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Ted Cruz tells Tucker Carlson it was 'sloppy' for him to call Jan. 6 riot 'a terrorist attack'

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is probably wishing he booked a trip to Cancun Thursday night instead of a Fox News appearance.

On Wednesday, Cruz described the Jan. 6 riot as "a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol." He also praised the "men and women of law enforcement" who demonstrated "incredible courage" while risking their lives "to defend the men and women who serve in this Capitol."

Cruz's remarks didn't sit well with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who said during his Wednesday night show that "every word Ted Cruz uses is used intentionally. He described Jan. 6 as a violent terrorist attack. Of all the things Jan. 6 was, it was definitely not a violent terrorist attack." 

In an apparent attempt to get back into the good graces of Fox News viewers, Cruz appeared on Carlson's Thursday night show, telling him "the way I phrased things yesterday was sloppy and it was frankly dumb." "I don't buy it," Carlson shot back, adding, "you take words as seriously as any man who served in the Senate."

Cruz responded that he was referring to "the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers," not the "thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump. ... I wasn't saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting President Trump are terrorists." 

Carlson remained unmoved, telling Cruz, "What you just said doesn't make sense." Someone who assaults a police officer should go to jail, Carlson said, "but the person's still not a terrorist." Cruz told Carlson that he's called people who attack cops "terrorists" for years, but it was "a mistake to say that yesterday."

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, when supporters of Trump, fueled by his false claims of widespread election fraud, stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying the election. Cruz was one of the Republican senators who played along and rejected electors from certain states won by President Biden, which he touted during the interview with Carlson. In the year since the Capitol attack, Cruz has referred to the Capitol assault as a "terrorist attack" and the rioters as "terrorists" on multiple occasions.