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Roll Call: How Cruz the Outsider Won Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Victims

By: By Matthew Fleming

On Ted Cruz’s Senate office wall hangs a framed copy of one of the Texas Republican’s proudest legislative accomplishments. And like the outsider persona he touts on the presidential campaign trail, Cruz eventually voted against the bill that made it happen.\

Cruz added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act last year in the Armed Services committee that ultimately awarded the Purple Heart to victims of the 2009 massacre at the Fort Hood military facility in Texas. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 injured.

“The Obama Pentagon fought tooth and nail against that,” Cruz said in an interview last week. “They insisted the attack was workplace violence. And they refused for nearly five years to award those Purple Hearts.”

But Cruz has a particular quirk, in that he has voted against the defense policy bill every year he’s been in the Senate, despite supporting many of the bill’s provisions. By doing so, he is honoring a campaign promise to oppose an existing provision that allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without due process in certain instances.

Despite voting against final passage, Cruz celebrates the victory. In April of this year, he attended the ceremony awarding the medals with the victims’ families.

“And each one of those family members, I took the opportunity to look them in the eyes, to thank them for their service and their family member’s service and simply to say I’m sorry this took five years for this to happen,” Cruz said.

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