Fellow Republicans Accuse Sen. Ted Cruz Of Sparking Shutdown And Dividing The Party

He was called a “wacko bird” in the spring by the usually mild-mannered Sen. John McCain.

And a few days ago, he was called “a fraud” by Rep. Peter King.

And it’s just going downhill from there for Sen. Ted Cruz as more members of his own party heap criticism on him, blaming him for sparking the government shutdown with no substantive purpose other than to keep himself in the spotlight, according to Politico.

The animosity manifested itself in a closed-door meeting in Washington D.C. between GOP members and Cruz, Politico said, in which they pressed the Texas freshman lawmaker for his exit strategy. Cruz, the publication said, citing comments from unidentified senators who were at the meeting, did not have a satisfactory response.

“It was very evident to everyone in the room that Cruz doesn’t have a strategy – he never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the end-game was,” Politico quoted one senator who attended the meeting as saying. “I just wish the 35 House members that have bought the snake oil that was sold could witness what was witnessed today at lunch.”

The senators also asserted that Cruz could not answer how he would defund the Affordable Care Act.

The Republican senators are pushing for Cruz to play a key role in finding a solution to the shutdown they say he is largely responsible for causing.

Cruz, Politico said, reacted defensively.

Cruz has not shied from assailing what he sees as Beltway Republicans, members of the party he views as sellouts and acting against conservative principles. The Tea Party favorite has criticized them almost as pointedly as he has President Obama.

Cruz emerged as the face of opposition to Obama healthcare plan when he embarked on a 21-hour marathon speech on the Senate floor last week that infuriated many in his own party, but won plaudits from Tea Party groups and other conservatives who wanted someone to stand up to status-quo Washington.

When fellow Republican Sen. John Cornyn refused to join Cruz in his mission to defund Obama's health care reform plan, he sparked the wrath of Tea Party groups.

Cruz was concerned that a House budget plan to keep the government funded, avoid a shutdown, but not fund the health care plan would have been at risk in the Democrat-controlled Senate of having the defunding provision stripped.

Cornyn joined other Republicans who opposed risking a government shutdown and expressed their disapproval of Cruz’s aggressive moves to fight the Affordable Care Act.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker accused Cruz of launching the 21-hour marathon speech to grandstand and pander to conservatives.

Cruz, meanwhile, has balked at the criticism.

He often has said he is not afraid to alienate members of his party if it means fighting for conservative principles. In fact, he has joined forces with groups, such as Senate Conservatives Fund, to take shots at Republicans they view as soft on such things as Obama’s health care plan – something that many in the GOP say is unfair because they aggressively fought the plan for years.

“It seems that there is nothing the media likes to cover more than disagreements among Republicans, and apparently some senators are content to fuel those stories with anonymous quotes,” Cruz told Politico. “Regardless, my focus — and, I would hope, the focus of the rest of the conference — is on stopping Harry Reid’s shutdown, ensuring that vital government priorities are funded, and preventing the enormous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on millions of Americans.”