After accepting an endorsement from an activist who has called for the “execution” of abortion providers, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said on Monday that he has never met an anti-abortion activist who has advocated for violence.
“I have never met, not once, a single pro-life activist who is in favor of violence of any sort. Have you, Senator Cruz?” conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked the Texas senator.
“I have not,” Cruz responded. “And I would note that this whole episode has really displayed the ugly underbelly of the nation.”
But days before the Planned Parenthood shooting, Cruz secured an endorsement from someone who has repeatedly advocated for murdering abortion providers, ThinkProgress reported Monday. Troy Newman, who Cruz’s campaign claims is “a driving force in the recent effort to expose Planned Parenthood’s alleged sale of baby parts in a series of undercover videos,” has written that the entire country is “blood-guilty” for its failure to kill “abortionists” and has criticized the conviction of a man who murdered a Florida abortion doctor.
Cruz did not mention the endorsement in his interview with Hewitt. But he did go on to assert that most violent criminals are Democrats.
“Every time you have some sort of violent crime or mass killing, you can almost see the media salivating, hoping, hoping desperately that the murderer happens to be a Republican so they can use it to try to paint their political enemies,” he continued. “Here’s the simple and undeniable fact: the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.”
Planned Parenthood shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, reportedly told authorities “no more baby parts,” after he killed three people at a clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday. His former wife told the New York Times that he was politically conservative, owned guns, and opposed abortion, although he did not frequently discuss those issues. Since the shooting, Planned Parenthood has accused GOP candidates like Cruz of contributing to the creation of a “toxic environment” that provoked the attack.
But when asked by a reporter about the connection on Sunday, Cruz said that Dear has been reported to be a “transgendered [sic] leftist activist,” a false allegation that had been circulating on conservative websites.
Cruz’s claim that the “overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats” also echoes other race-baiting language he has used throughout his campaign. He has said that the Black Lives Matter movement, a group that is peacefully protesting the killings of black men and women by law enforcement, is “literally suggesting and embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers.” And he has crusaded against the “war on police” and the so-called Ferguson effect, despite the fact that the connection between police protests and heightened crime is widely discredited, including by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.