Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet unleashes on Ted Cruz, Trump over shutdown

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

2 bills to reopen government fail in Senate

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., unleashed a rare tirade at Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and President Trump over the government shutdown, slamming Cruz for crying "crocodile tears" for first responders. Bennet spoke after Cruz discussed a bill which would only fund the U.S. Coast Guard.

"These crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take," Bennet said, hitting Cruz for singlehandedly orchestrating a 13-day government shutdown in 2013.

"When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013, my state was flooded. It was under water! People were killed! People's houses were destroyed! Their small businesses were ruined forever!" Bennet said. "And because of the senator from Texas, this government was shut down for politics (and) he surfed to a second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses."

Bennet then slammed Mr. Trump for insisting on building a border wall, and refusing to sign any government funding bill which does not include money for the wall. He excoriated Mr. Trump and his border wall campaign promise at length.

"How ludicrous it is that this government is shut down over a promise the president of the United States couldn't keep!" Bennet said. "This idea that he was going to build a medieval wall across the southern border of Texas, take it from the farmers and ranchers that were there, and have the Mexicans pay for it isn't true. That's why we're here."

He noted that while the Chinese were landing spacecraft on the dark side of the moon, the United States was shut down and arguing over a wall. He also hit Cruz for not voting for the bipartisan Senate immigration bill in 2013 which failed in the House, saying that unlike the proposed $5.7 billion for the "rinky-dink wall," that bill had included $46 billion for border security.

"I'm not going to stand here and take it from somebody who's shut the government down while my state was flooded, or from a president who's saying he wants $5 billion to build some antiquated medieval wall that he said Mexico would pay for — when I helped write and voted for a bill that actually would have secured the border," he said.

"This is a joke!" he finished. "This government should be open!"

Bennet told "Meet the Press" later on Thursday afternoon that he was considering running for president in 2020.

"I'm thinking about it," he said. "I think the country is moving in a terrible direction."

First published on January 24, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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