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While Leading Fight to Hold Antifa Accountable for Violent Riots and Destruction, Sen. Cruz Calls out Terror Group for Exploiting Peaceful Protests Honoring George Floyd

HOUSTON, Texas - As Antifa riots tear up communities across the country, leaving small businesses looted and innocent Americans killed, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned the violent terrorist group for exploiting the just and peaceful protests of those honoring George Floyd and called for strong leadership to stop the riots and restore law and order. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on The Constitution, Sen. Cruz also announced his intention to convene a hearing on how to hold Antifa responsible for the violence and destruction.

WATCH: Cruz Calls Terrorism Erupting Across Country Unacceptable

During his remarks on the Senate floor, Sen. Cruz slammed Antifa's violent assault on America:

"There are a great many people speaking out whose heart cries for justice, cries for the justice that has been the many centuries-long journey of this country. But there are radicals who cynically took advantage of these protests to sow division, to sow fear, to engage in murder, to engage in violent assaults, to engage in looting, to engage in theft, to engage in intimidation, to engage in fear."

WATCH: Cruz on Fox News: "Rioting Cannot Be Tolerated. It Needs to End and It Needs to End Now."

Sen. Cruz continued, condemning the inaction of Democratic lawmakers who have been silent and complicit in Antifa's terrorist attacks:

"Sadly too many politicians who are complicit in the violence, who have made the political judgement to turn a blind eye to rioters, to thugs, to murderers, to those terrorizing communities."

"Now we have local politicians saying, ‘We're not going to let police officers protect your store. We're not going to let police officers protect your livelihood. Everything you own can be taken and destroyed by violent criminals.' In New York, according to ABC 7 New York, businesses such as delis, pharmacies, beauty supply stores were destroyed in multiple fires set in Fordham in the Bronx on Monday, while the flagship Macy's store and scores of other retail stores were burglarized, looted, damaged in downtown Manhattan over the weekend and on Monday. And throughout it all, the New York Police Department officers are calling for the politicians to take the handcuffs off them. To let them actually protect their city and protect their fellow citizens. But too many politicians have a different agenda.

"If you're not willing to say what happened to George Floyd was wrong, it was unacceptable, it was criminal, then you should get the hell out of public office. But if you're also not willing to say that what has happened to these store owners, what has happened to these police officers, the stores that have been looted, the officers that have been murdered and assaulted, if you're not willing to say that is wrong, it is criminal, it is unacceptable and it must stop, then you need to get the hell out of public office. This ain't complicated. Protect people's lives. Protect their rights."

WATCH: Antifa's Terrorist Assault on America

On Fox News' ‘Hannity,' when asked how the U.S. should respond to the violence, Sen. Cruz said:

"The law is to protect the people. The first line of defense is the police. The second line of the defense is the National Guard. And finally, if need be, the military. But every politician shilling for Antifa and allowing rioting and looting and murder to go wrong is grossly violating his oath and his obligation to the people. We need to keep people safe and end the riots."

WATCH: Sen. Cruz Condemns Politicians Shilling for Antifa on Fox News

Here's what news outlets are saying:

Washington Examiner: ‘Behaving like bigots': Ted Cruz accuses antifa of acting ‘in a profoundly racist manner'
"Cruz said destruction at the hands of antifa was "profoundly racist" after black business owners throughout the country have lost their livelihoods at the hands of rioters. ‘These antifa protesters that are organizing these acts of terror, among other things, they are behaving in a profoundly racist manner,' he added. ‘Everyone agrees what happened to George Floyd was horrific, it was police brutality, and we are united in rightly believing that the officers involved should face criminal prosecution.'"

Breitbart: Exclusive - Ted Cruz to Condemn Antifa Assault on America
"Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will condemn the Antifa violence across the country as a terrorist assault on America during a Senate floor speech on Wednesday, Breitbart News has learned exclusively. [...] In a video Breitbart News exclusively obtained, Cruz said that Antifa ‘took advantage of this crisis to wrongly paint the peaceful protesters as being violent.' Cruz's coming floor speech follows as the Texas conservative called for a hearing in the Constitution subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate Antifa."

Fox News: Ted Cruz: Rioting cannot be tolerated, this is ‘terrorist assault' on America
"‘Now is the time for strong leadership,' he continued. ‘Rioting should not be tolerated. It cannot be allowed and we need strong leadership from the president, from the attorney general, from governors, from mayors, from police chiefs.' Cruz pointed out that ‘every American has a right to speak' and ‘to peaceably express,' their point of view. ‘What you don't have a right to do is engage in violent rioting,' he said. ‘What you don't have a right to do is loot. What you don't have a right to do is to light police cars on fire and attack your fellow citizens and we need law enforcement to be unequivocal that if you do that, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will spend a very long time in jail.' Cruz added that there must be ‘systematic law enforcement targeting Antifa and other terrorist groups' who are behind the violence and looting. He went on to say that the ‘terrorist assault on our country' and the rioting ‘needs to end and it needs to end now.'"

Houston Chronicle: Ted Cruz says Antifa protesters are ‘behaving like bigots'
"U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz lashed out at Antifa protesters, calling them bigots for taking advantage of otherwise peaceful protesters and causing violence throughout the nation. ‘Let's be clear, these Antifa protesters that are organizing these acts of terror, among other things, they are behaving in a profoundly racist manner,' Cruz said at a press conference in Washington, D.C. He said there is no doubt that the nation is upset at the police brutality against George Floyd. ‘Everyone agrees what happened to George Floyd was horrific,' Cruz said. ‘It was police brutality.' But he said that doesn't justify violence. ‘And yet you are seeing Antifa protesters deciding to abuse and take advantage of this crisis to wrongly paint the peaceful protesters as being violent,' Cruz said. ‘They are behaving like bigots.'"

Daily Wire: ‘We Will Not Be Cowed By Terrorists' - Ted Cruz Criticizes Rioters, Says He Is Glad Trump Went To St. Johns Church Amid Protest
"After a weekly Senate Republican lunch, Cruz was asked about Trump's decision to walk across Lafayette Park to the church that Cruz said was ‘firebombed by terrorists.' Trump's move came minutes after he gave a speech in the Rose Garden of the White House about the riots taking place across the country and about George Floyd's death, who died while in police custody. ‘I am glad the president, yesterday, led by going to St. John's Church, a historic church in our capital city that was firebombed by terrorists. It was important for him to be there and say ‘we will not be cowed by terrorists.''"

Washington Examiner: ‘Destroying minority communities': Ted Cruz urges Justin Timberlake to spend his money rebuilding businesses instead of bailing out protesters
"Hollywood and music star Justin Timberlake has pledged financial support for protesters who have been arrested by police in recent days during riots sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody. [...] Sen. Ted Cruz thinks Timberlake's money is best spent elsewhere. ‘Justin, how about giving your millions to a fund to help the African-American and Hispanic small businesses that are being burned & looted rather than a fund to bail out the spoiled (often white) ANTIFA terrorists who are destroying minority communities?' Cruz tweeted in response. [...] Among the peaceful demonstrations, usually after dark, have been widespread looting, vandalism, and arson. Local police in dozens of cities have said they suspected people from outside their areas had infiltrated Black Lives Matter protests with the intent of being violent and causing further harm."

Newsweek: Trump targets ‘antifa' in protest response, wants ‘terrorist' label-here's what that would mean
"U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and Ted Cruz are among lawmakers who have taken to criticizing ‘antifa' during periods of unrest-usually linked to police or Trump's policies. They previously called for the group to be labeled a domestic terror organization through Congressional resolution. [...] Cruz (R-Texas) said violent protestors are giving peaceful protestors a bad reputation. ‘You're seeing antifa protestors deciding to take advantage of this crisis to wrongly paint these protestors as violent,' Cruz told reporters Tuesday. ‘They are behaving like bigots and we ought to stand united and strong in protecting the safety of Americans of every race.'"

Fox News: Ted Cruz on Floyd's death, riots: ‘The law should apply fairly and uniform for everyone'
"Cruz also commented on the riots in Minneapolis and protests that are happening nationwide, calling the violence ‘unacceptable.' ‘And one of the reasons, sadly, that we are seeing this this violence and this rioting is that you have a lot of demagogues that want to use this incident of clear abuse by one police officer and they want to use it to paint every police officer is corrupt and racist,' Cruz said. ‘And most police officers heroically risk their lives to protect the communities they're in, often minority communities. And for everyone that is stirring up racial division and engaging in violence and looting, that is completely unacceptable.'"

Daily Wire: Justin Timberlake: I'll Help Pay Bail For Arrested Protesters. Ted Cruz Suggests Better Use Of His Money
"On Sunday night, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded on Twitter with a suggestion that Timberlake instead offer his support to law-abiding citizens who had been harmed by the looters and rioters among the protesters. [...] Cruz also took note Sunday night that a Minneapolis City council member had tweeted his support for Antifa. Cruz responded bluntly, ‘This is deranged. They are literally burning your city.'"

Daily Caller: Senate Democrats Silent When Asked If They Would Consider Legislation Labeling Antifa A Terrorist Organization
"When the Daily Caller asked Cruz about Democrats' silence on antifa's violence and his legislation, Cruz responded by saying: ‘It's disgraceful that not a single Democrat has the courage to acknowledge an obvious fact: that Antifa is a domestic terrorist organization. Antifa members are rioting and looting in cities all across the United States, and every Democrat pretending otherwise is grossly violating his or her obligation to serve the people of this country. We need to stop the violence, end the riots, keep people safe, and call out Antifa members for the terrorists they are.'"

Breitbart: Ted Cruz to Joe Biden: Why Are You Supporting People Who Destroy Black Businesses?
"Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) retweeted a video posted on the social media of a woman asking why her business destroyed if black lives matter. ‘The problem that bothers me,' the woman said as she stood outside of a business in which she said she shares ownership. ‘You said black lives matter. Why don't you choke me? I'm black. Look what you did to my store. Look what you did to my store.' [...] ‘@JoeBiden Why is your staff raising $ for the people who burned her store?' Cruz tweeted."