Ted Cruz Questions Credentials of Joe Biden's HHS Pick, Insists 'We Need a Scientist'

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) continued his criticism of President Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday. Cruz has expressed strong opposition to Xavier Becerra, saying the head of HHS should be a doctor and painting Becerra as a left-wing activist.

Comparing his background to Becerra's, Cruz argued that he is also personally unqualified for the job because he's not a scientist. His latest criticism come as part of an ongoing Twitter spat with Princeton historian Kevin M. Kruse about Becerra's qualifications.

Their most recent clash centered on the fact that Becerra is a lawyer. Cruz argued that he shouldn't be confirmed because his background as an attorney was inappropriate to the role.

"If a Republican tried to nominate a trial lawyer like Xavier Becerra to lead HHS in the midst of a global pandemic, they would be laughed out of the room," Cruz tweeted on Wednesday.

Kruse responded, saying: "He was a US Congressman from 1993 to 2017, and then served as the attorney general of California, but sure, dismiss him as a 'trial lawyer.'"

"I've been a lawyer for 25 yrs & a Senator for 8. Would you hire me to remove your appendix?" the senator tweeted.

"Of course not. I'm not remotely qualified to be HHS Secretary—& neither are you, a history professor & pundit," he went on. "Bacerra [sic] is a left-wing activist. During a pandemic, we need a scientist."

I’ve been a lawyer for 25 yrs & a Senator for 8. Would you hire me to remove your appendix?

Of course not. I’m not remotely qualified to be HHS Secretary—& neither are you, a history professor & pundit.

Bacerra is a left-wing activist.

During a pandemic, we need a scientist. https://t.co/4mupAmlIv3

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 25, 2021

However, that tweet was Cruz' second response to Kruse discussing Becerra's time in Congress. He initially tweeted: "Is he going to sue the virus?"

"When you voted to confirm Ben Carson as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, did you think he was going to perform brain surgery on an apartment?" Kruse responded.

Later, seeing the so-called ratio of likes to responses on his tweet and Cruz', the historian joked: "I'm a little rusty on the federal laws on Twitter ratios, but I *think* this means I'm now the U.S. Senator from Texas?"

Cruz is not a physician, as he admitted on Twitter. Neither was the previous HHS Secretary Alex Azar, appointed by former President Donald Trump. He was a lawyer and former pharmaceutical executive. He was confirmed in 2018, before the pandemic.

The Texas senator joined other conservatives and Pro-Life Democrats in opposing Becerra. A memo from the Conservative Action project on Monday called him "an extremist nominee who will carry the agendas of liberal dark money groups to his administration post if confirmed."

Despite these objections, Becerra is facing a relatively smooth confirmation, according to a Politico report on Wednesday.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Cruz has expressed strong opposition to Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra. Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images