Ted Cruz is fuming about the Trump administration's lawlessness: 'Follow the damn law'
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) did not hide his outrage at the Trump administration's handling of a recent arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Wednesday.
During a Senate Foreign Relations hearing on Wednesday, the Texas senator tore into the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper for the administration's lawlessness.
In May, President Donald Trump declared an emergency to bypass Congress and sell arms directly to the Middle East countries. It claimed the threat from Iran justified the extraordinary measure of circumventing a law that requires congressional approval for such sales. But since there has been no apparent emergency, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers — even Cruz, who typically sides with Trump on almost everything — were outraged.
He noted that he has previously opposed bipartisan efforts to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
"I voted with the administration on the substance because of the threat of Iran but I'll tell you from my end, if the administration does it again and there is not a live and exigent emergency, you will not have my vote and I predict you will not have the vote of a number of other Republicans as well," he said. "The simpler process is: Follow the damn law and respect it."
Further demolishing the administration's claims of an "emergency," Cooper admitted that in the 47 days since the decision was made to go around Congress, the arms have still not be delivered.
The State Department "process" behind this decision was "crap," Cruz said.
"Under the law, under the Arms Export Control Act, the administration needs congressional approval and has a 30-day notification period," the Texas Republican continued. "And for whatever reason, the administration in what seems to me a not fully baked decision process decided to circumvent the law, decided to circumvent the constitutional responsibility of Congress and act unilaterally."
He added: "And don't make the mistake of thinking that it is simply Democrats who are concerned about this."
Democrats, too, expressed their displeasure at the administration's actions.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) told Cooper the State Department has shown "disdain for Congress and the laws that govern our arms export programs."
While Cruz's outrage in this instance is welcome, it's absence has been glaring on many other occasions. As he said, he has continued to support the Trump administration's backing of Saudi Arabia and continued provision of arms to the Kingdom, despite the humanitarian crisis it has caused in Yemen with the aid of American weapons and the international scandal involving Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman's apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Cruz also continually turns his heads at all of Trump's other abuses of power — as documented in the Mueller report and elsewhere — so he shouldn't act surprised when the president overrides congressional prerogatives.