Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) fired back at Republicans who accused him of hypocrisy this week after he called for a federal response to Hurricane Harvey -- but he had earlier voted against relief funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy, which struck areas with largely Democratic voters.
"Ted Cruz & Texas cohorts voted vs NY/NJ aid after Sandy but I’ll vote 4 Harvey aid. NY wont abandon Texas. 1 bad turn doesnt deserve another,” Republican Rep. Peter King of New York tweeted on Saturday.
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, Cruz insisted that he still would have stiff-armed the Sandy victims.
Cruz began the interview by noting that he had visited a Texas facility with over 3,000 displaced families. He said that there would be more than 5,000 by the end of Monday.
"We've got people who are seeing their homes destroyed," the senator said, adding that the damage totals would be "extensive."
"Some of your collegues on Capitol Hill are talking about how do we fund this recovery," the CNBC reporter observed. "Peter King is tweeting at you that he plans to vote for funding even though you didn't vote for Sandy funding."
"There will be plenty of time for politics," Cruz replied, dismissing the question with a wave of his hand. "I'm not going to worry about political sniping. My focus here is on the tragedy that's unfolding, on the people whose lives are in jeopardy and the people who need help."
"Has this given you a different perspective?" the reporter wondered. "Do you think that you would have voted differently about the Sandy bill given what you're seeing in Texas."
"No!" Cruz insisted. "Of course not. As I said at the time, hurricane funding is a very important federal responsibility. And I would have eagerly supported funding for that, but I didn't think it was appropriate to engage in pork barrel spending, where two-thirds of that bill was unrelated to spending, that had nothing to do with Sandy and was simply politicians wasting money."
"In Sandy, there were people in crisis and with Harvey, here, there are people in crisis," the Texas Republican noted. "We need to focus on solving the problem and meeting people's needs, not engaging in political games."
Watch the video below from CNBC.