U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night presented a “positive, unifying vision for the country,” and that if he can rev the economy up to 5 percent annual growth, his re-election will be assured.
“Economic growth has a greater impact on the budget than anything else. Since World War II, our economy has grown on average 3.3 percent. For eight years we have been mired at 1 or 2 percent under Obama,” Cruz said in an interview Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“I told President Trump last week, repealing Obamacare, reg(ulatory) reform, tax reform, if we get these done, if the economy is growing at 5 percent, I said, ‘Mr. President you’ll be reelected in a landslide,'” said Texas’ junior Republican senator and one-time Trump presidential rival.
“I thought it was very very strong speech,” Cruz said. “I thought it was designed to be, and was in fact, a positive, unifying vision for the country.”
“It was a very different speech than the inaugural, and some of it is, six weeks into the job, for anyone it is overwhelming,” Cruz said. “There is a reason why every president goes gray in office, they age 20 years in four years, and you don’t meet with the family of a fallen Navy SEAL and not have it impact you and impact you differently when you’re the commander-in-chief.”
“One of the most important jobs of the president is to paint a picture, to paint a vision of where the country can go, so people at home can see, this is what we can do, and I think he did a fabulous job,” Cruz said. “He did a fabulous job of focusing on jobs and working men and women. This president was elected by the Reagan Democrats, by working-class voters, truck drivers and mechanics and men and women with calluses on their hands and he spoke with them last night.”
The president did not lay out his infrastructure plan in his speech, and, on that, Cruz said, “details matter.”
“On infrastructure there is a legitimate role for the federal government. It’s important. Do we need roads, do we need bridges? Yes. But it matters a lot how it’s paid for. It matters how it’s structured,” Cruz said. “There are infrastructure programs I could enthusiastically support. If it’s a trillion dollar boondoggle, if it’s an Obama-type stimulus, I think a lot of Republicans would not be on board.”
Ultimately, Cruz said, the key for Trump is economic growth.
“The best way, the only way really to address the debt is economic growth,” Cruz said. “Economic growth has a greater impact on the budget than anything else.”
On repealing Obamacare, Cruz said, “The vast majority of people in this country have been hurt by Obamacare.”
“One of the things that I try to do a lot of is roundtables. Just last week I was in South Dallas, which is a relatively low income part of the city. It was at Dallas Baptist University. It was roundtable of small businesses, including a number of minority small businesses. And as they discussed (the Affordable Care Act), it’s the biggest job killer in America. Over and over again they talked about not being able to hire people, laying people off, people being forced into part-time work,” Cruz said.
Pressed whether there weren’t any Texans who benefited from the Affordable Care Act, Cruz replied, “Obamacare was designed to have winners and losers, so can you find a specific instance of someone who benefited by it? Yes.”
But, he said, “If you look at it, there are about 20 million who have some form of coverage that can be credited to Obamacare. More than half of that were jammed into expanded Medicaid. Those are largely childless, healthy adults. Clearly the Medicaid population was designed for the very vulnerable, for the disabled, for single moms.”
“Now, when they extended Medicaid and increased the number of people on Medicaid, they didn’t increase the service available,” Cruz said. “People on Medicaid are saying their waiting lists have gotten longer, they are getting less services. And in order to try to benefit those 20 million people, what Obamacare did was mess up the health insurance for 200 million people.”
“Medicaid produces terrible outcomes, produces much worse health outcomes than having private insurance,” Cruz said. “I want to see an outcome when a lot fewer people are on Medicaid and more people are able to afford private insurance. I think that’s much better for people.”
“And one of the things I really liked about what President Trump said last night is he really focused on Obamacare,” Cruz said. “We’ve got to drive down the cost of premiums. Families can’t afford health care. That’s a message that resonates and resonates in the heartland.”
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