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Last week, while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., U.S. Sen Ted Cruz tried his hand at comedy, attempting to crack jokes mocking liberals and transgender people.
Most of Cruz’s jokes received polite applause throughout the nearly 17-minute-long speech, including his attempt to mock safety protocols related to masking amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cruz focused his remarks around COVID-19 on the shutdowns imposed by larger states like California and New York, expressing skepticism about actions taken to shut down public parks or limit the numbers of people allowed to attend religious services at churches and synagogues.
“We see Bill de Blasio in New York sending people in to shut down parks, and to throw young Orthodox Jewish kids out of the park, because god forbid children have fun. We see leftist across the country shutting down churches. California, they’ve helpfully explained, you can go out and protest. You can scream and yell ‘Abolish the police,’ and this virus magically, no one will get infected,” Cruz said.
“You can French kiss the guy next to you yelling, ‘Abolish the police,’ and no one will get infected. But if you go to church and say, ‘Amazing grace,’ everyone’s going to die.”
Decrying cancel culture, Cruz continued with his diatribe ranting about the extremism of the left and leftists’ lack of humor, before deciding to throw in a joke about transgender people to play to the audience.
“You know, in 2020, the New York Times reported that 60% of women named Karen voted for Joe Biden,” he said to twitters of laughter. “That’s actually real! That’s what the New York Times reported. And I’m willing to believe that 80% of the men named Karen voted for Joe Biden.”
Cheap jokes and rhetoric aren’t new for the Texas senator, who has amassed an anti-LGBTQ record during his eight years in federal office, opposing same-sex marriage rights and calling them “fundamentally illegitimate” and voting against bills or amendments to expand LGBTQ rights, and even against Social Security benefits for same-sex couples.
During his failed presidential campaign, Cruz courted several anti-LGBTQ religious leaders and even met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail for contempt of court after refusing to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples, to cement his image as a conservative culture warrior.
He appeared, along with several other prospective presidential candidates, at the National Religious Liberties Conference, an event organized by far-right pastor Kevin Swanson, who has defended the existence of laws imposing capital punishment for homosexual relations, according to Right Wing Watch.
Cruz also previously decried the Obama administration’s guidance advising schools to respect the gender identity of transgender students. In 2015, in two separate interviews, Cruz invoked “bathroom panic,” or the idea that transgender people pose a threat to women and children in restrooms, while ranting about a Department of Education ruling that found that an Illinois school district discriminated against a transgender girl by barring her from the locker room.
“Look, these guys are so nutty that the federal government is going after school districts, trying to force them to let boys shower with little girls,” Cruz told YouTuber and conservative activist Steven Crowder. “Now listen: I’m the father of two daughters, and the idea that the federal government is coming in saying that boys, with all the god-given equipment of boys, can be in the shower room with junior high girls — this is lunacy!”
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