"A sideshow entertainer, not the leader of the free world": GOP Rep. Peter King blasts Ted Cruz

The establishment conservative won't be backing the Tea Party firebrand in 2016

Published March 23, 2015 6:05PM (EDT)

Peter King              (Jeffrey Malet, maletphoto.com)
Peter King (Jeffrey Malet, maletphoto.com)

Hours after the Texas senator announced he would seek the presidency in 2016, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) rained on Ted Cruz's parade Monday, declaring the Tea Party firebrand unfit for the office and saying that his showman-like tactics were reminiscent of "a sideshow entertainer, not the leader of the free world."

Referring to the 2013 government shutdown spawned by Cruz's vain attempt to defund health care reform, King said in a statement, "The Republican Party and the American people have to be able to find a more qualified candidate for president than Ted Cruz. Shutting down the federal government and reading Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor are the marks of a sideshow entertainer not the leader of the free world."

King has long been a vocal critic of the Cruz-led shutdown. At the time, the congressman charged that Cruz's anti-Obamacare crusade was "a strategy doomed to failure."

“The government is now closed and Obamacare is going forward,” King observed.

The Long Island congressman has floated a presidential bid of his own in 2016, with an eye toward giving his aggressively neoconservative foreign policy views a prominent platform. King has also cited a desire to thwart the paths of insurgent candidates like Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer last year that "I don't want to go back to the 1930s and the days of Charles Lindbergh."

Since then, the GOP has attained its largest House majority in seven decades, and the 12-term incumbent is widely expected to remain in the chamber rather than pursue a quixotic national campaign.

(h/t The Hill)

By Luke Brinker

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2016 Elections Gop 2016 Government Shutdown Peter King R-n.y. Republicans Ted Cruz