NY Times columnist Bret Stephens calls Ted Cruz ‘a serpent covered in Vaseline’

NY Times columnist Bret Stephens calls Ted Cruz ‘a serpent covered in Vaseline’
© Greg Nash

Conservative New York Times columnist Brett Stephens on Tuesday delivered a scathing review of Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan NRA says Trump administration memo a 'non-starter' Barr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks MORE (R-Texas), calling the former GOP presidential candidate "a serpent covered in Vaseline."

Stephens, who has long opposed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE and his supporters, did not mince words in an interview with fellow Times opinion columnist Gail Collins, saying he "depise[s]" Cruz. 

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"He’s like a serpent covered in Vaseline," Stephens explained. "Because he treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats." 

"Because he sucks up to the guy who insulted his wife — by retweet, no less," he continued, referring to Cruz's support of Trump following the president's tweet comparing Cruz's wife's appearance to Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMelania Trump to ring stock exchange opening bell on Monday On The Money: Fed delivers second rate cut to fend off global risks | Trump says Fed has 'no guts' | House gets deal on continuing resolution | GM faces bipartisan backlash amid strike Washington Monument reopens after three years of repairs MORE's. 

"Because of his phony piety and even phonier principles," Stephens said. "Because his ethics are purely situational. Because he makes Donald Trump look like a human being by comparison."

"Because his fellow politicians detest him, and that’s just among Republicans," he said. "Because he never got over being the smartest kid in eighth grade."

"Because he’s the type of man who would sell his family into slavery if that’s what it took to get elected," Stephens, who has aligned himself with "never-Trump" conservatives since the beginning of Trump's presidential campaign, added. "And that he would use said slavery as a sob story to get himself reelected." 

Stephens earlier in the interview expressed support for Cruz's opponent, Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll CNN announces details for LGBTQ town hall Manchin: 'Beto O'Rourke is not taking my guns away from me' MORE (D-Texas), noting he likes "the idea that Texas can turn a bit purple if you have a candidate with energy, wit and a human touch." 

Recent polls have shown Cruz leading O'Rourke by a narrow margin, a surprising feat for a Democrat in deep-red Texas.

Cruz on Monday evening was chased out of a Washington, D.C., restaurant by protesters opposed to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.