During a hearing on gun violence on Tuesday, the Republican lawmaker from Texas was detailing his opposition to Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, two women of colour with extensive civil rights legal experience.
“Can I ask a question, you just said a moment ago that no Democrat favours abolishing the police. If that were the case, why did every single Democrat vote to confirm Vanita Gupta, a nominee for the No. 3 position in the Department of Justice, who said last year in writing … advocated abolishing the police.”
Ms Gupta was confirmed as associate attorney general for the US after working as head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in the Obama administration. Ms Clarke is set to take over that post. Mr Cruz then set his sights on Ms Clarke, calling her “another radical” he claimed supported abolishing the police.
“As you well know, Senator Cruz, that is a complete distortion of their positions,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat representing Connecticut, responded.
Mr Cruz, alongside his pro-Trump ally Tom Cotton, questioned Ms Clarke during her Senate confirmation hearing in April over her Newsweek op-ed titled “I prosecuted police killings. Defund the police – but be strategic.”
In response, Ms Clarke said the headline gave a misleading version of her views and said she supported “defunding policing operations that have made African Americans more vulnerable to police violence and contributed to mass incarceration while investing more in programmes and policies that address critical community needs.”