Cruz asks Trump FAA pick to 'be pissed off' about Boeing crash deaths

Cruz asks Trump FAA pick to 'be pissed off' about Boeing crash deaths
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump, Democrats risk unintended consequences with impeachment arguments Impeachment trial to enter new phase with Trump defense Jordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week MORE (R-Texas) on Wednesday pressed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE's nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to, if confirmed, "be pissed off" over the deaths of more than 300 people in two Boeing 737 Max jet crashes and act on that feeling.

At a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Cruz told Steve Dickson to battle what Cruz called "bureaucratic inertia" that prevented the FAA from exercising stronger oversight.

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"If you are confirmed getting to the FAA, the easiest thing to do will be to do nothing," Cruz told Dickson. "Bureaucratic inertia is powerful, and the natural instincts of any agency is protect itself, protect the status quo, and admit no wrongdoing."

"What I’m asking you to do, if confirmed, is be pissed off that 346 people died," he added.

Cruz went on to accuse the FAA of allowing a "serious breakdown in the certification process" of the Boeing 737 Max jets, which were grounded worldwide earlier this year after a second fatal crash involving such jets in just six months killed 157 people in Ethiopia.

"So, Mr. Dickson, I would ask you not to give in to the natural bureaucratic reaction to defend what happens," Cruz said. "But instead, ask seriously ... whether we could have prevented these crashes."

Dickson, a former Delta executive, was nominated in March to serve as the FAA's next administrator. The agency he is set to join faces heavy scrutiny from the U.S. and other countries that fly 737 Max jets as it determines whether the planes will be safe to fly commercially once again.

His nomination is one of the few on Capitol Hill with bipartisan support, as Democrats, including Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDemocrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover-up,' 'national disgrace' Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Senate Dems urge Esper to oppose shifting Pentagon money to border wall MORE (Hawaii), have signaled support for his confirmation.

"This I think is something we might be able to do on a bipartisan basis," Schatz told Politico last month.