Tony Perkins: Ted Cruz is “de facto leader” of the GOP

In an interview with CNN, the religious right leader lavishly praises the Texas Senator

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Tony Perkins: Ted Cruz is "de facto leader" of the GOPTed Cruz (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Tony Perkins, president of the right-wing Family Research Council and a highly influential power broker on the right, praised Ted Cruz to the heavens in a CNN interview on Friday, calling the Texas senator “a de facto leader of the Republican Party.”

“He is what people are looking for,” Perkins continued. “Somebody who will stand up and say, ‘This is what I stand for, this is what I believe.’”

Perkins went on to claim that along with his frequent partner, Utah Senator Mike Lee, Cruz was “filling [a] vacuum” existing between the Republican Party’s leadership and “outside conservative groups.”



“What he is doing is he is filling vacuum. And Mike Lee as well,” Perkins said. “There has been a complete breakdown between the formal GOP leadership and the outside conservative groups. There is even a breakdown between the GOP leadership and the conservatives on the inside. So you have Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Jim Jordan, Steve Scalise and others who are filling that void.”

Perkins also weighed in on John Boehner and Chris Christie, praising the former while refusing to say whether or not he considered the latter a true conservative.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at eisquith@salon.com.

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