Sen. Ted Cruz says “a whole lot more Americans dead” will be the No. 1 long-term impact if the flow of the illicit drug fentanyl into the U.S. is not stopped.
“You look at last year: We had over 100,000 overdoses last year. That’s the highest rate of overdoses in the history of our nation,” says Cruz, R-Texas. “Two-hundred-thirty-plus years of our nation’s history. We’ve never had that until last year.”
“Of those, 70% of those were from Chinese fentanyl coming over the southern border, and it is profoundly dangerous,” he adds.
Cruz joins today’s episode of “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the ongoing crisis at the U.S. southern border, President Joe Biden’s decision to authorize sending 3,000 reserve troops to Europe, and the controversy surrounding the new “Barbie” movie.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:
Samantha Aschieris: Sen. [Ted] Cruz, thanks so much for joining us today. I want to first start with some reports that we got last week of President [Joe] Biden authorizing 3,000 reserve troops to be sent to Europe. Is this a sign of deescalation? Is this a sign of escalation? What are your thoughts on this?
Sen. Ted Cruz: Well, I think it’s very concerning and I think it’s reckless. I think the Biden administration should make absolutely clear that under no circumstances will U.S. servicemen and women be involved in fighting in Ukraine. And this step, I think, is widely seen both here at home and abroad as a step toward escalation.
But also escalation going in the wrong direction, escalation going in the direction of putting our own soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines in harm’s way. And it should be the soldiers of Ukraine fighting this war. It should not be American soldiers on the ground.
Aschieris: Now, I want to talk about China and the threat that we’re facing from the [Chinese] Communist Party, whether it’s TikTok, whether it’s aggression toward Taiwan, or the fentanyl crisis.
As a Texan, you are seeing firsthand the impact of both the border crisis and the fentanyl crisis. So, what are the long-term impacts if we don’t stop the flow of fentanyl coming into this country five to 10 years from now?
Cruz: Well, the long-term impacts are, No. 1, a whole lot more Americans dead. You look at last year: We had over 100,000 overdoses last year. That’s the highest rate of overdoses in the history of our nation. Two-hundred-thirty-plus years of our nation’s history, we’ve never had that until last year. Seventy percent of those were from Chinese fentanyl coming over the southern border. And it is profoundly dangerous.
Look, drug overdoses have always been a problem as long as people have been using drugs. But with fentanyl, it’s something qualitatively different, where in many ways, they’re not even overdoses, they’re more like poisonings, where it’s not a junkie on the street who’s been on heroin for a long time and who takes too much, but it can be one kid, one teenager, one 20-year-old at a party who someone hands them a pill said, “Hey, try a Xanax or a Percocet,” or what have you. And they take one pill, and it’s laced with fentanyl, and they drop dead.
And I have met with too many parents, too many moms, too many dads who’ve have lost their kids to fentanyl poisonings.
Look, I understand this firsthand. My older sister, Miriam, died of a drug overdose. And it’s an epidemic that faces the entire country and plagues the entire country. Everyone has been touched in one way, shape, or form by this.
But what is happening in our southern border has made it qualitatively worse. The volume of Chinese fentanyl coming in is massive, and the overall crisis on our southern border is massive. We have right now roughly 7 million illegal immigrants have come in under Joe Biden. That, again, is the highest in our nation’s history. And it is lawlessness from this administration that is producing a line of Biden body bags as far as the eye can see.
Aschieris: And just along the same lines of talking about the Chinese Communist Party and the threat that we’re facing, what is different about this threat from China than our other adversaries, than Iran, North Korea, Russia?
Cruz: Look, I’ve said for a long time, when I first got elected to the Senate in 2012, I came to D.C. and at the time I said, “Communist China poses the single greatest geopolitical threat for the United States for the next hundred years.” And I got to tell you, when I was saying that in 2013, 2014, that was a lonely view, almost nobody agreed with me.
All the Democrats disagreed with me, and most of the Republicans did. And they looked at China, and they saw nothing but dollar signs as far as the eyes could see. They saw a huge market, and they wanted cheap goods from China, and they wanted to sell their goods in China.
I got to say, where we are now, more and more people, their eyes are opening up to just how malevolent China is. I think the COVID pandemic changed a lot of people’s perceptions of China.
I think we need with China a comprehensive strategic plan to defeat China in the competition for the globe for the next hundred years. And I think we need a plan that is very much modeled after what Ronald Reagan laid out and implemented to win the Cold War, to defeat the Soviet Union.
I’ve spent the last decade in the Senate laying out an approach like that that focuses on No. 1, calling out the evils and abuses of China. Reagan did it masterfully when he stood up to the Soviet Union. He referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” when he said, “Marxism, Leninism will end up on the ash heap of history,” when he stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate and said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Those words had power, and tyrannies fear truth and light and exposure. We need to do the same thing.
And so I spend a lot of time calling out the Chinese government for the murder, for the torture, for the concentration camps that over 1 million people are languishing in, Chinese concentration camps, right now today. We need to call them out. We need to call them out and hold China responsible for the COVID pandemic, for the trillions of dollars of losses, for the over 1 million lives lost to COVID. We need to hold China responsible for that.
We need to stand up to their theft, their intellectual-property theft that they systematically go after and steal—our intellectual property, both military and scientific, and across the board. We need to go after and stop their propaganda and their espionage. And I’ve introduced over two dozen different pieces of legislation to do exactly that.
And in fact, I’ll point to one that just recently got passed in December, so it’s a recent victory. It’s a bill I introduced called the SCRIPT Act. Now, we’ve seen a pattern in Hollywood that is really dismaying, where Hollywood films will edit their films and censor their films to make the Chinese censors happy.
So, for example, “Top Gun 2,” the sequel. The first one, Maverick is wearing a bomber jacket. On the back of the jacket, there’s a patch for Taiwan and a patch for Japan. For the sequel, when they put out the trailers for it, those two patches miraculously disappeared. Because China doesn’t like Taiwan and they don’t like Japan.
And so I called them out, I went to the Senate floor, I was like, “You got to be kidding me. Maverick is scared of the Chinese communists?” And I got to tell you, just the heat on the TV studio was enough, they flipped and put it back in.
What the SCRIPT Act provides is, it says, “OK, if you’re a Hollywood studio, we’re not going to try to regulate you. We can’t do that under the First Amendment.” But what we can do is this: Many, many films use U.S. government assets to make their films—something like “Top Gun,” they’ve got Navy jets. Lots of films, they’ll use ships, they’ll use tanks, they’ll use jeeps.
If they’re down on the border, they’ll use helicopters. They use lots of equipment. And the federal government allows Hollywood to use a lot of U.S. government assets.
The SCRIPT Act says, “You are ineligible: You cannot use any U.S. government asset if you are going to let the Chinese communists censor your film. That if you’re going to do that, if you’re going to be a censor for the Chinese communists, the U.S government’s not going to help you do that.”
And we got that passed. Hollywood fought hard against this bill. We got that passed in December and just last month, the Pentagon laid out the new guidelines, making clear that we’re not going to cooperate. The U.S. government’s not going to cooperate in Hollywood, letting the Chinese communists be censors for American films.
Aschieris: Well, also, a more recent movie, “Barbie”—
Aschieris: … is getting a lot of backlash right now.
Just one final question for you: If we don’t counter the threat of the Chinese Communist Party, as we were talking earlier with the fentanyl crisis, what’s at stake for the United States of America?
Cruz: Well, an enormous amount. Let me go back to “Barbie” for a second before we get to that. Because, look, the “Barbie” movie is coming out right now. I’m the dad of two young daughters. This is going to be a big movie, particularly for a lot of young girls. There’s a scene in “Barbie” where there is this map of the world, and it’s drawn with crayon. I mean, it’s really a very simple cartoon.
And so, they have this “blackish” thing that is called Asia. And then they’ve drawn what are called “the nine dashes,” which is, this is Chinese communist propaganda, which the Chinese are asserting sovereignty over the entirety of the South China Sea. And they don’t have any right to it under international law, but they’re trying to take it away from their neighbors there, take away, and claim China’s in charge of the entire sea and no one else, whether Vietnam or Singapore or other nations in that area, they don’t have any rights to access that water.
It’s blatantly false and it’s Chinese propaganda. Well, the stupid little cartoon map has the nine dashes drawn on there. And they did it for one purpose and one purpose only, to kiss up to the Chinese communist censors. And I got to say that is shameful.
I’ve called them out. As you know, I do a podcast every week, three days a week, it’s called “Verdict With Ted Cruz.” Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Everyone listening to this should subscribe to “Verdict With Ted Cruz.” We’re here at Turning Point.
Cruz: We’re getting ready to do a live episode of “Verdict” here at Turning Point. But we did a whole show on “Barbie,” walking through. And I got to say, the press likes to mock this and be like, “Oh, come on. Why are you talking about something like ‘Barbie’?” Because Hollywood letting the Chinese communists dictate what is in American films is a real threat and we need to call them out.
You asked about the broader threats of China. Look, fentanyl is killing Americans. You go down to the southern border. I was last at the southern border, down in Brownsville, the southern tip of Texas. It has been the heaviest trafficked area for illegal immigration.
When I was there just a couple of months ago, they were seeing every day between 90 and 100 Chinese nationals crossing in Brownsville, Texas. And to be clear, even on a “Barbie” cartoon map, I’m pretty sure the country south of Brownsville is not China. They got to go a long way to get to Mexico to cross into the U.S.
And if they’re sending 90 to 100 in just in one place in Texas, and most of these are young, military-age men, and they are people, often we don’t have any criminal backgrounds. We don’t know if they’re spies. We don’t know if they’re working for the Chinese communist government.
It is a serious threat. And the Biden administration is endangering the country by allowing 7 million people to come into this country illegally and by allowing a flood of drugs that is killing Americans.
Aschieris: Well, Sen. Cruz, thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
Cruz: Thank you.
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