In a speech broadly outlining his foreign policy vision, Senator Ted Cruz said that “political correctness” is getting Americans killed. Referencing reports that neighbors of the Islamic terrorists in San Bernardino opted to not contact authorities about behavior they found suspicious due to fears of being accused of “racial profiling,” Cruz warned against its dangers. Connecting “political correctness” to President Barack Obama’s refusal to acknowledge the linkages between Islamic terrorism, Islam, and Muslims, Cruz called for clarity in the interest of national security.
“There are many in this country who fear, once again, that we cannot defeat (Islamic terrorism), that to even speak its name labels us bigots,” Cruz said, describing the corrosive effect of Obama’s rhetoric on honest political discourse.
Quoting the most memorable line of the film The Usual Suspects, Cruz said, “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convince the world he didn’t exist.” “It seems that when it comes to President Obama and Hillary Clinton, radical Islamic terrorism is something that just doesn’t exist,” he said.
Bolstering his pro-life bona fides, Cruz pushed back against those who say the mass murder in San Bernardino of 14 was the worst act of terrorism in America since 9/11. Cruz said that 14 people also died at the hands of Islamic terrorist Nidal Hasan when he attacked Fort Hood in 2009. The Fort Hood is often said to have claimed 13 lives. 21-year-old Pfc. Francheska Velez was three months pregnant when she was murdered by Nidal Hasan.
Cruz stated that he was proud to have used his position in the Senate Armed Services Committee to secure Purple Heart medals for the victims of the Fort Hood attack, against Obama’s wishes via the Pentagon. The Obama Administration described the attack as “workplace violence.”
Describing the porous southern border and lax enforcement of immigration laws as compromising national security, Cruz warned that America was “daring” Islamic terrorists to infiltrate the country. Stating that 40% of illegal immigrants are overstaying visas – including one of the 9/11 hijackers – he called for support of his proposal to halt intake of refugees from “terror-ridden” countries. Invoking San Bernardino, Cruz pointed to Tashfeen Malik’s entry into the U.S. on a K-1 immigration visa as another example of Islamic terrorist infiltration of America via existing immigration processes.
Pushing back against the left-wing and Democratic narrative of America “turning its back” on refugees by refusing their admission, Cruz highlighted the nation’s generosity. “While the United States has been the largest donor to the refugee cause by a factor of ten, giving $1.2 billion of taxpayer funds – ten times what any other nation has contributed – we cannot make the mistake of extending the same generosity to the extent of imperiling the safety and security of American citizens,” he said.
Cruz warned against the intentions of those who seek to further erode constitutionally-protected freedoms in pursuit of security. In a thinly-veiled critique of Senator Marco Rubio’s call for expansion of telephonic metadata aggregation by the NSA, he said, “More data, from millions of law-abiding Americans is not always better data.”
“It didn’t stop Fort Hood, it didn’t stop Boston, it didn’t stop Chattanooga, it didn’t stop Garland, and it failed to detect the San Bernardino plot. When the focus of law enforcement and national security is on law-abiding citizens rather than targeting the bad guys, we miss the bad guys, while violating the constitutional rights of American citizens,” Cruz said.
When the government collects “more, and not better” information, Cruz said, abuse becomes more likely. Lois Lerner and the Obama Administration’s weaponization of the IRS to target right-wing, conservative, and religious organizations was used as an example of this “bureaucratic tendency.”
Cruz also criticized Democrats and the left who seek to exploit San Bernardino to further erode the First and Second Amendments. While the events of San Bernardino were still unfolding, Obama called for “gun control” in an interview with CBS. The next day, Attorney General Loretta Lynch vowed to prosecute “anti-Muslim” speech that “edges towards violence.”
Staking out an approach to foreign policy grounded in realism rather than idealism, Cruz called for practical alliances with non-democratic states. He described Obama’s foreign policy as being grounded in the former, framing the toppling of dictators as yielding Islamist governments. The outcomes of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and 2011 oustings of Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak were all characterized as worsening American national security interests. Although the Muslim Brotherhood’s post-Mubarak control of Egypt was overturned in 2013 by the country’s military, Cruz explained, the interim control of the state by Islamists was the result of Obama’s idealistic support for popular revolution. Subtly casting Senator Lindsey’s Graham’s calls for ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the same light, Cruz warned that the power vacuum would likely be filled by ISIS.
Cruz heralded what he described as Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi’s courage, who publicly called for Islamic reform away from radicalism. Unlike Obama, Cruz said, el-Sisi showed clarity in addressing Islamic terrorism.
Praising Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “Churchillian” and “not having time for political correctness”, Cruz quoted his approach to the Syrian civil war, “When two of your enemies are fighting each other, I say don’t strengthen one or the other. I say weaken both, or at least don’t intervene, which is what I’ve done.”
During a brief question and answer period, Mark Halperin of MSNBC, Time, and Bloomberg asked a question ignoring the content of the speech, opting instead to foment drama between Cruz and Donald Trump.