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[00:00:00]

Well, we Americans are all busy fighting each other, our enemies abroad. You know, our actual enemies are taking advantage of this. None more so than the nation that started all the chaos in the first place, China. But with the presidential election in full swing and all the fights we've got going on, is anybody going to be paying attention? We'll get into it. This is verdict with Ted Cruz.

[00:00:27]

Welcome back to verdict with Ted Cruz and Michael Knowles. Senator, I feel like America has been very introspective over the past few months. We're all arguing over what statues to keep up and arguing over brands and without taking any mime off of bottles. Meanwhile, we do have actual enemies out there, enemies who are encroaching on our interests, who are trying to undermine our country. Is anybody paying attention to that? I look at it. It is a dangerous world.

[00:00:55]

And I got to tell you, the enemies of America are thrilled to see America ripping itself apart and America divided. And then they're using this opportunity front and center. Number one on that list is China. You and I have talked about many times how I think China is the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States over the next century. And then China, where the Corona virus originated and will haunt China and their. Deliberate cover up and censorship allowed it to spread across the globe, allowed it to cost over a half million lives and trillions of dollars in economic value.

[00:01:34]

China is using this opportunity right now to expand its influence, expand its power. And while we're having rioting in our streets, China is very quietly but very deliberately crushing Hong Kong democracy. But neace, it's jackboots and it and it's really dangerous.

[00:01:53]

Well, I want to get into some of these specific cases because I feel they're not being covered at all. I wonder if there's anything we can do about it. You mentioned Hong Kong. You know, Hong Kong is technically an administrative region. So the idea being there's one country, but two systems that since the British gave Hong Kong back to China, in my view, somewhat foolishly in nineteen ninety seven, then there were these pro-democracy protests. And now, while we're all distracted with the lockdowns and the riots, China has basically eliminated Hong Kong independence.

[00:02:24]

Now it has come in and just just. It is decided that it wants to make Hong Kong essentially fully a part of China with no democracy, with no freedom of speech, with no individual liberty. And that's directly contrary to the promise that the Chinese government made when when China when Hong Kong reverted to China from from British governance and and and under U.S. law. So I introduced legislation in the Senate that passed into law that mandated the State Department reassess whether China is complying with the commitments it made and whether China is protecting democracy and freedom in Hong Kong like it promised.

[00:03:07]

And the State Department just recently completed that assessment and concluded, obviously correctly that, no, they're not. And that was even before the most recent and most egregious crackdown and that that should lead to a fundamental shift. See, what China's trying to do is use Hong Kong as a way to get around U.S. sanctions, get around restrictions on trade with China, get around get around all the barriers that apply to China. Use Hong Kong as this. See, this is a free market oasis that we control brutally.

[00:03:38]

And you don't get to have your cake and eat it, too, because I have wondered this. I've wondered why China cares so much about poor little Hong Kong. They're aggressing now in the South China Sea. They're threatening the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, the threat, they're flying, flying over Taiwan, threatening Japan. And and just most recently, they seem to have invaded part of India. Well, you know, the interesting thing about totalitarian dictatorships is they are often much weaker than they seem.

[00:04:06]

And they're they're afraid of sunlight. Sunlight is a really, really powerful thing. And when it comes to China, they're terrified of sunlight. Such. So back in in October of last year, I did a trip to Asia and and I traveled to Pearl Harbor and then Japan and then Taiwan and then India and then Hong Kong. And it was it was envisioned really as a as a friends and allies tour. So these are all strong friends and allies of America.

[00:04:38]

They all surround China. And the entire topic of the trip was how do we deal with Chinese aggression, Chinese military aggression, Chinese hostility, Chinese economic bullying, Chinese censorship, Chinese theft of intellectual property? You know, when I met with the leadership of the Pacific Command at Pearl Harbor, they described how militarily China has as a national strategy, stealing our military technology, stealing our R&D, billions of dollars in leaps. So they just steal from us and they do it on the industrial side.

[00:05:09]

And, you know, if you notice, the countries I went to like like China was furious that I went to Taiwan. They don't like to acknowledge Taiwan exists. They insist it's a fairly ridiculous thing. They call the one China policy that most American administrations have gone along with, that they just pretend Taiwan doesn't exist. So I actually went to Taiwan on Taiwan's National Day, which is where they celebrate their independence, which China pretends doesn't exist. And I was the first senator, I think, in 34 years to be in Taiwan on their national day.

[00:05:42]

And I joined President Cy in in like in reviewing as a parade came by and celebrating Taiwan's independence. In Hong Kong, I met with the protesters, this was right after yet two million people in the streets of Hong Kong. And I met with the protesters, by the way, their young student activists, many of them are, you know, 16, 17, 18, 19 years old. A number of them have faced physical violence from from the the Chinese police state, brutalizing them.

[00:06:14]

And in the course of this trip, I did a Sunday show dressed in all black and did a Sunday show lot from Hong Kong, live in solidarity with the protesters because the protesters were dressed in all black. And all of that, China is terrified. You've got one point three billion people in China that are being controlled by a communist dictatorship that abuses their rights. That strips them of free speech. That strips them of religious liberty. That that tortures and murders Chinese citizens.

[00:06:50]

And the government is very scared. The citizens will get a taste for freedom, that they'll see what happens in Hong Kong and goes, hey, can't we have some of that freedom? They'll see what happens in Taiwan. Taiwan is a wealthy, prosperous place. And the Chinese nationals go, well. Well, how come we don't get some of that? And it is a sign of weakness on on China's part that they are so terrified of the sunlight.

[00:07:17]

I'll tell you who had this insight about a prior enemy, which is Ronald Reagan in the Soviet Union, Soviet Union in the 60s and 70s. Democrats in Washington, academics, they're like, oh, the Soviet Union's unstoppable. We can't keep up with it. Reagan understood the power of shining a light that that it it it it was when Reagan said the Soviet Union is an evil empire. All of Washington was aghast when when he said that Marxism, Leninism will end up on the ash heap of history.

[00:07:53]

That leadership, that bully pulpit was powerful for undermining the Soviet regime. And when he stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate and said, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. Those are the most important words any leader said in modern time. Well, I believe Hong Kong is the new Berlin. And and just as that terrified the Soviet leadership, so too does the prospect of freedom terrify the Chinese communist government. So so you seem a little bit sunnier on all of this than I do.

[00:08:25]

I've been feeling kind of down about it because China that, as you say, they steal our IP. They've kind of taken over the tech world now with Tock. You've got all these 12 year olds who are compromising our national security with funny videos on their phones. Now, you've got, as we spoke about with Nigel Farraj now months ago, by the way, four four four four for tick tock.

[00:08:45]

Michael, are you and I going to do some dance, dance, move and then, like, switch places or something? I think well, because, Senator, you know, I love national security, but I also want to get a lot of views with, like, a funny little dance. So to me, you know, it's a tough debate, but obviously we've got to go for the views. And, you know, we spoke to Nigel Farage on this wild way question.

[00:09:04]

They've been asked old, a ton of 5G infrastructure, telecoms, infrastructure, I guess. You know, I'm a little less optimistic. It seems to me like China is really aggressing here. Do you think it's it's actually coming from a place of maybe being a little bit of a paper tiger? So so, listen, I'm actually very optimistic, and that's not to diminish the threat that China poses. I think China will pose a threat for a very long time.

[00:09:28]

But the reason I'm optimistic is suddenly the world's noticed. Nine months ago, when I was on the Asia trip, people in Washington were dismissing, why are you talking about the threat of China? What's the threat here? Oh, come on. Look, it was all about money. It was all about the Benjamins. They wanted to make big bucks in China. And there's a big market there. And and this Kovik crisis and China's responsibility and culpability for it, I think has really changed the way a lot of people perceive the threat of China.

[00:09:59]

And I think the most significant long term policy consequence from this pandemic is going to be a fundamental reassessment of the United States as relationship with China. So that's a good thing. I think China is a threat, but I'm glad to see some people finally opening their eyes. And it it is not dissimilar. I view it somewhat like. Like Churchill's efforts in the U.K. to point to the threats of Nazi Germany. Yeah. And and, you know, he he he wrote wrote a book while England slept and talked about how England allowed Nazi Germany to grow more and more and more dangerous.

[00:10:41]

Now, JFK actually took that same title and adopted it. But but that principle. I think China screwed up. By being so ham handed and deliberate and covering up a global pandemic. There was 10 years ago, even five years ago, this kind of consensus among both parties that a rising China was good for everybody. Oh, how wonderful that they enter the World Trade Organization. How wonderful that. And I think and certainly in the last few months, we've realized there are some seriously negative consequences to a rising China.

[00:11:19]

So so you're right. So it is undeniable. People are waking up to that. That is a very good thing. I want to get to one mailbag question, Senator, because while people may not want to watch videos of us dancing on tick tock, they can find you on a new social media platform, which is coming up in the wake of Twitter becoming so aggressively censoring of conservative content. You have joined Parler, so I have joined Parlor Parlor as a new social media app.

[00:11:48]

It's very similar to Twitter. But what's interesting is that parler is explicitly designed to allow free speech. I actually had a conversation with their CEO before I joined them and talked to him about what his vision for the company was. And he said, look, we don't want to have political censorship. We we want people to be able to speak freely and engage in debate and disagree. And I think that's fantastic. And so I joined Parler and actually I put out a video explaining why that it was for free speech, that that big tech and Twitter and Google and YouTube and Facebook have been so shameless and censoring views.

[00:12:25]

They disagree with that. I was opening a parlor. Can I put out a video and I put it out on Twitter, which which I have to admit was perhaps mildly adding a thumb in there. But but the video on Twitter announcing that I was opening an account on Parler has gotten, I think, to date one point one million viewers. So so it's kind of interesting that on the Twitter platform, people are saying, hey, we want to be somewhere where there's free speech.

[00:12:52]

That is, and I hope that more people join. I was speaking to my friend Dan Bongino, who I know is an investor in parler, and he told me there are a lot of people moving over there right now. I think when Twitter censored the president of the United States. That was a bridge too far for a lot of people. But I hope that people continue to do that as an alternative. I also hope that we continue to use the legal means available to us to stop the abuses of big tech.

[00:13:17]

Speaking of legal questions, I want to I want to get to a question that actually harkens back to another episode we've done actually, I guess a few episodes we've done. You've been pretty tough on Chief Justice John Roberts. And this question from Michael wants to know if this has any personal aspect to it, because you and John Roberts, it's not like you. You've just know each other professionally. You've known each other for a very long time. Yeah.

[00:13:46]

God, I know John Roberts very well. He is he is a personal friend. I've known him 25 years. We both clerked for the same justice. We both clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He clerked about 15 years before I did. And actually, I when I was clerking for Chief Justice Rehnquist, a member, my co clerks and I, we asked the chief, we said, who's the best Supreme Court advocate practice? And Rehnquist chuckled and he said, you know, I think I could probably get a majority of my colleagues to say John Roberts is the best Supreme Court advocate alive.

[00:14:22]

And I've got to say, I've seen him argue a number of cases. I agree with that assessment. He is a spectacularly talented Supreme Court advocate. And he's someone who who when I was a young lawyer, John befriended me. During Bush versus Gore. So I had been on the George W. Bush campaign down in Austin and I'd been doing policy there. But but I was part of the team, the legal team and Bush versus Gore, the 2000 recount.

[00:14:50]

And I called a number of the lawyers and asked them to join us. I called John Roberts. I got called him in his office in D.C. and said, hey, he was practicing law. I said, can you come down and join us in Florida and be part of the team in this case? He came down. He participated in it. It's why what he's doing right now. It's so heartbreaking and I. Couple of weeks ago gave a speech on the Senate floor that was really critical of John Roberts because I think he he has been violating his oath, you know, at it at his confirmation hearing.

[00:15:26]

He famously promised, he said judges should be umpires and call balls and strikes. Well, he hasn't been an umpire recently. He has grabbed a bat and jumped into the game. And and and he keeps joining with the liberal justices in opinions. You know, if John Roberts weren't so smart, I'd actually might be more forgiving of it. But he knows exactly what he's doing. He knows that that that that he is violating his oath to the Constitution.

[00:15:55]

And it saddens me and it really saddens me. It was a mistake for him to be appointed to the court. And I got to say, by the way, look, I mean, I before I was in the Senate, my career was as a Supreme Court advocate. Right. You can't be in the business of blasting Supreme Court justices if you ever hope to go back there. I would say I have pretty firmly burned my bridges. Yes, I think that's true.

[00:16:23]

I very much you know, I've I've long hoped you remain in elected public life, but now I hope so, really, for your bank account, too, because, you know, I would imagine that it'll be a lot tougher after you've been so honest about really what's going on at the Supreme Court. And not to flatter you too much. I don't want to do that. But it is it is refreshing to hear it, given the clubbiness of Washington that you haven't let that that personal friendship get in the way of actually defending the Constitution and saying what needs to be said about what's going on at the Supreme Court?

[00:16:54]

Well, it's it's sad and it's frustrating and. I'm tired of Republicans getting Supreme Court nominations wrong, and I'm tired of justices. You know, justices on the court, they only grow one direction. They only grow to the left. And the reason they do that is all the incentives are to grow to the left. Because when you vote with the liberals, you get praise, you get praised in the newspaper, you get praised in the law schools.

[00:17:23]

You get praised in the DC Cocktail Party Circuit. And they used to call the Supreme Court reporter for The New York Times. Her name was Linda Greenhouse, and they used to call. Call that the greenhouse effect, which is Sandra Day O'Connor and Tony Kennedy would want to get praised by Linda Greenhouse. And so if they voted with the left, Nade get praised. And I've got to say, as I look at Supreme Court nominees, I want someone who doesn't give a damn if they're being criticized and beaten with sticks.

[00:17:58]

The most important criterion is show me someone that stood for conservative principles and has paid the price. Show me someone who who hates D.C. cocktail parties, doesn't want to go to a party in Georgetown. It's the reason with President Trump for both of his vacancies. My number one choice that I urged him was Senator Mike Lee, not because Mike Lee, I've seen firsthand he's devoted his life to the Constitution. And if Mike Lee had been there, the chances that Mike Lee would have written the Bostock opinion that Neil Gorsuch wrote that rewrote our civil rights laws, the chances that Mike Lee would have written that, or zero point zero zero percent.

[00:18:36]

And I know that because he's not seeking the praise of the press of the academy. And we need to stop getting this wrong.

[00:18:43]

That's such a good point. I mean, that just that little bit of wanting to get the good New York Times article or wanting them to even not be too harsh on you. That is a very, very corrosive. Not a lot of people can stand up to it. And we need. We need more of them and we need all the ones we can get. Last question before we have to go. This is from Publius. I bet that's not his name at birth, but that's the name he's writing under.

[00:19:05]

What are the benefits of a balanced budget? You know, I'm pretty sure he's not the first to use that name. Yeah, that's right. I think I've heard this somewhere before. I'm not sure where I guess it ties in. I mentioned bank accounts earlier. This is one that comes up a lot. And you don't hear about it a lot these days. What are the benefits of a balanced budget amendment? So great question, by the way, for folks who are listening, that little comment about Publius has been used before.

[00:19:31]

So for Publius was the pen name under which the Federalist Papers were written. And then. And so it was J. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the three of them wrote them. They're basically newspaper editorials under the name Publius. And so that's a name that that is fraught with with with with history and great moment. A balanced budget amendment would be enormously impactful. And then and it's something that I have advocated fought for for eight years.

[00:19:59]

You know, most of the states have a balanced budget amount. I think it's something like forty five states have a balanced budget amendment in Texas. We have to have a balanced budget. The Texas state legislature can't spend more than it has in revenue. It can't spend money it doesn't have. In Washington, a balanced budget amendment official, Washington doesn't want that because because the government. The way politicians in Washington get re-elected is spending money we don't have.

[00:20:29]

And the way, by the way, you get a trillion dollar appropriation bill in ordinary times, much less pandemic times, let's just take ordinary times, a trillion dollar bill. Is very easy to get, you just. Pay for everything everyone wants and you end up getting all the Democrats and half the Republicans. And never mind that you're borrowing the money from China and bankrupting our kids and grandkids. It's a great way for politicians to buy their re-election.

[00:20:55]

It's the reason I've fought hard for a balanced budget amendment. I'll tell you something that is hand in hand with that is a term limits amendment. I'm the author of the Term Limits Constitutional Amendment. In the Senate. I would limit House members to three terms, senators to two terms. And the reason is it's much the same, that Washington is a corrupt swamp and career politicians who want to spend their whole lives here. That's where they get the incentive to just spend and spend and spend and spend us into bankruptcy.

[00:21:25]

Yes.

[00:21:26]

And you make this great point on borrowing from China. Because when when you don't have something like a balanced budget amendment, what happens? You've got to borrow the money from somewhere. And ironically, we're borrowing the money from our chief geopolitical adversary. Kind of shows you how the domestic issues relate to the foreign threats and vice versa. Too many threats to count, Senator, but thank you that that was a clean trip through all of them and clarifies things even even if it doesn't make us feel all that much better.

[00:21:54]

I guess I guess that's the that's the problem. Political reality. Much more to get to. We'll have to wait until next time. Senator, thank you. I'm Michael Noles. This is verdict with Ted Cruz.