Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, defended his objections during the Electoral College certification and said they had "nothing to do with this criminal terrorist assault" on the U.S. Capitol.
Cruz spoke to NBC affiliate KXAS-TV in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday per Fox News. Some Senate colleagues have accused Cruz and other congressional members of inciting Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol with their protests of the presidential election results.
"What I was doing is debating on the floor of the Senate election integrity," Cruz said. "That has nothing to do with this criminal terrorist assault, which was wrong and needs to be prosecuted. It's exactly the opposite. What I was doing is how you're supposed to resolve issues in this country."
Cruz spoke one day after rioters marched on the Capitol with the intent of halting Congress' certification of the electoral voting results. President Donald Trump alleged that voter fraud in several key battleground states resulted in Joe Biden winning the election.
The Texas senator led a group of 11 senators who demanded a 10-day delay to audit the election results and an emergency investigation.
After the joint session of Congress began Wednesday, Cruz joined Arizona representatives in objecting to the electoral vote tally from the Grand Canyon State. The House and Senate had retired to their respective chambers to debate the Arizona objections when the rioters reached the Capitol.
Five people have died as a result of the Capitol violence.
Cruz also co-signed in opposing the Pennsylvania electoral count after the Senate reconvened following the riot. Early Thursday morning, Congress certified Biden's Electoral College victory.
Many Democrats and some Republicans have blamed Trump for encouraging the rioters. Cruz, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and some House Republicans also have been accused of promoting sedition and repeating the president’s unproven rigged election claims.
"Sen. Cruz, you must accept responsibility for how your craven, self-serving actions contributed to the deaths of four people yesterday," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted on Thursday. "And how you fundraised off this riot. Both you and Senator Hawley must resign. If you do not, the Senate should move for your expulsion."
Cruz joined those who have said Trump's rhetoric contributed to the attack on the Capitol.
"I do think the president's rhetoric and his language has been over the line," Cruz said. "I think it was irresponsible. I think it was reckless. And I think he needs to recognize it."
Asked if Trump should be removed from office, Cruz said: "We're 13 days out, and he's going to leave at noon on Jan. 20."
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