The U.S. Capitol Police confirmed one of its officers died Thursday night after sustaining injuries during Wednesday’s Capitol riot—and Twitter users have placed the blame on one politician in particular.
The USCP announced in a press release that Officer Brian D. Sicknick died around 9:30pm ET Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty.”
“Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” the statement continues. “He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”
While the Metropolitan Police Department, USCP, and federal agencies still have to investigate Sicknick’s death, thousands of Twitter users are already holding one person responsible: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
As of this writing, #TedCruzKilledACop is the top Twitter trend in the United States, with more than 40,000 users condemning the senator for sowing discord and tacitly inciting violence during his Wednesday electoral vote speech.
During his nearly six-minute address, Cruz once again suggested that Democrats stole the election from President Donald Trump and called for an electoral commission to conduct an audit to investigate claims of voter fraud.
“Simply telling the voters, ‘Go jump in a lake—the fact that you have deep concerns is of no moment to us,’ that jeopardizes, I believe, the legitimacy of this and subsequent elections,” Cruz added.
Less than an hour after Cruz delivered his speech, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, obliterating its interior and breaking into the offices of several high-ranking congresspeople. Officer Sicknick marked the fifth person to die as a result of the riot.
Twitter users drew a direct line from Cruz’s speech to the insurrection that occurred almost immediately thereafter.
“Ted Cruz stood on the Senate floor and encouraged the acts of violence that took place at the Capitol and resulted in the death of a police officer. Fuck Ted Cruz,” @KylaInTheBurgh tweeted, ending her post with “#TedCruzKilledaCop.”
Cruz tried to disavow the rioters on Twitter and on Thursday told ABC, “I think, yesterday, in particular, the president's language and rhetoric crossed the line and it was reckless. I disagree with it, and I have disagreed with the president's language and rhetoric for the last four years.”
But Twitter users weren’t letting Cruz off the hook for his past comments, which stoked the fury of Trump supporters who believed the election was fraudulent.
Several people shared footage of Cruz at a recent rally, telling Trump supporters that he would “stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we defend the United States of America, as we defend our Constitution, as we defend our freedom, and we will not go quietly into the night.”
“Ted Cruz thinks we’re idiots, with the short term memory of goldfish,” Piyush Mittal tweeted. “He incited the US Capitol terrorists and has the blood of a cop on his hands."
Others, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), slammed Cruz for sending out fundraising texts amid the insurrection.
As Cruz tried to switch gears following his Senate speech, some critics revived Trump's old nickname for him, "Lyin' Ted," while others made a new one: "Traitor Ted."