Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas faced calls for his resignation Wednesday as Texas Democrats said his leading role in efforts to block the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory empowered the pro-Donald Trump rioters who breached the Capitol and disrupted the certification process.
“He has conducted himself shamelessly, and I think he has done this because he believes it’s the only way, the only chance that he has to win the Republican nomination for president,” Joaquin Castro said from the Capitol in a virtual interview with The Texas Tribune on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Cruz led GOP lawmakers’ dispute to certify Arizona’s electoral votes. Trump encouraged his supporters to attend rallies in Washington on Wednesday and gave a speech again falsely claiming he’d been reelected before throngs of his backers later breached security and entered the Capitol, where police fatally shot a woman, according to The Washington Post.
Cruz quickly denounced the rioters’ actions.
But in Cruz’s hometown of Houston, leaders were not happy with him. Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote on Twitter that, “Texans should hold Sen. Ted Cruz accountable for this fiasco.”
Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo echoed that sentiment.
“Shame on you @tedcruz, @GOPLeader, and all who fed the false narrative about our election, which has led to what we are witnessing in our Nation’s Capitol,” Acevedo wrote on Twitter. “You fanned the flames of mistrust and history will hold you accountable for the ensuing chaos. Outrageous!”
As the pandemonium persisted throughout the afternoon in Washington, Cruz’s campaign sent out fundraising text and email messages to his supporters.
“I’m leading the fight to reject electors from key states unless there is an emergency audit of the election results,” the message read. “Will you stand with me?”
An aide to Cruz said the messages were sent “from a firm” and not approved by Cruz to be sent.
Left-leaning group Progress Texas also urged Cruz to drop his challenge of the Electoral College vote Wednesday.
“Cruz’s act of political theater has brought domestic terrorism to our nation’s capitol, which is why he needs to drop the challenge immediately,” executive director Ed Espinoza said in a statement.
. Juan Pablo Garnham and Kate McGee also contributed to report.
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