Three weeks after Sen. Ted Cruz announced his campaign for president, the Texas Republican shared his views on foreign policy and other presidential candidates before a John Locke Foundation audience in Raleigh on Monday.
He welcomed Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, to the race. Cruz said he’s a big fan of Rubio, that the two share a common ancestry as sons of Cuban immigrants, and that Rubio will strengthen the upcoming presidential candidate debates.
Cruz showed no enthusiasm for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign announcement.
“That surprised nobody,” Cruz said. “We know exactly what to expect. Hillary Clinton represents the failed policies of the past.”
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He recounted the foreign policy moves of Clinton and President Barack Obama, criticizing the way they handled relations with Russia, Libya, Syria, Cuba, China and Iran.
“President Obama and Secretary Clinton have had their chance,” he said. “Their policies do not work.”
Cruz said that the U.S. needs new leadership that supports its allies and confronts its enemies by standing firmly by Israel, aiding the Kurds in Iraq and arming Ukraine.
As president, Cruz said he would welcome the bust of Winston Churchill back into the oval office and show good faith to Canada by permitting the Keystone XL pipeline.
And he said the U.S. should not give economic relief to leaders like Raul Castro in Cuba until there is real reform that brings freedom to the people.
Cruz said the U.S. should combat ISIS with a robust air campaign and make the U.S. military a budget priority.
He identified Iran as the United States’ number one national security threat, calling Obama’s negotiations with Iran a “historically dangerous deal” that would allow the country to acquire nuclear weapons.
“The problem with Iran is that when you are dealing with theocratic zealots – who glorify death and suicide – ordinary cost-benefit analysis doesn’t work,” he said.
Cruz recently introduced legislation that would reimpose sanctions on Iran with clear steps the country must take before they are lifted.
According to Cruz, Iran should: disassemble its 19,000 centrifuges used to separate uranium; hand over all enriched uranium; shut down its intercontinental ballistic missile program, and stop sponsoring terrorists.
“A strong commander-in-chief would stand up to Iran and say, ‘Either you will halt your nuclear weapon production or we will halt it for you,’” Cruz said.
Cruz received a number of standing ovations from the audience of about 200, who each paid $100 a plate to attend the luncheon speech hosted by the John Locke Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Former Raleigh mayor and Wake County commissioner Paul Coble said he liked every point Cruz made Monday.
“I think he’s smart and energetic,” Coble said. “He’s the same sort of change Ronald Reagan brought.”