By Ben Jacobs/Culled from The Guardian (UK)/
Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has condemned the growing wave of campus protests in the US as a product of “pampered teenagers who are scared of an idea that challenges their world view”.
Speaking to the Guardian on a swing through Iowa, the 44-year-old Texas senator – increasingly seen as a potential unity candidate for Republicans – was disdainful of protesters who staged an occupation protest last month at his alma mater, Princeton.
Students have called for the Wilson School of Public and International Affairs on campus to be stripped of the name of two-term Democratic president Woodrow Wilson because of his racism and efforts to promote segregation in the federal workforce.
“I think it is more than a little ironic that the activities are targeting a leftist progressive Democrat like Woodrow Wilson,” Cruz said. “I am not a fan of Woodrow Wilson. I think his policies did a great deal of damage to this country, but that being said I think the protesters at Princeton who are embracing this radical political correctness where they are claiming a right to be offended at anything they deem contrary to their vision of the world – that is completely antithetical to the mission of a university.”
…the idea that we should somehow be sanitizing our history because our ears are too fragile to recognize that the course of human existence has been a complicated course beset with human frailty – that undermines the entire purpose of a university.”
Wilson was a key figure in American political history, overseeing the creation of the Federal Reserve and leading the US in the first world war, but campus protesters have targeted his well-documented racism, which included firing many black government employees.
Cruz said: “Was Woodrow Wilson an unmitigated racist? Of course he was. Should we denounce it and call it out for what it was? Yes. But the idea that we should somehow be sanitizing our history because our ears are too fragile to recognize that the course of human existence has been a complicated course beset with human frailty – that undermines the entire purpose of a university.”
In the wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, Cruz also declined to weigh in on efforts to implement a mandatory reporting system for police-involved shootings. The federal government currently does not collect data on these incidents. Through The Counted project, the Guardian has tallied more than 1,000 people killed by the police in the US. FBI director James Comey has said it is “unacceptable” that the Guardian has better information on this subject than the federal government. Cruz simply said: “I am a big defender of the first amendment and the rights of journalists to pursue stories, I think that is important,” adding that tracking police-involved shootings was “the Guardian’s prerogative”.
He condemned what he called “a very problematic tendency under the Obama administration of vilifying police officers” and said “there is absolutely a Ferguson effect”, linking the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement to rising crime rates in minority communities.
Cruz noted that Baltimore had a drastic increase in murders after the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray in April. “After the riots there were 45 murders in the city of Baltimore in July. It was the bloodiest month in Baltimore history since the 1970s,” said Cruz. “Of those 45 murders, 43 of those victims were African Americans, so you look at a movement like Black Lives Matter – of course black lives matter – and what about those 43 African Americans who lost their lives to murders?”
Cruz saw Democratic contempt for law enforcement as a phenomena that was not exclusive to the Obama administration. He cited the December 2014 funeral “when the NYPD stood up and turned their backs on Mayor de Blasio” as “a moment that stood out and cut through”.
On the question of Syrian refugees, Cruz, a vocal opponent of admitting any to the US, thought the solution was simple. “America needs to lead,” he said. “We should destroy Isis. That would go a long way towards ending this refugee crisis.”
He insisted that the US could demonstrate that “we are a compassionate and loving people who are responding to this crisis” without allowing any refugees to enter the country.
The Texas Republican also continued to refuse to criticize Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. Cruz connected Trump to the increased viewership of the televised presidential debates. “I am very grateful for Donald Trump for bringing all those millions of extra eyeballs to the debate and giving people a chance to hear my message,” he said. Cruz also praised the real-estate mogul for “attracting so much energy and passion to the race”.
However, Cruz said he felt the questioning about Trump was merely academic. “I don’t think Donald Trump is going to be the nominee,” said Cruz. “I like Donald, I respect Donald. I don’t believe he is going to be the nominee.” Instead, the Republican firebrand was convinced that it would be him leading the GOP in November 2016.