Sen. Ted Cruz accused Democrats of using charges of racism as a “crutch” and blamed the party for the founding of the Klu Klux Klan during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday.
The Texas Republican defended attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., from charges that he tried to stop African-Americans from voting during his time as Alabama attorney general.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was not allowed to debate on the floor after reading a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King that accused Sessions of using “the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”
Cruz said that was a false smear of Sessions.
“It’s one of the crutches. When the left doesn’t have any other arguments, they go and accuse everyone of being a racist,” Cruz said on Fox News. “It’s an ugly, ugly part of the modern Democratic party.”
Cruz said Warren was recounting “false charges.” A Republican Senate failed to confirm Sessions for a federal judgeship in 1986, largely due to concerns about accusations of racism.
“Jeff Sessions is an honorable, decent man,” Cruz said.
Democrats have tried to bring up those issues again, including reading King’s letter on the Senate floor, but Republicans seem poised to confirm Sessions with little or no Democratic votes.
“The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan. You look at the most racist. You look at the Dixiecrats, they were Democrats who imposed segregation, imposed Jim Crow laws, who founded the Klan,” Cruz said. “The Klan was founded by a great many Democrats. Now the Democrats just accuse anyone they disagree with of being a racist.”
The Dixiecrats broke away from the Democratic Party over segregation and states’ rights. South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948 and won South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and one electoral vote in Tennessee.
The party’s platform called for continued segregation and against federal intervention to end it. “We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race,” it read.
The KKK was founded in 1866 by former Confederate veterans, shortly after the end of the Civil War. It was formed, in part, to combat Republican efforts at Reconstruction in the South.