Texas Sen. Ted Cruz used his first speech since returning from the presidential campaign trail to the floor to discuss national security issues as well as recent flooding in his state.
“Mr. president, my home state of Texas is strong and resilient,” Cruz began his speech Tuesday morning. “Texans aren’t people who tire easily. And we certainly don’t give up when the going gets tough.”
Cruz noted his state is recovering from flooding, and read the names of the soldiers at Fort Hood who died in a training accident related to the severe storms. He also said he would support GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott when he requested federal assistance to recover from the floods.
Cruz also discussed his amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, a sweeping measure that the Senate is considering this week.
As Cruz spoke, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., was also on the floor, talking with his staff. McCain has often clashed with Cruz, and was on the floor managing debate over the defense bill. Later on during his speech, the floor was empty.
After Cruz’s speech, McCain rose to point out that Cruz was one of three senators who voted against the defense bill in committee.
Cruz ended his presidential run in May, after billionaire Donald Trump defeated him by a double-digit margin in the Indiana primary. Cruz has yet to say whether he will back Trump as the Republican nominee.
On Monday, Cruz joined other Republicans in criticizing Trump’s comments that a federal judge overseeing cases relating to Trump University could not be objective because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.
“Of course, it is inappropriate to be attacking a federal judge’s race or ethnicity,” Cruz said.
In returning to the Senate, Cruz said he would continue to fight for conservative principles . But he also faces the challenge of mending fences with some of his Senate colleagues, after lambasting some of them as members of the “Washington cartel.”
Alex Gangitano contributed to this report.