Watch Ted Cruz's super-awkward straining for applause from a firefighters' union
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during an awkward speech to the International Association of Firefighters in Washington D.C. [MSNBC]

Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) attempt to win over a firefighters union went over like a lead balloon, the Dallas Morning News reported.


The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) gave Cruz the silent treatment during his 30-minute speech at their conference in Dallas on Tuesday, during which he criticized the Internal Revenue Service and the Affordable Care Act.

"Five years ago reasonable minds could have differed on whether this was a good idea," Cruz said of the healthcare law, commonly known as Obamacare. "But today, seeing millions of American who've lost their jobs, who've been forced into part time work, who've lost their heatlh care, who've lost their doctor -- it is the essence of reasonableness, it is the essence of pragmatism to acknowledge this thing isn't working. We need to repeal it and start over."

What was supposed to be an applause-getting line ended up bombing, since the association supported the law. An IAFF spokesperson told the News that, while the union has tried to change a part of the statute affecting union members with more expensive insurance policies, "the whole idea of repealing the entire program is not something this organization supports."

MSNBC posted footage of Cruz visibly straining for applause that never came after saying he wanted to "padlock the IRS building and put all those IRS agents on our southern border."

While IAFF members reportedly gave Cruz "polite" applause before and after his speech, the senator was also knocked -- though not by name -- by another conference guest, Rep. Peter King (R-NY).

"I find it really hypocritical to have people come before you, say, 'I stand with the firefighters, We have to be with you,' and then they don't vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security," King said.

Cruz is no stranger to awkward interactions with crowds. He was booed offstage last September during an appearance in front of a group of Middle Eastern Christians, saying, "If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you."

Watch footage of Cruz's IAFF appearance, as posted by MSNBC, below.