Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) says his staff has suffered abuse from indecent fans of Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant More than 10,000 migrants await processing under bridge in Texas Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State MORE (R-Texas) making “vile” calls to his office.
King said “women and young interns” in his office have had to deal with rude language from Cruz supporters with a “really low mentality.”
“Some of the calls repeat things I’ve heard in locker rooms,” King told The Hill.
“I wonder why Cruz is running on Christian values, given his supporters feel they have the right to talk this way,” King added.
King acknowledged that Cruz, who launched a campaign for the White House on Monday, could not account for every one of his supporters.
Still, he said it was telling that boorish individuals were drawn to the Texas lawmaker.
“This is what happens when you attack Ted Cruz,” King argued. “I can understand people being aggravated but not the type of vile remarks we’ve been receiving.”
The New York lawmaker said his staff had received “certainly hundreds” of calls containing profanities and vulgarities. The harassers did not discriminate between his Washington and New York offices, he added.
King concluded that he could not envision fans of other Republican likely 2016 presidential contenders — such as Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.) or Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) — acting so dishonorably.
Earlier Friday, King told The Washington Post that his employees were receiving "vulgar, rabid and adolescent" phone calls from Cruz supporters that he characterized as "perverse rantings."
Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler on Friday declined to comment about King’s remarks.
“Since you won’t find a clip or a quote of Senator Cruz ‘returning fire’ on a Republican colleague, we won’t start now,” Tyler said in a statement.
On Monday, King said Cruz was more of a “sideshow entertainer” than a “leader of the free world.”
“It was an attempt at humor,” King told The Hill of those comments. “It was sarcasm. It wasn’t profane and has no double-meaning.”
Cruz is the first official entrant into what is likely to be a crowded 2016 field for the GOP. At least 19 other Republicans, including King, have also expressed interest in running.
King said last year he would run just to prevent Tea Party darlings like Cruz or Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) from becoming president.
Updated at 4:21 p.m.