- Ted Cruz opposes the nomination of Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- Cruz insists that the role should be filled by a scientist and not an attorney.
- Kevin M. Kruse called out Cruz for dismissing Becerra’s tenure as a former congressman and current attorney general.
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GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, well-known for his public Twitter spats, engaged in an online battle earlier this week regarding the qualifications of Xavier Becerra, the California Attorney General who has been nominated by President Joe Biden to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
Cruz has expressed opposition to Becerra, arguing that the HHS nominee should be a doctor as the country remains mired in the coronavirus pandemic.
“President Biden has nominated an attorney – someone who lacks the necessary experience and skills to serve as Secretary of HHS,” Cruz said earlier this month. “Voting to confirm an HHS Secretary with absolutely no medical or scientific experience is simply irresponsible.”
On Fox News earlier this week, Cruz reiterated his sentiments about Becerra.
“If a Republican nominated a trial lawyer to lead the Health and Human Services department in the midst of a global pandemic, they would be laughed out of the room because it would be absurd,” Cruz said.
Princeton University professor and historian Kevin M. Kruse took notice of Cruz’s comments and pushed back against the questioning of Becerra’s qualifications on Twitter.
“He was a US Congressman from 1993 to 2017, and then served as the attorney general of California, but sure, dismiss him as a ‘trial lawyer,'” he wrote.
—Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) February 24, 2021
Cruz responded, asking Kruse if he would hire him to perform an operation without any medical experience and questioning whether Becerra would “sue the virus.”
“I’ve been a lawyer for 25 yrs & a Senator for 8,” Cruz wrote. “Would you hire me to remove your appendix?”
The tweet continued: “Of course not. I’m not remotely qualified to be HHS Secretary-& neither are you, a history professor & pundit. Bacerra [sic] is a left-wing activist. During a pandemic, we need a scientist.”
Kruse replied back, questioning Cruz about Ben Carson, who was controversially tapped to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development by former President Donald Trump despite little relevant housing-related policy experience.
“When you voted to confirm Ben Carson as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, did you think he was going to perform brain surgery on an apartment?,” he asked.
He continued: “I *am* just a history professor! But maybe I can help you out here by informing you that almost none of the HHS/HEW (Health, Education, and Welfare) secretaries in US history have been scientists or doctors. That includes the last one you happily voted to confirm. He was a lawyer.”
—Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) February 25, 2021
Alex Azar, the most recent Senate-confirmed HHS secretary, was an attorney and pharmaceutical executive.
In his capacity as California’s attorney general, Becerra filed more than 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration.
Despite Cruz’s opposition, along with GOP pushback to the nomination from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Becerra is assured of confirmation if he can retain the support of all 50 Senate Democrats.