In 2012, Sen. Ted Cruz furiously fought a relief bill for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. But now that his home state of Texas it witnessing the violent destruction of a hurricane, he has embraced federal aide with open arms.
Cruz graciously said at a press conference Monday that President Trump has pledged "whatever the state needs" for the major disaster. During an interview after that press conference, Cruz defended his position on the 2012 Hurricane Sandy relief package, calling it "filled with unrelated pork."
MSNBC's Katy Tur asked Cruz to justify this apparent hypocrisy.
“There is time for political sniping later,” Cruz said.
“It’s not really political sniping, senator,” Tur responded. “These are people who needed money and who needed funding right after that storm, I covered those people. Many of them, just like those in Houston, lost absolutely everything they owned.”
Cruz said that hurricane relief is a "vital, central role" of the federal government and should be for a long time.
“The problem with that particular bill is it became a $50 billion bill that was filled with unrelated pork,” he said.
“Two-thirds of that bill had nothing to do with Sandy,” he continued. “And what I said then and still believe now is that it’s not right for politicians to exploit a disaster and people who are hurting to pay for their own political wish list. Disaster relief needs to be focused on the victims of disaster relief, and I supported that for Sandy, disaster relief there, and I would support that anywhere there’s a major disaster without getting distracted by political, unnecessary pork spending.”
The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler reviewed a comprehensive report done by the Congressional Research Service, which found that virtually all of the 2013 disaster relief bill went towards damage caused by Sandy. There were some line items in the bill that seemed unrelated to the destruction in New Jersey and New York, such as repairs for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But Sandy's path was large, encompassing most of the Eastern seaboard. There were some appropriations that could have been considered "unrelated pork," according to the Post, but they were ultimately removed from the bill before Congress approved it in 2013. Cruz still voted against it.