Ted Cruz defends flip-flop to rabid Trump defender despite abuse from president: 'I've got a job to do'
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) -- screenshot

On Saturday, Washington Post writer Mike DeBonis profiled how Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went all-out during the impeachment trial to demonstrate his allegiance to President Donald Trump — and act as an informal defense counsel while supposedly serving as a juror.

"Donald Trump called him 'Lyin' Ted' Cruz, mocked his wife's appearance and falsely suggested his father was involved in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination," wrote DeBonus. "Cruz called Trump a 'sniveling coward,' a 'pathological liar' and 'utterly amoral,' and infuriated Republicans when he declined to endorse the nominee at the 2016 Republican National Convention."

But that was in 2016. Four years later, with the president firmly in control of the GOP and facing impeachment, Cruz leapt into action to protect him.

"Working inside the Senate and out, Cruz (R-Tex.) played a unique role in securing Trump’s swift acquittal at the third-ever presidential impeachment trial — simultaneously serving as legal strategist, jury consultant, messaging guru, broadcast surrogate and, unexpectedly, a breakout podcasting star," wrote DeBonis. "Once a bitter foe who went to great lengths to stop Trump, Cruz has long since abandoned his animosity to embrace a president who enjoys sky-high GOP approval and rages against those who dare to break with him. Following his outsized work on impeachment, Cruz can fairly claim to have helped save Trump’s presidency."

"Besides being a particularly stark illustration of the axiom that there are no permanent enemies in politics, Cruz’s decision to enthusiastically don the mantle of presidential guardian also represented, to many Republicans, an instance of a man meeting his moment."

Cruz, for his part, paints his about-face as an act of courage rather than cowardice. "My attitude is, I've got a job to do," said Cruz in an interview. "To do my job, I've got to work with the president. And, you know, I could have made the choice to allow my feelings to be hurt, to take my marbles and go home. But I think that would’ve been an irresponsible choice."

It's worth pointing out that in Cruz's first term, under President Barack Obama, that was decidedly not his attitude when he spearheaded a government shutdown to try to force the president to strip funding from his signature health care legislation.

Cruz also played a key role in helping Trump advance the conspiracy theories about Ukraine and the Biden family that formed the basis of the scheme that led to impeachment in the first place. "Along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cruz began in mid-January to promote the notion that if Democrats wanted to call Bolton, Republicans would demand that Biden’s son Hunter testify about his well-paid service on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma," wrote DeBonis.

"The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Cruz’s role. But at a Jan. 29 event celebrating the ratification of a new North American trade deal, Trump singled Cruz out for praise," wrote DeBonis. "'Thank you, Ted, for everything,' he said. 'You've been incredible.'"

You can read more here.