Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday dodged questions about President Trump’s Russia policies in the wake of reports that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer after being promised dirt on Hillary Clinton in June 2016.
“Washington is obsessed right now,” Cruz told reporters. “It is the Democratic talking point du jour. But when I go back to Texas, nobody asks about Russia. You know, I held town halls all over the state of Texas. You know how many questions I got on Russia? Zero.”
It was unclear if Cruz was speaking before or after Donald Trump Jr. published on Twitter what he claimed was the full email chain that led to his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. In the emails, family acquaintance Rob Goldstone told Trump that the promised information was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“It’s just worth keeping in mind the absolute disconnect between the obsession of the Washington media and where the American people are— ” Cruz began.
“You’re not concerned about possible collusion or coordination with Russian officials and Trump officials?” CNN’s Manu Raju asked. “The Russians interfered with the election and that’s the intelligence community— ”
“You’re being very persistent and I suppose that’s your job,” Cruz responded. “But let me point out the American people want the President to succeed.”
Still, reporters persisted.
“Is Russia an enemy of the United States?” MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt asked.
“Russia is a significant adversary,” Cruz began. “Putin is a KGB thug— ”
“Do you think that Trump is treating them that way?” Hunt interjected.
Cruz repeatedly avoided answering the question, speaking instead about the Obama administration.
“I think that we have had eight years of Barack Obama showing nothing but appeasement towards Russia— ”
“President Trump is not appeasing Russia?” Hunt asked.
“Actually, if you look on substance, part of the irony of this media obsession with Russia, is that the Obama administration began with Hillary Clinton bringing a big red reset button to Russia, saying they were going to reset the relationship with Russia, so she and Obama were going to be friends with the Russians,” Cruz said. “That’s how they began.”
“President Trump is trying to water down a sanctions bill you voted for,” Hunt interjected, referring to the a sanctions bill that received near unanimous support in the Senate recently.
“The policies of the Obama administration were constant weakness and appeasement,” Cruz again, before praising the Trump administration for its “intention to go forward with placing anti-ballistic missile batteries in Poland in the Czech Republic.”