Cruz was pressed about the matter in the Senate hallways on Monday, after Trump rollicked the political world by tweeting that numerous legal scholars agree he is essentially above the law.
I ask Ted Cruz if he agrees with Trump that the president can pardon himself. Cruz is silent for eighteen (18!) seconds before telling reporters it’s not a constitutional area he’s studied.— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) June 4, 2018
Alright, folks. Here's the audio pic.twitter.com/3UhsX3f8Jh— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) June 4, 2018
Naturally, sites jumped at Cruz being quiet over Trump. Ted Cruz was “speechless,” wrote CNN.
It got even worse for Cruz when people on Twitter noted that Cruz had, in fact, studied presidential pardons. Cruz even wrote an article as recently as 2015 on the presidential pardon.
And Cruz, who does not take too kindly to being dunked on, couldn’t let it stand, going on a 17-tweet spree, letting everyone know that first off, despite saying he wasn’t an expert on pardons, he is an expert on pardons, and also screw you, you losers.
On the question of whether a president can pardon himself, we're seeing an abundance of knee-jerk partisanship and dishonest journalism.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
Virtually every Dem is saying "of course not, the president can't pardon himself (mostly because we hate Trump)." On the other hand, some Rs are saying "of course the president can."— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
If we were actually focusing on the Constitution, the answer would be more complicated. The text of the Constitution provides, the President "shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
Cruz then delved into the question at hand—parsing the Constitution as well as the now infamous 1970 opinion where the Department of Justice said the president didn’t have the authority to grant himself a pardon—before saying the matter was essentially unsettled.
Whether the Department of Justice opinion is right is an open legal question, with scholars on both sides of the political spectrum disagreeing in good faith.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
But back to the REAL matter at hand: journalists reporting what occurred and people making fun of him.
Some dishonest journalists have attacked me for "taking 18 seconds" to answer — without acknowledging that I was walking through the Capitol, late to a meeting, and simply ignoring a question that a reporter had called out at me (as senators do every single day in the Capitol).— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
When reporters chased me down the hall, and another asked the question again, I chose to answer.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
He went after people calling him out for having said he hadn’t studied the pardon power, despite proof that he had.
Yet others (see https://t.co/drS6Youbi2) have focused on my criticisms of President Obama's abuse of executive power, suggesting that it is somehow hypocritical not to oppose Trump's assertion of executive power.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
They cite a law review article I wrote saying that Obama's executive amnesty was illegal, and that the pardon power did not justify it.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
What those attacks miss is that it is clear that (1) pardons must be retrospective (looking to crimes in the past), not prospective (pardoning future crimes), and (2) they must be addressed to specific persons, not generic categories of offenses.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
Finally, other partisan journalists have attacked me for saying "that is not a constitutional issue I have studied, so I will withhold judgment at this point." That was true then, and is true now.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
Cruz concluded his lengthy diatribe by letting everyone know they’re stupid for even bothering to talk about this.
At this point, none of the investigations has demonstrated any criminal conduct needing to be pardoned, as much as those who hate the president might wish otherwise.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018
Suck it, everyone, is apparently the official stance of the senator from Texas.