CHRIS WALLACE: Senator Cruz, your colleague, Senator Paul, right there next to you, said a few months ago he agrees with you on a number of issues, but he says you do nothing to grow the party. He says you feed red meat to the base, but you don’t reach out to minorities. You have a toxic relationship with GOP leaders in Congress. You even called the Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell a liar recently.
How can you win in 2016 when you’re such a divisive figure?
TED CRUZ: Chris, I believe the American people are looking for someone to speak the truth. If you’re looking for someone to go to Washington, to go along to get along, to get — to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests, then I ain’t your guy.
There is a reason that we have $18 trillion in debt. Because as conservatives, as Republicans, we keep winning elections. We got a Republican House, we’ve got a Republican Senate, and we don’t have leaders who honor their commitments. I will always tell the truth and do what I said I would do.
WALLACE: Senator Cruz, some 1,400 people submitted questions on this very hot topic of illegal immigration on Facebook, and a number of them were about the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, allegedly shot down by an illegal. Doug Bettencourt sent this question, “will you support Kate Steinle’s Law,” which would impose a mandatory five-year prison term for an illegal who is deported and then returns to this country? “And will you defund sanctuary cities for violating federal law?”
CRUZ: Chris, absolutely yes. And not only will I support it, I have authored Kate’s law in the United States Senate and filed that legislation. I tried to get the Senate to vote to pass Kate’s law on the floor of the Senate just one week ago, and the leader of our own party blocked a vote on Kate’s law.
You know, there was reference made to our leaders being stupid. It’s not a question of stupidity. It’s that they don’t want to enforce the immigration laws. That there are far too many in the Washington cartel that support amnesty. President Obama has talked about fundamentally transforming this country. There’s 7 billion people across the face of the globe, many of whom want to come to this country. If they come legally, great. But if they come illegally and they get amnesty, that is how we fundamentally change this country, and it really is striking.
A majority of the candidates on this stage have supported amnesty. I have never supported amnesty, and I led the fight against Chuck Schumer’s gang of eight amnesty legislation in the Senate.
KELLY: Well, I want to move on, because I have — we’re gonna get to you, governor, but I — I really wanna get to a Facebook questioner. His name is Alex Chalgren, and he has the following question:
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QUESTION: My question is, how would the candidates stop the treacherous actions of ISIS — ISIL and its growing influence in the U.S., if they were to become president?
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KELLY: Senator Cruz, I wanna talk to you about this, because many of the Facebook users and — and — the — the folks on Facebook wanted the candidates to speak to ISIS tonight.
You asked the chairman of the joint chiefs a question: “What would it take to destroy ISIS in 90 days?” He told you “ISIS will only be truly destroyed once they are rejected by the populations in which they hide.” And then you accused him of pushing Medicaid for the Iraqis. How would you destroy ISIS in 90 days?
CRUZ: Megyn, we need a commander in chief that speaks the truth. We will not defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as we have a president unwilling to utter the words, “radical Islamic terrorism”.
When I asked General Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs, what would be required militarily to destroy ISIS, he said there is no military solution. We need to change the conditions on the ground so that young men are not in poverty and susceptible to radicalization. That, with all due respect, is nonsense. It’s the same answer the State Department gave that we need to give them jobs. What we need is a commander in chief that makes — clear, if you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant.
KELLY: You don’t see it as an ideological problem — an ideological problem in addition to a military one?
CRUZ: Megyn, of course it’s an ideological problem, that’s one of the reasons I introduce the Expatriate Terrorist Act in the Senate that said if any American travels to the Middle East and joining ISIS, that he or she forfeits their citizenship so they don’t use a passport to come back and wage jihad on Americans.
Yes, it is ideological, and let me contrast President Obama, who at the prayer breakfast, essentially acted as an apologist. He said, “Well, gosh, the crusades, the inquisitions–” We need a president that shows the courage that Egypt’s President al-Sisi, a Muslim, when he called out the radical Islamic terrorists who are threatening the world.
BAIER: Another new development today, Senior Defense officials tell Fox they strongly suspect Russia was behind the cyber attack on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs office email. This comes in the wake of the director of national intelligence blaming the Chinese for the largest ever cyber attack, stealing personal data of tens of millions of Americans.
Senator Cruz, in your view, have Russia and China committed of cyber war, and if you were president, what would you do about it?
CRUZ: Well, Bret, of course they have, and over the last six and a half years we’ve seen the consequences of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy. Leading from behind is a disaster. We have abandoned and alienated our friends and allies, and our enemies are stronger. Radical Islam is on the rise, Iran’s on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon, China is waging cyber warfare against America, Russia — General Soleimani, you just mentioned, the Iranian general is the head of the al Quds forces.
He’s directly responsible for the murder of over 500 American servicemen in Iraq, and part of this Iranian deal was lifting the international sanctions on General Soleimani. The day General Soleimani flew back from Moscow to Iran was the day we believed that Russia used cyber warfare against the joint chiefs. We need a new commander in chief that will stand up to our enemies, and that will have credibility…
It is worth emphasizing that Iran released our hostages in 1981 the day Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.
KELLY: In our final moments here together, we’re going to allow the candidates to offer their final thoughts. But first, we want to ask them an interesting closing question from Chase Norton on Facebook, who wants to know this of the candidates: “I want to know if any of them have received a word from God on what they should do and take care of first.”
Senator Cruz, start from you. Any word from God?
CRUZ: Well, I am blessed to receive a word from God every day in receiving the scriptures and reading the scriptures. And God speaks through the Bible. I’m the son of a pastor and evangelist and I’ve described many times how my father, when I was a child, was an alcoholic. He was not a Christian. And my father left my mother and left me when I was just three years old.
And someone invited him to Clay Road Baptist Church. And he gave his heart to Jesus and it turned him around. And he got on a plane and he flew back to my mother and me. I would also note that the scripture tells us, “you shall know them by their fruit.” We see lots of “campaign conservatives.” But if we’re going to win in 2016, we need a consistent conservative, someone who has been a fiscal conservative, a social conservative, a national security conservative.
There are real differences among the candidates on issues like amnesty, like Obamacare, like religious liberty, like life and marriage. And I have been proud to fight and stand for religious liberty, to stand against Planned Parenthood, to defend life for my entire career. And I will be proud to continue to do so as president of the United States.
KELLY: Senator Ted Cruz. [closing remarks]
CRUZ: If I’m elected president, let me tell you about my first day in office. The first thing I intend to do is to rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by Barack Obama. The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these videos and to prosecute Planned Parenthood for any criminal violations.
The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice and the IRS to start (sic) persecuting religious liberty, and then intend to cancel the Iran deal, and finally move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. I will keep my word. My father fled Cuba, and I will fight to defend liberty because my family knows what it’s like to lose it.