Following significant backlash from the right, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) acknowledged Thursday it was a “mistake” to refer to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as a “violent terrorist attack” during a Senate Rules Committee hearing the day prior.
"We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week," the Texas Republican said. "And it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol, where we saw the men and women of law enforcement demonstrate incredible courage, incredible bravery — risk their lives for the Capitol.”
On Thursday, he attempted to clarify what he meant on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Carlson argued Cruz “told that lie on purpose” since the senator “never use[s] words carelessly.”
“The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and frankly dumb, and--,” the senator said.
“I don’t buy that—whoa, whoa, whoa,” Carlson interjected.
"I've known you a long time since before you went to the Senate. You were a Supreme Court contender," Carlson continued. "You take words as seriously as any man who's ever served in the Senate … I do not believe that you used that accidentally. I just don't."
Cruz nevertheless doubled down on referring to his comments as “sloppy.”
"As a result of my sloppy phrasing, it's caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant. Let me tell you what I meant to say. I was referring to … the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers … I've drawn a distinction. I wasn't saying that the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn't saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting President Trump are terrorists, and that's what a lot of people have misunderstood."
Carlson argued the senator was “playing into the other side’s characterization [of Jan. 6 that] allows them to define an entire population as foreign combatants.”
He demanded to know why Cruz would do that.
The senator said he has always referred to people who assault police officers as terrorists.
"I've used that word for people that violently assault cops. I used that word all in 2020 for the antifa and BLM terrorists that assaulted cops and firebombed police cars, but I agree it was a mistake to use the word yesterday, because the Democrats and the corporate media have so politicized it,” Cruz said.
But none of Cruz’s excuses seemed to sit well with Carlson.
"I guess I just don't believe you,” he declared, “because I have such respect for your acuity and your precision, and I've seen it on display. I've covered you as a reporter. I know how you speak, and you have sat there for a year and watched people use language to distort the events of that day."
Ted Cruz explains his "terrorist attack" comment. pic.twitter.com/0xRbmOc5Si— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) January 7, 2022
I have never seen an MSNBC or CNN anchor take apart a progressive the way Tucker Carlson did with Ted Cruz tonight.— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) January 7, 2022
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