Former aide says Ted Cruz ignored her Jan. 6 advice to 'be the adult in the room,' drop election challenge
Lauren Blair Bianchi, who quit her job as Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) communications director right after supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol last Jan. 6, tells The Wall Street Journal it was a hard decision, even a year later. "I really felt like I had cut off a limb," she said.
But in the weeks leading up what Bianchi — and, historically, Cruz — call a terrorist attack on the seat of government, she says she was shocked at Trump's refusal to concede and grew increasingly uncomfortable with Cruz's decision to lead a group of 11 Senate Republicans in rejecting President Biden's electors.
Bianchi and other Cruz staffers locked themselves inside Cruz's office as the rioters rampaged through the halls and chambers of Congress, she told the Journal, and when Cruz was deciding afterward whether he would go through with his objections to Biden's win, she told him, "You have an opportunity to be the adult in the room." Cruz decided to object anyway.
After characterizing the Jan. 6 siege as a "terrorist attack" on Wednesday, Cruz changed his mind Thursday, telling Fox News host Tucker Carlson his "phrasing" was "sloppy and it was frankly dumb." Carlson didn't buy it, and the reviews of Cruz's appearance were not positive.
The Daily Beast's Asawin Suebsaeng called Cruz's groveling "resoundingly pathetic," while others opted for "emasculated." The Bulwark's Hannah Yoest said she "did not think it would be possible to find an embarrassment lower than ass-kissing Trump after the harassment of his wife, but wow."
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman suggested the interview made Carlson took like a real GOP presidential contender rather than Cruz, a self-professed future frontrunner. Cruz tried but got "smacked down by Carlson's will and charisma," tweeted New Republic editor Osita Nwanevu. "He's last decade's model. Too old for this game now. Instincts have lost a step."
Bianchi told the Journal that looking at politics as a game is part of the problem. "My whole career I was so focused on playing and winning the game," she said. "Jan. 6 taught me none of this is a game." You can read other Jan. 6 recollections — including from Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who did drop his objection to Biden's electors after the attack — at The Wall Street Journal.