Ted Cruz is a 'Serpent Covered in Vaseline' Who Treats Americans Like Suckers, Conservative NYT Columnist Writes

It's safe to say Bret Stephens—a conservative opinion writer for the New York Times—doesn't care for Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz.

Stephens slammed Cruz—like really lit into him—in an opinion piece for the Times on Tuesday that was stylized as a back-and-forth conversation between he and his Gail Collins. The two writers riffed on the week's news, which led to the Senate race between Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke. Stephens said he liked Beto but that the big reason he wanted to chat about the Senate race was because he despises Ted Cruz—"That is 'D-e-s-p-i-s-e,' in case I haven't spelled out my loathing clearly enough," he wrote, before Collins encouraged him to go on. It was then Stephens went all out.

He wrote:

"Because he's like a serpent covered in Vaseline. Because he treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats. Because he sucks up to the guy who insulted his wife — by retweet, no less. Because of his phony piety and even phonier principles. Because I see him as the spiritual love child of the 1980s televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and Jack Nicholson's character in "The Shining." Because his ethics are purely situational. Because he makes Donald Trump look like a human being by comparison. Because "New York values." Because his fellow politicians detest him, and that's just among Republicans. Because he never got over being the smartest kid in eighth grade. Because he's conniving enough to try to put one over you, but not perceptive enough to realize that you see right through him. Because he's the type of man who would sell his family into slavery if that's what it took to get elected. And that he would use said slavery as a sob story to get himself re-elected.

Otherwise, you might say I'm his No. 1 fan."


It's interesting to see Stephens, in particular, go after Cruz. The Times writer has frequently garnered the ire of the left for his takes on things like climate change or the Black Lives Matter movement. So...loathing Cruz might be the rare bit of common ground for Stephens and liberals.

ted cruz serpent vaseline
Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas) speaks to a reporter on November 7, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Conservative New York Times writer Bret Stephens said Cruz was like a "serpent covered in Vaseline." Alex Wong/Getty Images

O'Rourke has garnered a fair bit of national attention and has certainly made the race interesting. But Cruz remains the favorite to win in a typically Republican state. The Real Clear Politics spread has him up by about 4.5 percentage points.

During his time in the Senate Cruz has become a national figure and, of course, ran for president in 2016. And, as Stephens noted, President Donald Trump attacked the senator on a very personal level—suggesting Cruz's father helped kill President John F. Kennedy and taking a cheap-shot at his wife's appearance—and yet Cruz has been firmly in the former reality TV star's camp.

And, in other, Cruz news, the Texas lawmaker was chased out of a D.C. restaurant on Monday by people protesting his friendship with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual misconduct. When pressed by the protesters, Cruz said, "God bless you" and walked out.