Sen. Cruz: Democratic politicians should be held accountable for 'letting their cities burn'

'What these Democratic mayors and governors are doing' is denying 'basic civil rights,' Cruz says

Democratic politicians should be held accountable for “letting their cities burn,” Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday.

Cruz made the comment following violent protests in several cities. On Saturday, more than half a dozen U.S. cities experienced rioting and lawlessness – with the mayhem including damage to federal buildings and local police precincts, and a fatal shooting in Austin, Texas.

Similar protests and violent demonstrations have been seen across the country following the death of George Floyd, a Black man in Minnesota who died while in police custody. A video of the May 25 encounter with police officers showed a White officer putting his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes.

Cruz also reacted on Tuesday to a Wall Street Journal editorial published Monday titled, "A Weekend of Urban Anarchy.”

“The weekend’s events were a deliberate assault on public and private property, law enforcement, and public order,” the editorial board wrote. “Lawlessness begets lawlessness, and in recent weeks we’ve seen reports of vigilantes and far-right activists joining the melee from Richmond to Philadelphia. Local officials are allowing this disorder to occur, and the more it is indulged the worse it is likely to get.”

In response, Cruz said: “We’re seeing growing violence, we’re seeing physical assault, we’re seeing radicals, who are trying to really tear down our society and none of this should be complicated.

“You have a right to protest. I have a right to protest peacefully. We have a right to speak our minds. The First Amendment protects that,” he continued.

“What you or I don’t have a right to do is hurt somebody else. You don't have the right to physically assault someone else, to firebomb a police car, to loot and destroy a small business, to murder a police officer and sadly we’ve seen all of that in riots throughout the country.”

Cruz went on to say that “all of that at the same time is being facilitated and even encouraged by democratic politicians who have made a very cynical decision not to allow the police officers to actually do their job and protect physical safety, protect property and so they’ve ordered the police officers to pull back and they’re letting their cities burn.”

Cruz said as a result he introduced legislation last week called the Restitution for Economic losses Caused by Leaders who Allow Insurrection and Mayhem, or the RECLAIM Act, which would “hold state and local officials liable when rioters establish lawless ‘autonomous zones' and officials abdicate their duty to protect their citizens.”

Cruz explained on Tuesday that “if you are injured or if your property is damaged during a riot, and the local officials have made the deliberate decision to withhold police protection” the bill would allow a person to sue that city or municipality and “get triple damages.”

“In addition any city that refuses to provide police protection during a riot is denied eligibility for federal funds because what these Democratic mayors and governors are doing, it is wrong,” Cruz said. “It’s endangering people's lives and it's denying the basic civil rights that every American is entitled to.”

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Cruz pointed to the violent protests in Portland, where for 60 consecutive nights rioters have been “physically assaulting the federal courthouse” by “trying to burn it down.”

“They’re trying to level it and the federal police officers are doing their job of stopping terrorists from burning the courthouse to the ground and democratic politicians are just standing back,” Cruz said.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has repeatedly demanded that President Trump remove federal agents deployed to the city amid criticisms of a heavy-handed response against protesters and journalists and reports that militarized law enforcement personnel have refused to identify themselves.

Cruz said that Wheeler demanding federal agents leave Portland is him really saying, “‘Go ahead and burn the courthouse to the ground, the federal officials should ignore their responsibility to stop violent acts of terrorism directed at federal property.’

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“That’s just not right,” Cruz said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Fox News’ Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.