ORLANDO, Fla. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, in a speech Friday at a major national conservative gathering, joked about his recent trip to Cancún during the Texas winter weather crisis and promised that former President Donald Trump would be a lasting force in the Republican Party.
Cruz appeared at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, as President Joe Biden headed to Texas to see the state’s recovery from last week’s storm, which left millions of Texans without power and potable water. The Democratic president was set to be joined in Houston by the state’s senior U.S. senator, John Cornyn, as well as Gov. Greg Abbott, both Republicans.
Cruz opened his CPAC speech by poking fun at his ill-timed visit to Cancún, which sparked a national uproar late last week. Cruz returned early from his trip, calling it a “mistake.”
“I gotta say, Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun,” Cruz said, pausing amid laughter in the crowd. “But it’s nice.”
Cruz went on to use the address to rally Republicans against the Biden agenda and for the next two election cycles. At one point, he brought up Trump and said there were some in Washington who want to move on from him.
“Let me tell you this right now: Donald Trump ain’t goin’ anywhere,” Cruz said, arguing the GOP has become the party of “not just the country clubs” but also blue-collar workers.
“That is our party and these deplorables are here to stay,” Cruz added, referring to the term Hillary Clinton used to describe some of Trump’s supporters in the 2016 presidential race.
Cruz led up to the declaration by referencing a report Thursday that an old intraparty nemesis, ex-U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, told Cruz to “go f--k yourself” in an off-script moment while recording the audio version of his new memoir.
“Yesterday, John Boehner made some news,” Cruz said. “He suggested that I do something that was anatomically impossible — to which my response was, ‘Who’s John Boehner?’”