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Of all the issues plaguing the United States Congress this session, one would hope that the topic of sexual assault allegations would be bipartisan.
It looks like that’s not the case, however. For certain members of Congress, the issue of condemning a politician for sexual assault depends on whether they belong to the same political party.
In an interview with Fox News, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he would support the election of Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate for Alabama, but believes accusations of U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) are “very serious.”
Over the course of Moore’s Senate race, five women have come forward to say Moore subjected them to sexual misconduct that ranges from pursuing underage teenage girls in his 30s to molesting a 14-year-old to attempted rape of a 16-year-old.
Despite these allegations, it looks like Moore will win the seat. When asked on Thursday if he thinks Moore should be kicked out of the Senate if he wins, Cruz argued Washington politicians should honor the voters’ decision.
“This is an issue that the voters have in front of them and they’ll make a decision,” he said. “I think we need to respect the will of the voters.”
FOX NEWS HOST TO @tedcruz: You cool working with alleged child molester Roy Moore if he's elected?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 30, 2017
CRUZ: Sure, no problem, that's up to the voters.
FOX NEWS HOST: And what about alleged groper Al Franken?
CRUZ: Now that's a very serious problem. I'm extremely concerned. pic.twitter.com/1QzMq0Hud5
The Fox News host then brought up Franken—who, as of Thursday, has been accused of sexual misconduct by six women in total. Cruz immediately switched gears and said the accusations were very serious.
“I will say—there’s a rich irony watching all the Democrats back peddling and trying to justify their colleague who now you’ve got five women who allege groping,” he said. “That’s a serious, serious problem and think it’s something we’re going to see debated quite a bit more.”
Individuals on Twitter shared their disgust of Cruz’s hypocritical comments. Others, of course, sided with Cruz and—ironically—argued that Democrats only care about sexual assault allegations if they don’t like the man getting accused.
The rich irony is watching Republicans say they will seat a child molester. No comparison. Not even close.— Cynth (@CyntBake) December 1, 2017
Men who apologize or speak in defense of Moore aren’t real men.— Lori Potter (@Elpotterishere) December 1, 2017
it's honestly insane how much actionable blog content tumbles out of ted cruz's mouth in 90 seconds https://t.co/PlmHnVSnGx— aleksander chan (@aleksnotalex) December 1, 2017
Political tribalism at its worst, Senator Ted Cruz is just another partisan politician who only cares about bad things when it effects the other side. https://t.co/sibGayRpbS— Beto For Senate (@BetoSenate2018) December 1, 2017
There’s a chance that Cruz might just feel compelled to stand up for the rights of Alabama voters. He might even believe that Franken’s situation is different because voters didn’t know about his misconduct when they voted for him, and therefore fellow Congress members have more of a right to weigh-in.
But there’s just something telling about the fact that he’s getting enjoyment from the “rich irony” of his co-workers allegedly supporting a man accused of sexual assault when he is doing the exact same thing by not condemning Moore’s actions.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.