Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz praised Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Monday over his recent pledge to vote against the Build Back Better Act and said that Democrats' "nasty" responses to the news could lead the moderate Democrat to join the Republican Party.
Manchin said Sunday during a Fox News interview that he "cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation," prompting staunch criticisms from the White House and Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate.
"I think Joe's decision was the right decision. I think it's a really big deal," Cruz told Fox News at Turning Point USA's AmericaFest in Phoenix. "The Build Back Broke Bill was a disaster. It was a train wreck. It was Bernie Sanders' socialist budget. It was trillions in new spending, trillions in new debt, trillions in new taxes, it would have driven inflation through the roof."
"We've already got inflation exploding across the country," he continued. "And it was reckless and irresponsible. And you know what, the people of West Virginia don't want it. Manchin did the right thing. He actually represented the men and women of his state."
Cruz, noting the "nasty" and "vicious" responses to Manchin's announcement from a number of Democrats, said the Democratic Party's vileness could lead the West Virginia senator to consider a party switch.
"A lot of folks ask, 'Well, gosh, is Manchin going to become a Republican? I hope he does. I've asked him to. I think every Republican senator has made that case a dozen times to Joe," Cruz said. "I will say I think it's a tough hill for him to climb. He's just culturally- he's a Democrat. He's been a Democrat his whole life and he's really the godfather of Democrats in West Virginia. So I get why switching parties, that's hard. That being said, if they're nasty enough, the best thing that could happen is they could drive him over to the Republican Party and we would welcome him."
The Republican also spoke of an instance on the Senate floor between Manchin and a group of GOP lawmakers, with a suggestion made that they make the Democrat "the chairman of the committee on everything" and how Cruz told Manchin, "Look, one of the two parties actually likes you," which caused Manchin to "roar" with laugher.
"We like him! He's a very nice, affable guy. And if they're hateful enough, they might convince him there's no longer a home for him," Cruz said during the Monday interview.
Additionally, Cruz slammed the "arrogant" White House press secretary Jen Psaki for "insulting" Manchin from the White House podium and criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the "mountains of nastiness" directed toward the West Virginia Democrat.
"I'm a big believer in you get more flies with honey than with vinegar," Cruz said. "And they're certainly throwing a lot of vinegar at him right now."