Cruz’s Dad: Northeastern Catholics, Jews Put Being Dems Above Religion

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June 22, 2015 1:08 p.m.

Rafael Cruz, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father, on Saturday said that northeastern Jews and Catholics put their allegiance to the Democratic Party ahead of their religion.

“Unfortunately, in the northeast, the Jews are Democrats first and Jews second,” he said at an event on Saturday held by the Palm Beach County Tea Party. “This is what has happened to a great many in the Catholic church. They are Democrats first and Catholics second.”

Rafael Cruz said that Americans “need to put principle above tradition.”

“There are people voting Democrat because, ‘My grandfather or my father voted Democrat.’ Let me tell you something. The Democratic party today is not the Democratic party of John Kennedy. John Kennedy would be a Republican today,” he said.

He made the comments in response to a remark from an audience member lamenting that leaders in the Catholic church have not helped the Republican cause. The comments were flagged by the Democratic group American Bridge.

“Too many pastors and priests have not been shepherds. They’ve been too scared hiding behind their pulpit,” Rafael said in response, adding that during the Holocaust, the Church turned a blind eye to Hitler’s actions.

“The Church, which was a very potent force in Germany at the time, was responsible for crossing their hands and doing nothing,” he said.

Rafael is not officially part of Ted Cruz’s campaign team, but he often appears with his son at events and is known for making controversial remarks.

A spokesperson for Cruz’s presidential campaign did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Watch a clip of Rafael Cruz’s remarks, courtesy of American Bridge:

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