Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2015

Cruz: ‘We Need a Hundred More Like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate’ (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz might raise some eyebrows outside of his conservative base for comments he made Wednesday in praise of former North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms.

“I’ll tell you something … the very first political contribution I ever made in my life was to Jesse Helms. When I was a kid, I sent $10 to Jesse Helms, ’cause they were beating up on him, they were coming after him hard and I thought it wasn’t right, and at the time my allowance was 50 cents a week,” the Texas Republican said. “I am willing to venture a guess that I may have been Jesse Helms’ single largest donor as a percentage of annual income.”

Cruz also recalled a story about when a young Helms received a campaign donation check from John Wayne. He explained that, according to the story, Helms figured out how to get in touch with Wayne and called to thank him for the support.

“Apparently Wayne said, ‘Oh yeah, you’re that guy saying all those crazy things. We need 100 more like you,'” Cruz said. “The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare characteristic in this town, and you know what? It’s every bit as true now as it was then. We need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.”

The remarks are near the start of a lengthy lecture on the role of the Senate in foreign policy that Cruz gave Wednesday afternoon at a Heritage Foundation event named for the late North Carolina Republican.

Helms was a leading conservative in the Senate for decades who rose to be chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was nicknamed “Senator No” for his efforts to hold up nominations and other priorities of the executive branch. He could be a lone voice of opposition, though his final CQ Politics in America profile did note his work in later years with current Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., on foreign affairs.

But it was, of course, Helms’ views on social policy and matters of race that were the most contentious.

“One of the centerpieces of Helms’ lengthy social policy agenda is his crusade against homosexuality,” according to the PIA profile. Helms also led a fight against designating Martin Luther King Jr. Day a national holiday.

For 16 days, Helms filibustered the legislation making the holiday designation, at the end of which he was the only senator to vote against it. That’s a point noted in obituaries of Helms, who died in 2008.

The late Washington Post journalist David S. Broder wrote in a 2001 column on the occasion of the North Carolinian’s announcement of his retirement from the Senate: “What is unique about Helms — and from my viewpoint, unforgivable — is his willingness to pick at the scab of the great wound of American history, the legacy of slavery and segregation, and to inflame racial resentment against African-Americans.”

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  1. kdawgg2

    Sept. 11, 2013
    9:02 p.m.

    The more Raphael talk, the further he sticks his foot in his mouth and his racism is starting to surface. Dang, praising Jesse Helms, he might as well said the KKK was a non-violent peaceful organization.There is no doubt he has forgotten his blood runs Cuban, despite his bluster and appeal to his ignorant base, he is not really one of them. Go figure

    • SteveBronson

      Sept. 11, 2013
      11:03 p.m.

      … “he is not one of them.” What does that mean?

      • phalanxausage

        Sept. 13, 2013
        10:38 a.m.

        I believe that’s an allusion to an early campaign slogan Jesse Helms used, “He’s one of us,” which was a not-so-subtle racial message.

        • SteveBronson

          Sept. 13, 2013
          2:09 p.m.

          I’m trying to figure out the poster’s motivation for writing such an equally racial message. I wonder, does he think Cruz should remember his place because he’s not really one of them?

          • phalanxausage

            Sept. 13, 2013
            3:30 p.m.

            More like Jesse might not have seen Cruz as an equal.

          • SteveBronson

            Sept. 13, 2013
            3:51 p.m.

            Our we ever allowed to solve our racial problems, or do liberals want to keep things alive that should be put in the past? The poster’s remark is from the context that Cruz should remember he is not one of them. That sounds racist to me, and today’s racism always seems to come from the left.

    • Viola Martini

      Sept. 15, 2013
      4:31 a.m.

      KKK is an offshoot of the social-democrat party. Get your facts straight and don’t disparage a party just because you disagree with them.

      • kdawgg2

        Sept. 15, 2013
        11:28 a.m.

        The KKK is the Offshoot of the social-democrat party, you need to have your Doctor adjust your meds or you are in serious need of psychiatric intervention .But then again as Dr. M.L. King once wrote, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”. Go figure.

        • Viola Martini

          Sept. 15, 2013
          1:07 p.m.

          Listen you ignoramus, it’s not so hard to google and click on the first couple of hits before embarrassing yourself.

          • kdawgg2

            Sept. 15, 2013
            7:22 p.m.

            You are in sad shape however I guess hate will do that to you, “KKK (Ku Klux Klan) known as klan or Hooded order. It is a far right organization which advocated extremist such as White Supremacist,White Naturalism and Anti-Immigration. They are classified as a hate group and at one point during their hay days could have been classified as a terrorist organization. I guess they would fit well in your warp Social Democratic mind.

          • Viola Martini

            Sept. 15, 2013
            8:21 p.m.

            I don’t have a socialist mindset whatsoever. I’m a supporter of free market capitalism, and I want the federal government to be as small as possible. I see you haven’t googled KKK yet. So I’ll just post a link where you can read about how KKK came to be and its democratic ties. Oh by the way, the latest member of the Senate that was a KKK member was democrat Robert Byrd who was worshipped by the libtards.

  2. NepotismIsDomesticTerrorism

    Sept. 12, 2013
    1:46 a.m.

    Jesse Helms?

    What’s next, Better Dead Than Ted?

    Texas need a hundred more Lee Harvey Oswalds?

    • ProudlyUnaffiliated

      Sept. 20, 2013
      4:26 p.m.

      Ted is dead.

      • NepotismIsDomesticTerrorism

        Sept. 20, 2013
        7:20 p.m.

        And Better Dead Than Dead wants to adopt a new state holiday in Texas, Lee Harvey Oswald Day.

  3. Jesse4

    Sept. 12, 2013
    2:58 a.m.

    Ted is definitely doing his part to make sure lots of crazy things are said on Capital Hill.
    I hate the worthless P.O.S., but I won’t take that one away from him.

  4. Chewbama

    Sept. 12, 2013
    1:25 p.m.

    Shouldn’t it be 99 more?


    Sept. 17, 2013
    2:33 a.m.

    Ted Cruz sings those “Jesse Helms Blues!”
    As a puppet.

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