 'Why are you trying to throw five Republicans under the bus and make them vote for raising the debt ceiling?'" Cruz said. "And I'll tell you my response. My response is, I don't want to throw any Republicans under the bus. I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents."
Twelve Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), voted with Democrats for cloture on a bill raising the debt ceiling after Cruz's filibuster forced a 60-vote threshold to end debate.
Even if he says he didn't want to politically damage other Senate Republicans, Cruz told Bash that saving face by agreeing to let the debt limit hike pass with 51 votes would have tricked constituents.
"Republican leadership said we want this to pass, but if every senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote 'no' and we can go home to our constituents and say we opposed it," he said. "And listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the constituents is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating.”
Watch below, courtesy of CNN: