Ted Cruz fumes over 'academia's war on conservatives' after event moved off campus over mask dispute

A conservative group that brings speakers to college campuses moved an event with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) off UW-Madison's campus after a disagreement over the school's indoor mask policy.

Cruz and the group criticized the school, saying it was an effort to suppress free speech.

The event is billed as a live recording of the podcast Verdict, which Cruz hosts with conservative writer Michael Knowles.

“Academia's war on conservatives continues!!" Cruz wrote on Twitter. “UW-Madison is trying to stifle free speech and prevent [Knowles] and me from recording a LIVE episode of #Verdict. Their Marxist COVID mandates won't stop us! Get tickets for our new venue!"

But emails released by UW-Madison show that the group sponsoring the event, the Young America's Foundation — which is run by former Gov. Scott Walker, had agreed to follow all campus COVID-19 policies prior to the event.

“Any team members from Young America's Foundation who will be on site for the Verdict event on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, will be sure to follow the University of Wisconsin's health protocols and guidelines," an email from the group's vice president states.

UW-Madison requires that masks be worn indoors, including by people performing on stage.

“There may be some fireworks," Sen. Cruz said in an announcement of the event. “We may get some lefty students, and we may even get some commie professors coming in to argue in defense of the communist overthrow of our nation."

The event has been moved to the Wisconsin Masonic Center. Under the latest Dane County public health order, performers are allowed to forgo masks onstage if everyone in attendance is fully vaccinated and the performers stay at least six feet away from those in the crowd.


Wisconsin Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Wisconsin Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Ruth Conniff for questions: info@wisconsinexaminer.com. Follow Wisconsin Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

GOP senator Ron Johnson slammed by Wisconsin mayors for neglecting his job during infrastructure debate

A group of Wisconsin mayors say Sen. Ron Johnson neglected to look out for Wisconsin when the Senate recently took action on a major piece of legislation.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that would improve roads, highways and bridges across the country while expanding green energy and access to broadband internet. Johnson said in an interview that he didn't even read the bill's text.

Superior Mayor Jim Paine, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels said in a statement that Johnson should be more focused on improving the lives of Wisconsinites.

“With the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the Senate we're confident we are going to be able to invest in our communities, create good paying jobs, repair and expand our infrastructure, and grow our local economies," they said in a joint statement. “The fact that Senator Johnson refused to support this plan without even reading it proves he had no interest in delivering much needed federal infrastructure funding to our state. We implore Senator Johnson to stop playing these self-serving political games with our constituents' livelihoods and fulfill his duties as Wisconsin's United States Senator."

The infrastructure bill is now awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives.


Wisconsin Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Wisconsin Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Ruth Conniff for questions: info@wisconsinexaminer.com. Follow Wisconsin Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

GOP senator slammed after saying he voted against infrastructure bill without even reading it

Sen. Ron Johnson was one of 30 Republicans who voted against the recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — yet in an appearance on the conservative Dan Bongino Show, Johnson said he hadn't even read the bill.

This article was originally published at Wisconsin Examiner

The package passed the Senate last week but has not yet passed the House of Representatives. It could bring billions of dollars to Wisconsin to repair roads and bridges, expand internet access across the state and replace lead pipes; 19 Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voted for the bill.

Johnson noted the bill's 2,700 page length and its price tag in his public statements about the vote, but later said he didn't read it.

“And, I'll be the first to admit, I didn't read the thing," he said on the Aug. 12 episode of the Dan Bongino Show. “I was able to glean pretty quickly on that there was no way I was going to be able to support that pig…"

Democrats in Wisconsin say Johnson admitting he didn't even read the bill is another sign of his failure as a leader in the state.

“Once again, Ron Johnson's complete lack of leadership and disregard for the office he holds is on full display," Philip Shulman, spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, says. “In refusing to even read the bipartisan infrastructure plan, Ron Johnson sent a very clear message to Wisconsinites that their interests and needs don't matter to him."

A spokesperson for Johnson did not answer questions about Johnson not reading major legislation, only providing his statements about the infrastructure bill and Democrats' related budget plan.

“What's so unfortunate about the infrastructure bill that just passed is we could have accomplished both goals by repurposing money from the Democrats' 100% partisan 'COVID relief' bill that isn't even spent until 2022 through 2028," Johnson said in his statement. “Instead, the bill's supporters deceived the public into thinking their bill was 'paid for' by using smoke-and-mirror gimmicks. The Congressional Budget Office didn't buy their fuzzy math and said their bill will add $256 billion to our national debt. There's no way I would support that deception from the swamp's big spenders. This is just the first step in the Democrats' plan to pass their $5 trillion-plus radical tax-and-spend agenda, and I simply couldn't help facilitate it."

Johnson has repeatedly cited the budget deficit as one of the issues most important to him. Yet, in 2017, Johnson was a key Republican vote for passing a major tax overhaul which the Congressional Budget Office has said would increase the budget deficit by nearly $2 trillion.

Last week, Propublica revealed that Johnson's advocacy in the 2017 legislative effort led to a major tax windfall for his biggest donors and some of Wisconsin's most powerful billionaires — Diane Hendricks, as well as Richard and Liz Uihlein.


Wisconsin Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Wisconsin Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Ruth Conniff for questions: info@wisconsinexaminer.com. Follow Wisconsin Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

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