(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sen. Ted Cruz said after the State of the Union address that President Barack Obama’s Iran policy could lead to a nuclear weapon being detonated over a major U.S. city.
“I thought that was one of the most dangerous things in the entire speech,” Cruz said of Obama’s commitment to veto new Iran sanctions as talks continue with the international community. “What I fear is that we’re making the mistakes of the past — the same mistakes the Clinton administration made with North Korea. With North Korea, we relaxed the sanctions in exchange for amorphous promises, and the billions that North Korea received in relaxed sanctions, they used to develop nuclear weapons.
“The risk is unacceptable. When you have the leaders of a nation who have said, among other things, they intend to drive Israel into the sea and wipe them off the face of the map — if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, the risk is unacceptable that that weapon will be detonated over the skies of Tel Aviv or New York or Los Angeles,” Cruz said. “The results could be hundreds of thousands of innocent lives lost.”
That kind of rhetoric will get attention, with Cruz explaining his case about how the North Korean regime controlling nuclear weapons is less of a threat than Iran.
“What makes this much, much more dangerous than North Korea is, at the end of the day, Kim Jong Un wants to stay in power more than anything else, and for someone that wants to stay in power, deterrence is possible,” Cruz argued, saying the same may not be true of the Iranian leadership.
Cruz did find some areas of agreements with the president; he agreed with Obama on “streamlining red tape and reducing regulations.” But he did go on to mention that the president had “used that rhetoric before.” Cruz also mentioned a program Obama discussed: myRA, which, the president said, was “a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings.”
Obama described the program as a new savings bond that would encourage Americans to build a nest egg.
“I am a passionate supporter of anything that enables people to save on their own, to have assets that they own, that they control, that they can bequest to their kids,” Cruz said. “And so, depending on the details, that could be something that he could find a lot of support.”
Cruz was holding court with a collection of reporters in Statuary Hall long after most of his Senate colleagues had departed. Cruz also spoke with a large number of national and regional TV crews.
Asked what one word he would use to describe the speech, Cruz said: “disappointing.” Not surprisingly, he criticized the way the president spoke about health care and economic policy.
“Throughout the entire of the hour-plus-long speech there was no acknowledgment that the Obama economic policies are not working, that they have produced the lowest labor force participation since 1978, that millions of Americans have lost their jobs, have been forced into part-time work, have lost their health insurance,” Cruz said.