Feb. 26, 2016 11:01pm Tré Goins-Phillips
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — As Super Tuesday draws closer, Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz sought to rally religious liberty voters in an appearance at televangelist Pat Robertson’s Regent University, warning that the wrong Supreme Court nominations could even lead to veterans’ memorials being “torn down.”
Cruz said that the high court is on the verge of a “left-wing majority” that would “undermine our basic rights,” painting a dark picture of what could come if the balance of the high court shifts toward the Democrats.
“We are one liberal justice away from the Supreme Court ordering veterans memorials torn down all over this country, and I tell you we’re not far away from the court ordering the chisels to come out to remove the crosses and the stars of David from the tombstones of fallen soldiers. That’s what the stakes are in this election,” Cruz insisted, vowing that every justice he appoints “will be a principled constitutionalist with a proven record.”
Cruz sought to contrast himself against his chief Republican rival Donald Trump, telling the audience he has “no interest in cutting a deal” with Nevada Sen. Harry Reid (D) and nominating a justice who doesn’t have a proven conservative record.
The presidential hopeful then turned toward strategy, promising a “terrific night” on Super Tuesday that will lead to winning the GOP nomination, claiming to be the only candidate who is poised to defeat Trump, who he fears would nominate liberal justices to the Supreme Court.
“We are going to bring back to the polls the millions of evangelicals, the millions of Reagan Democrats, the working-class men and women who’ve gotten hammered the last seven years under the Obama economy, and we will win the general election,” he said.
When joined on the stage by Robertson, who Cruz revealed his parents campaigned for during his 1988 run, the televangelist told Cruz he was “inspiring.”
As the two discussed policy, Cruz continued flexing his legal muscle, promising to prosecute any criminal violations regarding Planned Parenthood and the Veterans Administration scandal if elected president. Additionally, appealing the the evangelical crowd, Cruz vowed to move the U.S. Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a promise that ushered in a rousing applause.
The senator then took questions from the crowd. One of those questions centered on his economic policies and how he would balance his commitment to capitalism while also helping those living in poverty.
In response, Cruz said he views all economic policy through his father’s experience as a Cuban immigrant. He explained his father’s journey from Cuba to the U.S., a story that has become a cornerstone of the candidate’s campaign. He told the audience that his father came to the United States with nothing more than $100 in his underwear and worked in a kitchen, earning only 50 cents per hour.
“You know, I try to think of all domestic policy from the perspective of my dad. My dad came from Cuba in 1957 and he had been imprisoned, he was tortured in Cuba as a teenager. And when he came to America, he was just 18, he couldn’t speak English,” Cruz said to an intently listening crowd. ”I try to think of every policy, ‘Alright, how would it have impacted my dad?’”
Cruz told the audience that his father’s story is why he is “so passionately opposed to Obamacare,” arguing that his father would have either been laid off or been unable to earn a livable wage under the healthcare policy.
“I think our focus for everyone should be easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder, empowering them, what I’ve called opportunity conservatism, that every focus should be on individual responsibility, on helping people climb the economic ladder,” Cruz concluded.
The latest polling out of Virginia shows Trump in the lead with 38 percent of the vote, followed by Cruz with 15 percent and Rubio with 13 percent.