At CPAC, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz recorded a live podcast of his own “Verdict with Ted Cruz” with Ben Ferguson, his co-host, and his guest, newly-elected Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio). Cruz is known for saying some goofy things and could have talked about anything in the world, including Trump, but today, he was surprisingly relaxed, funny, and — best of all, not avidly pro-Trump.

The CPAC/podcast topic centered mostly around the news that FBI director Christopher Wray announced Tuesday that the bureau believes the COVID-19 virus “most likely” originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, China. Cruz took issue with the fact that he suggested this theory years ago and was excoriated for it.

“The breaking news now is that … the virus likely came from a Chinese government plant,” Cruz said. “But as everyone knows for two years that was derided for two years as a conspiracy theory, tinfoil hat theory, that you were told is nutty for saying, you’d get banned for saying that. We laid out the evidence three years ago, what convinced these guys today, almost all of it we knew three years ago, but politics wouldn’t let them say it.”

Ever the lawyer, Cruz methodically went through the evidence that underscored the FBI’s recent announcement.

“Dr Fauci has done more damage than any politician in the history of our country,” he said, suggesting that in a sane country, Fauci would go to jail for misleading the public while being the medical adviser to the president.

Cruz called for hearings to determine how the story Fauci first told the Trump administration — and America — turned out to be so wrong. “This is a lawless Department of Justice. There will be accountability in the House,” Cruz said, referring to the fact that there is a Republican majority in the House.

The conversation turned to Cruz’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, when he repeatedly grilled Merrick Garland for, as he said, “politicizing” the Department of Justice and failing to prosecute the people who protested outside the homes of sitting Supreme Court Justices.

At CPAC, Cruz simply said, “Merrick Garland is the most partisan, political Attorney General, the country has ever seen.” Cruz went on to call the people who protested in front of the Justices’ houses, “numb nuts,” who had posted their identities on social media and who were clearly, Cruz said, “not criminal masterminds.”

After discussing Vance and the problems in Palestine, Ohio with the mysterious train derailment, Ferguson closed the conversation by asking, “What does the Republican party need to do over the next two years?”

Cruz responded with one of the best lines of the day yet: “I support the strongest conservative who will win…and we need to send Joe Biden back to his beach house in Delaware.”

Cruz is known nationally for some blunders like heading to Cancun during one of Texas’s worst snow storms, and he can make some pretty odd off the cuff remarks. But at CPAC, he was (mostly) in great form: Carefree, analytical, humorous, and hardly, zealously pro-Trump. This is the Cruz Texans elected and it was refreshing to see him in this form.

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