Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump defends several unsubstantiated claims in truth interview Budowsky: Trump’s war against truth Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing MORE (R-Texas) is hammering the Obama administration this weekend for a prisoner swap he says puts America at risk.
"We celebrate all of them coming home. But at the same time, this deal is a really problematic deal and it reflects a pattern we've seen in the Obama administration over and over again of negotiating with terrorists and making deals and trades that endanger U.S. safety and security," Cruz said in an interview with "Fox News Sunday."
"This deal, to bring back Americans who were wrongly imprisoned, we released seven terrorists who had helped Iran with their nuclear program, and we agreed not to prosecute another 14 terrorists for doing the same thing," he added.
"That's 21 terrorists helping Iran develop nuclear weapons that they intend to use to try to murder us."
Announced Saturday, the delicate swap deal yielded the release of four Americans held by Tehran for years, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. In exchange, the administration released seven Iranians held on sanctions-related charges.
The agreement came just days after 10 Navy sailors were captured, and quickly released, by Tehran after they broached Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf.
Cruz said the capture of the sailors was a direct reflection of the "weakness" of President Obama on foreign policy.
He vowed that his first focus if he wins the White House would be to accelerate the fight against terrorism.
"I will apologize to no one for how vigorous I will be winning the war on terror, defeating radical Islamic terrorism," he told Fox's Chris Wallace. "We will start by having a president willing to acknowledge our enemy [and] say it by its name, which President Obama and Hillary Clinton have refused to do."
Pressed about his opposition to legislation funding the Defense Department, Cruz said his vote has hinged on the absence of a provision barring "the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil."
"I promised the people of Texas that I would not support a defense authorization act that has within it language authorizing the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil," he said.
"Honoring the promise I made to the mean and women who elected me is my first obligation.
"I would like to support it at the end," he added. "If they would add the protection for the civil rights of Americans, I would support it in a heartbeat."