A tiny mob of leftists surrounded Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this week, but Cruz was unmoved.
A 45-second clip circulating on Twitter shows some hecklers shouting various clichés and slogans as “We will not be silenced!” and “Free the children!” — an apparent reference to the crisis at the southern border. The hecklers appear to number only about a half dozen, with a larger crowd of bystanders filming the incident.
Cruz, dressed in casual clothes, is unintimidated, smiling silently at the commotion. In fact, a young woman approaches to ask for his picture and Cruz smiles for the photo.
That’s when an aggressive woman puts herself between the camera and Cruz and the young woman. The man taking the photo seems to intervene to ask her to back off, and that’s where the clip ends.
It’s unclear whether the agitators acted as part of an organized effort or as part of a spontaneous attempt to gain Twitter fame. The left-wing group Voto Latino posted the video with the caption, “Politicians like @TedCruz that allow our people to be locked in cages don’t get to be comfortable in public. Those in positions of power must be held accountable for the treatment of children and families at the border. #CloseTheCamps”. The tweet evokes language from prominent Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters, who infamously encouraged left-wing activists to form crowds to “push back on” conservatives.
U.S. senators, except those in top leadership positions, generally do not travel with security. Some choose to travel with private security or staff, but Cruz did not appear to be accompanied by any staff. (Unlike many senators, Cruz flies coach — I once flew on a Southwest flight with him a couple months after he ended his presidential campaign in 2016.)
Neither Cruz nor his staff have publicly commented on the incident.
The increased number of incidents like this one of conservative elected officials being heckled in public and private businesses, and the attack on congressional Republicans playing baseball in 2017, may cause the federal government to further beef up security. But 24/7 security for all 535 members of Congress would be costly. For now, conservative elected officials will need to do what Cruz did — smile and face down those who want to intimidate them.
Photo credit: NASA HQ via Flickr, CC BY NC-ND 2.0