We’ve been asked by many friends to share insight into Ted Cruz, based on the two years we spent working for him in the U.S. Senate. It is clear from these conversations that while few doubt the sincerity of his conservative political convictions, many are struggling to make sense of the way he has been characterized by the media and a few of his Republican colleagues as “dishonest,” or “unlikable.” Many of you are trying to understand who this man is and how can you like him or trust him enough to support him for President of the United States.
The truth is – you are right to question. This is the political choice of our lifetimes – and we all feel how critical this choice of president will be for the future of America. From concerns about national security to economic growth, from healthcare costs to education opportunity, from mounting debt to a broken immigration system, from religious liberty to questions of life and marriage – all with the 9th Supreme Court seat sitting empty… we feel a sense of duty to get this choice right and at this particular moment. We know we owe that to our children. So how can we hand the reins to that so-called “jerk,” Ted Cruz?
Well, we happen to know him quite well. And we know that the vast majority of these characterizations are completely false; that Senator Cruz is an honest and decent man; that the negative portrayals of him are purposeful and a direct consequence of his willingness to fight for the American people against the massive power of the ruling class that our founding fathers predicted would occur; and that it would be an incredible disservice for you not to take a serious look at him as the only nominee who will lead this country away from its current path and toward the American promise of freedom, security and prosperity our children deserve.
Here’s why we believe this.
We served as his Chief of Staff and Legislative Director, respectively, in 2013 and 2014 throughout his first term in the U.S. Senate. Each of us had served in the Senate before. Each of us had gone home to our respective states of Alabama and Texas to work – one as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and advisor to the Governor of Texas, the other as an Assistant Dean at the Univ. of Alabama School of Law. Each of us had a wonderful spouse and two children. And importantly, each of us had survived – and continue to survive, Lord willing – Hodgkins Lymphoma and Multiple Sclerosis – respectively.
In short – we had done our tour of duty in Washington and were focusing on our health and families. We had no real desire to return to Washington. But we did. And we only did so because Ted Cruz was different. He had run a successful grassroots campaign and he was already making good on his promise to change things by hiring principled, conservative staff to build “Team Cruz.” Do a quick search for some of the senior staff we hired – Amanda Carpenter, Victoria Coates, John Drogin, Scott Keller, Bernie McNamee, to name a few – and you will have a quick idea on how a President Cruz would staff his White House – and you should feel very good about that.
From the beginning, this team put forth immeasurable effort to help Senator Cruz challenge a deluge of liberal policies advanced by President Obama and Harry Reid. From gun control to the so-called Gang of 8 Amnesty bill; from Obamacare to massive debt ceiling increases; from a slate of concerning cabinet nominees to a foreign policy adrift – the need for bold leadership in Washington was urgent. Although many viewed the left’s agenda as inevitable, given the trepidation shown by Senate Republicans approaching the 2014 election cycle, Team Cruz was ready and willing to leave it all on the field in our battle to stop it.
And Senator Cruz was, of course, ready and willing to lead the way. In him, the conservative movement found an unintimidated and tireless representative who was fond of repeating a quote he attributes to Margaret Thatcher that “first you win the argument, then you win the vote.” And that’s what he set out to do – to go directly to the American people. But doing so quickly put him in the crosshairs of Republican “leadership” who thought it wiser to follow the regular Washington playbook – give some speeches at press conferences or the floor of the Senate and hold a few “show votes” to protest the majority’s plans, but never actually stand up and fight.
The most high-profile example of this intra-party divide came when some Republicans publicly opposed efforts to defund Obamacare. While a few brave House and Senate Republicans stood up to honor their campaign pledges to stop government-run healthcare – the vast majority paid only lip service and offered zero strategy other than running to the hills cowering in fear of “government shutdown.” Senator Cruz – despite crowing to the contrary – did have a strategy, and that was to use the spending power to force the President to the table and to make clear that while Republicans were ready to fully fund government, it was the President who would choose to shut it down rather than listen to voters. It was then that Sen. Cruz stood for more than 21 hours and spoke in opposition to a law that, at the time, was facing near-record levels of public disapproval and was regularly called into question by members of the president’s own cabinet.
Ironically, even as Senator Cruz was leading this effort, the ruling class was calling him a “self promoter” and doing this all for show. As such, we often find ourselves defending Team Cruz against charges of acting recklessly in promotion of a political figure, when we lived and experienced firsthand the exact opposite. Let us be clear – without an ounce of doubt, the motivation and inspiration for Team Cruz was found in the determination and persistence of Americans who demanded to see politicians make good on promises to launch a full-throated defense against policies anathema our basic Republican principles of representative government. And the team was proud of Senator Cruz for not backing down amidst the storms that threatened to silence him.
Of course, what they don’t tell you is that while they cowardly put finishing touches on press statements condemning the filibuster before it began, Senator Cruz was leading his staff in prayer over the effort. He was focusing on what we could do – not what we couldn’t. This is the essence of leadership. This is the essence of selflessness – of putting your body in front of the train of the ruling elite who tell us that we can’t have the full American promise – but only slices of it based on whatever allows them to maintain political power.
We have no problem conceding that reasonable minds can differ on the best legislative strategy at any given time. And we have had intense debates with respected friends and colleagues about which legislative strategies should have been used in those monumental battles and have accepted that some of us may never agree…
But what cannot be challenged is our personal experience as members of Team Cruz in those pivotal years. As humbled and honored as we were to have been part of it, friends and family know how much it cost us, in terms of health and time away from our very young children. One of us was one year removed from Chemotherapy – the other suffered mightily the ongoing effects of MS – and we can assure you that the ONLY thing worth that kind of a sacrifice is the opportunity to serve a cause bigger than ourselves – to do something to stem the tide of ever-encroaching overreach by the federal government that is eviscerating our Constitution and all the sacred principles and liberties it was written to preserve.
We were confident then – as we are today – that Team Cruz waged the most effective battles against both the Obama Administration and the entire D.C. Establishment – be they democrats or republicans. We were driven daily by the determination to “Make D.C. Listen,” so that this and future generations are not conscripted by the unbridled authority of the ruling class, but instead are secure in the unshakeable rule of law and confident in the ability to hold accountable a government by the people, of the people and for the people.
And while we do not wish to add to the toxic animosity that has characterized the last few weeks of this election cycle, suffice it to say that we are not satisfied that any other candidate has truly heard the voters’ resounding demand to “Make D.C. Listen,” much less be that voice in a tone-deaf city. Nor have we seen any evidence that any other candidate has demonstrated such a reverence for the Constitution or rule of law. To the contrary, other candidates were either absent entirely, funding the opposition, or holding the spears we were facing. Though they now all claim consistency on long-held views, I challenge you to dig a little deeper before you give any your vote.
We believe in Ted Cruz. He will Make D.C. Listen – and in doing so, he will give us all the opportunity to hand down to our children a greater country than we found.
Brooke Bacak served as Cruz’s Legislative Director in the U.S. Senate and now is a wife and mother in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Chip Roy served as Cruz’s Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate and now serves as First Assistant Attorney General of Texas in Austin, Texas.