Friday, February 5, 2016

Firefighters Slam Ted Cruz For Claiming To Be Their Champion While Opposing 9/11 Health Bill

Amanda Terkel
Senior Political Reporter, The Huffington Post
02/03/2016 10:36 pm ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A powerful firefighters union went after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Wednesday for claiming to be their defender and champion in his Iowa caucuses victory speech.

"What Ted Cruz did the other night in his Iowa victory speech is disgusting," said Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters. "He said he embraces fire fighters and the dangerous work they do, says he’s our friend and calls himself a great patriot. But when it came time to actually have the backs of fire fighters across the U.S., he was AWOL. Cruz is the worst kind of politician who will say or do anything to get elected."

That anger stems from Cruz invoking the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the work of the first responders in his remarks Monday night, when he said he would be different from President Barack Obama.

"To the police officers, and the firemen and the first responders, the heroes who rushed in to burning buildings instead of out of burning buildings -- the last seven years of having a president, having an attorney general that demonizes you, that vilifies you, that sides with the criminals and looters instead of the brave men and women of law enforcement -- that will end on Jan. 20, 2017," he said.

But what irks Schaitberger is that Cruz opposed reauthorizing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides health care for those same firefighters and first responders.

More than 72,000 people are monitored by the 9/11 health program, and 33,000 ailing responders rely on it for treatment.

"He left the 9/11 responders behind," Schaitberger said. "If those are Ted's values, we don't like them. He's the epitome of saying one thing to get votes, then doing another."

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Chris Carlson AP Photo 2/3/2016
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) invoked firefighters and 9/11 in his Iowa victory speech Monday night. 

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