At last week’s Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, D.C., Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spoke out about last month’s government shutdown and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) involvement, according to Politico. McCain called Cruz “crazy,” stating that his choice to lead several tea party senators in a spending battle over Obamacare was the cause for the shutdown.
McCain explained that while he respects members of the tea party, he believes that shutting down the government was an ineffective means to end Obamacare.
“If I sound angry, it’s because I have met and talked to constituents of mine who […] had to resort to go to food banks,” McCain said.
Meanwhile, Cruz insists that he did not intend for the government to shut down, explaining that trying to end Obamacare is “the essence of pragmatism,” adding that it should have been stopped before ever taking effect, according to NBC News.
“I didn’t want a shutdown,” Cruz explained to the audience. “Throughout the whole thing, I said we shouldn’t have had a shutdown.” After a period of laughter from the audience, Cruz said, “I voted to keep the government open.” Regardless, Cruz told reporters at the forum that his attempts to end Obamacare were worth his current predicament: the seething disapproval from many congressional Republicans such as McCain.
In the same interview, McCain also voiced his views on Secretary of State John Kerry and the current relations with the Middle East. Although McCain referred to Kerry as an “old friend,” he offered harsh criticisms of him, calling him a “human wrecking ball.” He added that Kerry’s non-stop travel schedule is not allowing him to improve U.S. relations with the Middle East.
Additionally, McCain critiqued the Obama administration’s attempts for diplomacy, calling it “fundamentally flawed.” He gave the example of the authorization given to Iran to enrich uranium, despite the country’s history of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons. He also expressed his blatant disagreement with Obama’s choice not to invade Syria. McCain, who favored taking action, said that “if America doesn’t lead, then the bad guys will lead.”
“I do believe that there are members of the Senate and the House who believe we can withdraw from the world,” McCain said. “We cannot, and every time we have throughout history, we paid a very, very heavy price for it.”
Kerry has frequently been criticized for poor relations in the Middle East, especially regarding Israel, where he is currently facing criticism for his handling of nuclear weapons talks with Iranian leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet last week that the deal Kerry offered was “dangerous” because it allows Iran to continue its pursuit of a plutonium reactor, which would heighten its capability to produce nuclear weapons.
While the U.S. government recovers from the shutdown and Obamacare steadily takes hold across the nation, McCain’s words mark the growing schism between the GOP and the tea party.
Information from NBC News and Politico was used in this report.