Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, defended himself on Twitter after a fact-checker claimed he was wrong about former President Obama, Iran and its “right” to have nuclear technology during a speech he gave last month.
In a series of tweets, Cruz described the fact-checkers as “partisan, left-wing liars” and said their fact-check of a speech he gave to the Hudson Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, last month was “ridiculous” and “self-refuting.”
The Texas Republican then claimed the fact-checker misrepresented his words about the former president and then falsely rated his remarks.
“Of course, I didn’t say Obama said Iran had a ‘right’ to nuclear weapons… they laughably rate my statement ‘mostly false’ because Obama didn’t say…what I didn’t say he said,” the senator tweeted.
The disagreement seems to stem from the use of the phrases “nuclear technology” and “nuclear weapons.”
Speaking at the Hudson Institute on May 17, Cruz said Obama “gave a speech where he said Iran has a right to nuclear technology.” The comment appears to reference an address the former president gave at the University of Cairo on June 4, 2009.
Later in his speech, no longer quoting Obama, Cruz added in his own words: “I gotta say, that’s utterly imbecilic. I’m familiar with the right to life, with the right to liberty, or the right to pursuit of happiness. I’m not familiar with the right to nuclear weapons. Only a fool would want the Ayatollah to have nuclear weapons.”
PolitiFact addressed the comments and determined his line about Obama’s speech was “mostly false” as the former president did not support Iran having “nuclear weapons.”
But, as Cruz points out in his tweets, he said “nuclear technology” when quoting Obama — not “nuclear weapons,” which he personally added later.
“I said Obama said Iran had a ‘right’ to ‘nuclear technology,’” Cruz wrote on Twitter. “He DID say that—as PolitiFact ADMITS—but they laughably rate my statement ‘mostly false’ because Obama didn’t say…what I didn’t say he said.”
The Texan added: “And, of course, they ignore my broader point: Iran doesn’t want nuclear technology bc they need electricity—they have tons of oil—the want nukes only to carry out their genocidal, theocratic war cry of ‘Death to America! and Death to Israel!’”
Fox News Digital reached out to Cruz’s office for comment but didn’t immediately receive a response.
In the 2009 address, Obama supported Iran’s use of nuclear power but condemned any country from having nuclear weapons.
Obama said in 2009 that “any nation — including Iran — should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” according to an excerpt from the White House.
The former president went on to say he wanted “a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons.”
His full quotation reads (emphasis added): “I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that’s why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation — including Iran — should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I’m hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.”
Later in the speech, Obama applauded “nuclear energy” that is “used for peaceful purposes.”
Cruz’s speech at the Washington, D.C. think tank addressed Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which is nearing 500 days, its cooperation with Iran, the Biden administration’s response to the invasion and the events of the Obama administration which proceeded it.