U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday voted with many of his Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee against confirming Judge Merrick Garland to be the next Attorney General, and did so in a speech designed for the Fox News and OANN cameras – and the fact-checkers.
In short, most of Cruz's claims were lies, easily smacked down by Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL).
"Not only did he refuse to answer questions at the hearing," Senator Cruz said falsely, "not only did he refuse to answer questions for the record, but Judge Garland is also one of the few Biden Cabinet nominees refusing to take in person meetings with Senators – categorically refusing to take them. Multiple other Biden nominees are taking them."
Later Cruz stretched his falsehood into an outright lie, claiming Judge Garland "essentially refused to answer all questions," and saying, "on question after question after question Judge Garland refused to answer virtually anything."
Judge Garland, who is 68, decided he did not want to risk in-person meetings during the pandemic. He offered to meet via Zoom, as Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin later explained to Cruz, noting that Cruz refused to meet on Zoom with him. Every Republican in the U.S. Senate in 2016 refused to meet with Garland when he was a Supreme Court nominee.
"If he's not willing to answer questions, now, before he's confirmed, the likelihood of his being willing to answer questions after he was confirmed is only smaller on the response to the questions," Cruz went on to say.
Again, Chairman Durbin reminded Cruz that Republicans sent Garland in writing nearly 850 questions, including 127 from Cruz. Garland answered them all. As he did in his in-person confirmation hearing, when he did not know the answer, he said so.
Republicans falsely claim that Judge Garland refused to answer all of their questions, but were ok with Judge Barrett refusing to answer over 100 questions during her hearing, and well over 150 additional questions for the record.
Judge Garland answered nearly 850. — Senate Judiciary Committee (@JudiciaryDems) March 1, 2021
Chairman Durbin politely smacked down Cruz's claims.
In the end, Garland was reported positively out of committee, 15-7.
New: Senate Judiciary has voted to send AG nomination of Merrick Garland to the full Senate for a vote
Vote was 15-7. Senators Grassley, Cornyn, Tillis and Graham joined Democrats voting Yes.
Republicans Lee, Cruz, Sasse, Hawley, Cotton, Kennedy, & Blackburn voted No
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) March 1, 2021
Watch Sen. Cruz:
Ted Cruz in 2021: “[Merrick] Garland is…refusing to take in-person meetings with senators." (Durbin notes Garland offered to meet via Zoom) Ted Cruz in 2016: There is “precedent" for blocking Garland's nomination even after the 2016 election.https://t.co/JlzTWDrDa8 pic.twitter.com/NvMdd4GpYD
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) March 1, 2021