Ted Cruz appeared on CNN Monday night to discuss the details of his campaign with host Wolf Blitzer. However, Cruz had a bit of trouble when it was pointed out that one of his top advisers, Frank Gaffney, is an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist.
Blitzer asked Cruz, point blank, if he agreed with Gaffney’s assertions that President Obama is a Muslim and that Chris Christie is guilty of treason for putting a Muslim-American in a position of governmental power. Cruz never gave a straight answer, though.
Here is the full transcript of that part of the interview:
WOLF BLITZER (HOST): Let’s talk about your national security advisers. Last week, you released a list of your foreign policy advisers. Frank Gaffney was on that list, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan administration. Mr. Gaffney has said that President Obama is a Muslim, that the Muslim Brotherhood placed operatives throughout the federal government, that Saddam Hussein probably was behind the Oklahoma City bombing, that Chris Christie may have been complicit in treason by appointing a Muslim-American to New Jersey’s state judiciary. Is this someone whose views you agree with?
TED CRUZ (R-TX): Wolf, look I recognize that folks in the media get really nervous when you actually call out radical Islamic terrorism. Frank Gaffney is someone I respect. Frank Gaffney is a serious thinker who has been focused on fighting jihadism, fighting jihadism across the globe. And he’s endured attacks from the left, from the media, because he speaks out against radical Islamic terrorism, because he speaks out against, for example, the political correctness of the Obama administration that effectively gets in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization.
BLITZER: Let’s be precise. When he said back in 2009, “Barack Hussein Obama would have to be considered America’s first Muslim president.” Do you agree with him on that?
CRUZ: Listen, I don’t know what he said in 2009.
BLITZER: I just read to you the quote.
CRUZ: I don’t have the full context. I’m not interested in playing the media “gotcha” game of here’s every quote, every person who’s supporting you has said at any point, do you agree with every statement. That’s silliness. Here’s my view. We need a Commander in Chief that defends America, and defending America means defeating radical Islamic terrorism and defeating ISIS. What is completely unreasonable is Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s consistent pattern of refusing even to say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” When we see a terror attack, but let me finish this point, Wolf. When we see a terror attack in Paris and San Bernardino and President Obama says, gosh, I didn’t realize people were upset, I guess I wasn’t watching the cable news. And then he gives a national TV conference where he doesn’t call out radical Islamic terrorists, but instead he lectures Americans on Islamophobia. We need a Commander in Chief keeping us safe, and one of the reasons why we’re going to win in November is people are fed up with this silliness.
BLITZER: Would he be considered your national security adviser if you were president?
CRUZ: Look, Frank is one of a number of people who is part of the team who are advising me, and I appreciate his good counsel. For example, Frank —
BLITZER: And so these statements —
CRUZ: Frank has been leading the effort to focus on the threat of an EMP, an electromagnetic pulse which would be a nuclear weapon detonated in the atmosphere that would take down our electrical grid. It could kill tens of millions of Americans. And all Iran would have to do is fire one nuke into the atmosphere. They don’t need to hit anything. They just need to get it above the Eastern seaboard, and they could kill tens of millions. That is valuable work focusing on national security. And I’m curious, Wolf, you know when does the media focus on threats like an EMP?
BLITZER: I think we focus on a lot of those things. But let me just read one other thing, he says there’s some pretty compelling circumstantial evidence of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq being involved with the people who perpetrated the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and even the Oklahoma City bombing. Now you’re a smart guy, have you seen any circumstantial evidence to back that up?
CRUZ: You know I told you a minute ago I’m not going to play the gotcha game of every quote every adviser may have given 20 years ago. You are welcome to throw them out.
BLITZER: That was in 2009.
CRUZ: But I’m actually interested in talking about the problems in this country, and not — This is silliness. Let’s focus on real problems facing America.
Here the video via Media Matters: