Cruz on Loretta Lynch: Absence is a no vote
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Republicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost US has seen 45 mass shootings in the past month MORE (R-Texas) said Thursday that his absence during last week’s confirmation of Attorney General Loretta Lynch was the same as voting against her.

“There was no significance to the final vote, and I had a scheduling conflict,” Cruz said, according to media reports.

“Under the Senate rules, absence is the equivalent of a no vote,” the 2016 GOP presidential candidate added. “It is identical procedurally.”

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Senators confirmed Lynch as the nation’s new attorney general on April 23 in a 56-43 vote. Cruz, a notable opponent of her nomination, said Thursday he abstained because a majority of Republicans had backed her selection for the position.

“I flew back to Washington to speak on the Senate floor, passionately speaking against confirming Loretta Lynch,” he said. “But unfortunately, leadership chose to go a different direction."

Lynch’s confirmation ended a standoff over her qualifications lasting over 160 days. Cruz was the only senator absent during the final vote.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMedia complicity in rise of the 'zombie president' conspiracy Trump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Senators in the dark on parliamentarian's decision MORE (R-Texas) subtly rebuked Cruz’s decision in a tweet issued on April 25. In it, he discounted Cruz’s earlier explanation that a cloture vote over Lynch’s candidacy was the only vote that mattered.

“FYI: Cloture ends debate only,” he wrote.

“It does not confirm a nominee,” Cornyn said. “Otherwise a subsequent vote to confirm a nominee is meaningless.”

Cruz’s no-show was the latest in a series of missed Senate votes.

Between January and March, he missed more votes than any other senator besides Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison White House races clock to beat GOP attacks MORE (D-Nev.), who was recovering from injury, and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference Senators reintroduce bill to block NATO withdrawal New US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations MORE (R-Fla.), another 2016 GOP contender.

The Texas lawmaker missed 20 of 28 Senate roll call votes in April, according to GovTrack.