New York Rep. Peter King is defending his open criticism of fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for pushing a failed strategy to defund Obamacare as part of a spending stalemate.
Mr. King told NewsTalk 98.7 FM that he has “nothing but contempt” for the Texas freshman senator for pushing a strategy on the government shutdown with no clear exit.
The congressman said he hates Obamacare as much as other Republicans do, but said the party should have made sure the government stayed open and gone straight to negotiating over the debt limit.
“That’s where the savings are going to come,” Mr. King told host Larry O’Connor, citing the 2011 standoff that resulted in sequester cuts to spending.
Mr. O’Connor challenged Mr. King on his stance, saying it might not be wise for any Republican to hit the airwaves and question fellow party members.
“It’s my obligation to do what’s best for the country,” Mr. King said, adding of Mr. Cruz: “He has no loyalty to the Republican Party, I have no loyalty to him.”
Mr. King also took exception to Mr. O’Connor’s suggestion that he aligned himself against the “great imagery” and “great messaging” of Mr. Cruz, who stood alongside veterans over the weekend in their bid to re-open memorials on the National Mall.
Mr. King noted his backing from veterans groups, and the host agreed that the New Yorker is indeed a “patriot.”
Mr. Cruz’s spokesman, Sean Rushton, said the Texan senator is focused on “Obamacare’s negative effects on American working people.”
“Establishment Washington wants to change the topic but the senator remains focused on getting jobs and economic growth back,” he said.