Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) fired back at MSNBC host Joy Reid after she said Tuesday that Cruz was betraying his race by opposing the “For the People Act,” a sweeping piece of legislation supported by Democrats that would radically transform state and federal elections laws.
Earlier this week, Cruz flipped the script on Democrats by claiming the “For the People Act” would weaken election security and implement “Jim Crow 2.0” to “steal voting rights from the American people.” His use of the phrase “Jim Crow 2.0” was cheeky — it’s the same phrase Democrats have used to describe new Republican-supported election integrity laws in Georgia, Florida, Texas, and elsewhere.
On a panel discussing the legislation with Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and NAACP attorney Janai Nelson, Reid and the others agreed that Cruz’s opposition to the bill and his use of the term “Jim Crow” was “beyond offensive.”
She called Cruz “Stephen from Django Unchained,” referring to the character Stephen from the 2012 Quentin Tarantino film who is a house slave in antebellum Mississippi that supports his cruel master’s oppression of the other black slaves.
“Ted Cruz says a lot of stupid things. He does a lot of stupid things. But I personally, as a person of color, as a black person, am beyond offended that he would dare use the word ‘Jim Crow’ when his party is literally a ‘Jim Crow’ party at this point trying to suppress the votes of people, including in his home state,” Reid said.
Continuing, Reid said Cruz “could give a damn about Jim Crow” and claimed without evidence that he “never raised once concern ever in his entire life … about Jim Crow or racism or discrimination.” She accused Republicans of wanting to prevent non-white people from voting and claimed that without the “For the People Act” overturning election security measures, the United States “may never get another free and fair election again.”
“I think what you see here on your screen is what Republicans fear in the voting booth,” Reid said, gesturing to guests Padilla and Nelson and referring to their skin color. “And they’re going to do everything they can to make sure it doesn’t happen, including Stephen from Django Unchained, AKA Ted Cruz, who is working to stop fellow people of color from voting, which is amazing.”
Cruz responded to Reid’s racist remarks Wednesday, accusing Reid of using a racial slur.
“I appreciate MSNBC lecturing me on how people of “my race” are supposed to vote. This arrogant condescension is a big reason Hispanic voters are moving right in large numbers,” Cruz tweeted. “Also, why is MSNBC ok with their hosts using overt racial slurs (‘Stephen from Django’)?”