Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzGrassroots battling establishment on trade at conventions Fixing the disastrous nomination process Attacking Trump for the few sensible things he says is bad strategy MORE (R-Texas) electrified conservatives at the Values Voters Summit in Washington on Friday as he laid out plans for his first day in the White House.
Upon each declaration, Cruz received huge applause and a standing ovation.
“That’s just day one,” Cruz said. “There are 365 days in the year, four years in a presidential term, four years in a second term. By the end of eight years, this ballroom is going to be a whole lot bigger. By the end of eight years, there will be a whole lot of reporters and journalists who have checked themselves into therapy.”
Cruz took a broad message to the estimated 2,500 social conservatives who gathered at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington for the summit. He’s a favorite at the gathering, having won the last two straw polls.
The Texas Republican was right at home pacing the stage with the fire and cadence of a preacher. He loosened up the crowd with a series of barbed jokes, primarily aimed at President Obama, whom he called a communist, and Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton hugs Obama onstage after speech FULL SPEECH: President Obama at the Democratic convention NRA warns: Clinton will steal right to self-defense MORE, whom he said could face jail time.
But Cruz also took aim at Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerDem drops out of race for Boehner's old seat Conservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days MORE (R-Ohio), who just moments before had announced he would resign his speakership.
“You want to know how much either of you terrify Washington?,” he asked. “Yesterday, John BoehnerJohn BoehnerDem drops out of race for Boehner's old seat Conservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days MORE was Speaker of the House. Y'all come to town and somehow that changes. My only request is: Can you come more often?”
Cruz has perhaps the strongest socially conservative bona fides in the field, and he flaunted that advantage by returning frequently to Biblical passages and focusing heavily on religious liberty.
Cruz recounted meeting with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was briefly jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following a Supreme Court's ruling that legalized the practice.
“I said, 'You are being lifted up in prayer by millions of believers across America and across the world,' ” Cruz said. “You may have thought you were alone in that jail cell — you didn’t know how crowded it was.”
Cruz looked beyond his first day in office as well, vowing in subsequent months to “repeal every word of ObamaCare,” rebuild the military, crack down on sanctuary cities and stop the “indefensible practice of releasing criminal illegal aliens,” pass a flat tax and abolish the IRS.
“When conservatives unite, we win,” Cruz declared at the end of his speech to another standing ovation. “We must rise up and say that we the people will defend this last best hope for mankind, this shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.”