cruz sky news
British reporter presses Ted Cruz on why mass shootings only happen here
01:27 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Following a vigil for the 19 children and two teachers who died in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Mark Stone, a US correspondent for the British outlet Sky News, asked Ted Cruz a simple question: “Is this the moment to reform gun laws?”

The following exchange between Stone and the Texas Republican senator, which is long but very much worth reading in full, then occurred:

Cruz: “It’s easy to go to politics …”

Stone: “But it’s important. It’s at the heart of the issue.”

Cruz: “I get that that’s where the media likes to go.”

Stone: “It’s not. It’s where many of the people we’ve talked to here like to go.

Cruz: “The proposals from Democrats and the media, inevitably, when some violent psychopath murders people …”

Stone: “A violent psychopath who is able to get a weapon so easily – 18-year-old with two AR-15s.”

Cruz: “If you want to stop violent crime, the proposals the Democrats have – none of them would have stopped this.”

Stone: “But why does this only happen in your country? I really think that’s what many people around the world just – they cannot fathom, why only in America? Why is this American exceptionalism so awful?”

Cruz: “I’m sorry you think American exceptionalism is awful.”

Stone: “I think this aspect of it …”

Cruz: “You’ve got your political agenda. God love you.”

And with that, Cruz ends the interview and walks away, although he does respond once more after Stone continued to press him by saying: “You know what, this kind of politicization … Why is it that people come from all over the world to America? ‘Cause it’s the freest, most prosperous, safest country on Earth. And stop being a propagandist.”

So, yeah. While this is the sort of exchange that Cruz will, undoubtedly tout to his fundraising base as him standing up to the liberal media (or something), it is also revealing about the nature of how a reliable conservative like Cruz chooses to talk about guns – and gun control.

First of all, the notion that Stone is adversarial in ANY way is ridiculous. He is neither rude nor disrespectful. He is persistent, but nothing more.

What Cruz is doing – from the second Stone asks his simple question – is looking for an out, a way to stop talking about a subject he would clearly rather not address.

He finds it when Stone uses the phrase “American exceptionalism” – a watchword in conservative circles for the notion that the US is unique in the world (in a good way).

Stone is trying to make a fairly obvious point – only the US has a mass shooting problem – but Cruz, ever the savvy politician, seizes on the idea that the reporter is suggesting America is not exceptional in any way. (Watch the clip yourself; it’s very clear what Stone means – and how Cruz purposely reinterprets it.)

Cruz leverages the (clearly false) notion that Stone has somehow revealed his bias as a way to end the interview. Whether you like him or not, Cruz is smart. He knows what he is doing. He’s doing it on purpose to score political points and to find a convenient way out of an uncomfortable conversation for which he has no good answers.

The Point: Cruz will get away with this. And could even benefit politically from it. But we know what he’s doing.