Ted Cruz called out Mitch McConnell seven times by name on Monday night. Afterward, the Senate majority leader barely uttered a word about his chief Republican adversary.
Asked about Cruz’s diatribe on the Senate floor, during which the Texas Republican suggested McConnell is a puppet for Democratic leaders and a foe of conservatives, McConnell couldn’t conceal his smile on Tuesday.
“I have tried very hard to stay out of the presidential race, and I think that’s probably a good rule for me,” he said with a chuckle.
McConnell may not like to talk about Cruz, but he and his leadership lieutenants have quietly and methodically worked to isolate the conservative senator and minimize his effect on the critical fall spending debate. The end result, in spite of Cruz’s invective toward Republican leaders, is music to McConnell’s ears: no government shutdown.
When you misbehave in Mitch McConnell's bar, he does not throw you out. He locks the door.
Ted has chosen to make this really personal and chosen to call people dishonest in leadership and call them names which really goes against the decorum and also against the rules of the Senate,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a rival of Cruz’s for the GOP presidential nomination who has earned a tepid endorsement from McConnell, said on Fox News Radio. “As a consequence, he can’t get anything done legislatively. He is pretty much done for and stifled.”
In the months and years ahead, he will make Cruz's life miserable in ways that Cruz has not yet imagined.