During Sally Yates’ Senate testimony on Russian election interference, Ted Cruz — for whatever reason — decided to change the subject. He confronted Yates over why she told the DOJ not to enforce Trump’s Muslim ban. In the process, Cruz made an enormous fool out of himself because Yates schooled the hell out him on the ban’s legality, and he didn’t recover well. All Cruz could do was meekly end the discussion: “Thank you, Miss Yates.”
Awkward! Well, many people found this hilarious, including Wolf Blitzer, who immediately declared that Yates had “crushed” Cruz, but MSNBC’s Morning Joe — which knows the true meaning of the word “awkward” — had the most fun. They played the clip of Cruz’s humiliation and laughed and laughed. Scarborough began mocking Cruz for going in like a wrecking ball when he should have realized that Yates possesses the ability to destroy him on an intellectual level:
“Do not set it up like Perry Mason unless you know the answer. He should have known. That’s just bad theater, that’s just bad politics. He should have known that Sally Yates was going to hit his hanging curve ball 470 feet.”
Cruz probably figured that, as a former Supreme Court clerk, there’s no way he could have lost the argument. Yet Yates knows how to cite and apply legal provisions on the fly. She has 27 years of Department of Justice experience under her belt while his days as a corporate litigator are long over (and allegedly embellished as well).
And the Joe panelists couldn’t resist taking some digs at Cruz, too. Mike Barnacle remarked, “He thinks he’s just the smartest person in the room.” Steve Rattner had more to say. “What’s even worse, he shows it,” Rattner assessed. “It’s obvious he has an intellectual contempt for everyone that’s in the room.”
Indeed, but does anyone expect any differently? Cruz’s need to one-up people isn’t exclusively an intellectual desire either. He’s still the dude who enraged his fellow SCOTUS clerks by elbowing them during basketball games and shouting, “My bad!” Ted Cruz is That Guy, but he won’t mess with Yates again.