Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas joined Frank Gaffney yesterday to discuss Cruz’s bill aimed at stopping Iran’s new United Nations ambassador, who had been involved in the Iranian hostage crisis, from entering the United States. The bill was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President Obama, who had already refused to grant a visa to the Iranian official, but that didn’t keep Gaffney and Cruz from using the issue to criticize the president.
Like President George H.W. Bush had done with a similar bill, the president noted in a signing statement that the bill might not pass constitutional muster because only the president — not Congress — has constitutional authority to receive ambassadors, so he would have to take the bill as “advisory.”
This led Cruz to berate the president for his refusal to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in the courts (both Republican and Democratic administrations have refused to defend laws they believe to be unconstitutional), his executive orderdeferring deportations of some DREAMers, his widely misrepresented decision to grant the request of Republican governors to modify welfare-to-work requirements, and the attorney general’s move to broaden clemency opportunities for nonviolent offenders serving time for drug crimes.
When Gaffney asked if such actions “constitute a Constitutional crisis in our time,” Cruz responded, “That is exactly right.”
Cruz: You’re right, he did put out that signing statement, and if nothing else I have to praise him for his candor. Because one of the most dismaying aspects of the Obama administration has been that this president seems to regard all legislation as advisory. And so he said so explicitly here that the legislation was now written in the law books as part of the US code, but if he so desires he might ignore it sometime in the future. None of that surprises me because that has been the approach President Obama has taken to the entire rest of the US code, whether it has been immigration laws or marriage laws or drug laws or welfare laws or Obamacare, which he 30 times has ignored the text of the law and disregarded it.
Gaffney: Or rewritten it on his own authority. This raises the question – and I think you’ve very directly addressed it in the past, and I’d invite you to do so again – does this constitute a Constitutional crisis in our time as the result of the man simply departing from his oath, sworn responsibilities to uphold the Constitution, which clearly makes it the Congress’s role to enact legislation.
Cruz: That is exactly right.