On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz, chairing a hearing titled, “Hearing on Protecting Free Speech and Preventing Violent Protests,” triggered Hawaii Democrat Senator Mazie Hirono as he criticized the seven Democratic senators who refused to condemn Antifa at the hearing.
At the end of the hearing, Hirono declared that Cruz was “not listening” and snapped, “We don’t have to listen to any more of your rhetorical speeches” before walking out. The move prompted Cruz to swipe back, “Well, I appreciate as always, the kind and uplifting words of Senator Hirono, and I would note that throughout her remarks, she still did not say a negative word about Antifa nor has any Democrat here.”
Before that exchange (video below), Cruz said, “It’s fairly striking that elected Democrats want to ignore the violence of Antifa; they want to ignore the violence on the Left and they just scream ‘White supremacist, white supremacist,’ rather than condemn violence from wherever it is coming. The 277 injuries of federal law enforcement officers in Portland are coming from the Left. And not a single Democrat on this committee acknowledges that.”
In her next turn to speak, Hirono added, “Senator, I have to say, sometimes I don’t think you listen. How many times have I had to say that we all should be denouncing violent extremists of every stripe.”
Cruz interrupted, “Does that include Antifa?”
Hirono added: “By the way, the Republicans are constantly using, I have to say, you brought it up yourself, the deaths of these black police officers, Patrick Underwood and David Dorn, for making political points. And the fact that it was right-wing extremists who killed Officer Underwood, that seems to be lost in this argument. And now there are all these attacks about Black Lives Matter and what they’re saying, I mean how many of us even think that defunding police departments should be taken literally? I certainly don’t.”
She continued, “So we have this pesky thing called freedom of speech. And I’d say that the people who support Black Lives Matter and they’re calling boycotts and all that, that’s called freedom of speech and that’s what this hearing’s title is. Protecting speech.”
Hirono avoided naming Antifa yet again: “So all I can say is we should all join hands in denouncing and whatever words you want to use about violent extremism of all stripes and I think we can all agree on that. So to constantly accuse Democrats of not caring about that is really, I can only say that you are not listening.”
“I hope this is the end of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, and that we don’t have to listen to any more of your rhetorical speeches,” said Hirono. “Thank you very much, I’m leaving.”
As Hirono got up to leave, Cruz said, “Well, I appreciate as always, the kind and uplifting words of Senator Hirono, and I would note that throughout her remarks, she still did not say a negative word about Antifa nor has any Democrat here. They instead engage in a political game where they depend—” Cruz looked at Hirono as she stood up to leave and said, “You’re welcome to say something negative about Antifa right now.”
“I think that I covered the subject quite well. You were not listening,” she replied before leaving the hearing.
“She declined to speak. So that is the position of the Democratic Party,” Cruz concluded. “I would note also that of the seven Democratic senators who spoke, not one of them apologized for or denounced multiple Democrats calling law enforcement officers, Nazis — ‘stormtroopers’ and ‘Gestapo’ — to be fair, I have not heard the word Nazi — but ‘stormtrooper’ was Nancy Pelosi and ‘Gestapo’ was another Democratic leader. That is less than helpful.”