Ted Cruz went into the lion’s den and came out a winner last night. Speaking at the Gridiron Club, Cruz poked fun at himself, his feud with Trump but saved his best barbs for Liz Warren and Cory Booker.
He savaged them both with a hilarious takedown that should remind them not to dare run in 2020. Cruz said, “This was also a breakthrough year in which my presidential sobriquet went from “Lyin’ Ted” to “Beautiful Ted.”
I gotta say That new pet name felt like it really hit the mark. Why else do you think I’m growing a beard?
Since I’m here tonight kissing up, some are calling it the Wolf Blitzer look. I just hope it’s not Al Gore 2001. John Bolton, himself an aficionado of facial hair, said I look more like Ahmadinejad.
Anyway, silly nicknames can be hard to shed. Just ask my distinguished colleagues Little Marco, Pocahontas, and Spartacus.
May I say in passing, I do not appreciate the ridicule directed at my friend Cory Booker for that proud declaration we all remember. He wasn’t just making it up. The DNA evidence – at a precise ratio of one over one-thousand-and-twenty-four – has now proven his noble Thracian ancestry.
In any event, I’m sure I’ve shaken off my 2016 nickname for good, along with any hard feelings that might have lingered from my clash with Donald Trump. Sometimes you just have to put minor squabbles behind you . . . you know, like whether or not your dad was the guy on the Grassy Knoll.
We patched things up, Donald and I. Some had called our coming-together impossible, but I always knew I could win him back. Remember, we’re talking about a guy who recently reported “falling in love” with Kim Jong Un.”
Ted goes onto to poke fun at a few more politicians and then mocks himself and Jimmy Kimmel before concluding in a heartfelt manner.
“The transformation actually started a number of weeks ago, when I savored the biggest victory of my political life. I’m referring of course to my surprise victory over Jimmy Kimmel in one-on-one basketball.
Jimmy had been making fun of me, an unusual course of action— and he blamed me for the Rockets loss to the Golden State Warriors. I got mad, and challenged him to hoops. Or, as I like to call it, ring-ball.
He accepted and it was ugly. I know that’s shocking given Jimmy’s and my athletic builds and our natural aptitude at sports. But ESPN reported afterwards that “if Dr. Naismith had seen what happened here tonight, he would have invented a different sport.”
Well, I’ve had a lot of fun tonight, some at my own expense. What my friend Rick Perry calls self-defecating humor.
But I take very seriously the role played by the free press in this country. What separates us from authoritarianism is not principally the second amendment or the tenth, but it is the first.
I am the son of an immigrant who left the brutality of an authoritarian regime, and where the press was simply a mouthpiece of the state. To this day, I don’t believe anything I read in the Toronto Star.
An independent, even adversarial, press is baked into the Constitution. I don’t always like it, but I will always defend it. Because the alternative is unthinkable, and un-American.
Your fight is our fight. You are charged with shining the light of truth on the darkest corners of our globe.
For that, I, and millions of Americans, are truly grateful.
May the Christmas season bring you and your families great joy and great peace. Thank you.”
You can read the whole speech here.