WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of last week's mob violence at the U.S. Capitol, the calls for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to be punished for his leading role in challenging the presidential electors are now building to a crescendo.
To be sure, the central figure of blame is President Donald Trump, who the Democratically controlled House is expected to impeach Wednesday for inciting insurrection — with support from at least one Republican leader, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
But the blowback to Cruz, who gave Trump supporters false hope of a way to undo the election of Democrat Joe Biden, continues.
Many lawmakers — including GOP senators — opinion makers and Texas editorial boards are calling for Cruz to resign, be expelled, be censured, be disbarred or, at a minimum, be taken off the Senate Judiciary Committee while the riot that resulted in six deaths is investigated. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., wants Cruz on a “no fly” list.
His national reputation — and presidential ambition — has taken a hit, with 71% of Americans in an ABC News/Ipsos poll saying they do not trust him to protect democracy.
And Tuesday, Cruz communications director Lauren Bianchi resigned after holding the job for 18 months because, as first reported by Punchbowl News, she was “uncomfortable” with his challenge of the election results, which were certified by each state.
Cruz is standing his ground, saying that his plan to investigate alleged voting irregularities — even after those claims were rejected by state officials who conducted recounts and courts from coast to coast — was “the right approach.”
"The purpose of the objection was to protect the integrity of our election,” he told KTRK-TV, the ABC affiliate in Houston, after the riot. “Eleven senators came together and proposed that the Congress create an election commission that would be credible, impartial, and could conduct an emergency 10-day audit into the election returns into the very serious allegations of voter fraud that could consider the evidence and make a definitive adjudication.”
After the riot, lawmakers returned to their chambers to vote and eight different senators challenged the electors of at least one state.
“I still think that would have been the right approach," Cruz said.