Just one day after a series of primaries determined that the only way for Ted Cruz to be chosen as the Republican nominee would be in the event of a brokered convention, he announced his pick for Vice President.
In his announcement at a campaign rally in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Cruz claimed that he chose former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to be his running mate because she “has shattered glass ceilings” and she “isn’t intimated by bullies.”
The interesting thing to note about Cruz’s announcement is that it shows a departure from his previous attempts to pander to the Liberty movement.
When Cruz announced that he was running for president during a rally at Liberty University on March 23, 2015, he said, “It is the time for truth. It is the time for liberty. It is the time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.”
“We stand together for liberty!” Cruz said at the rally. “This is our fight. The answer will not come from Washington….[It will come ] when the American people stand together, and say, ‘We will get back to the principles that made this country great.'”
Despite some questionable foreign policy positions, Cruz has claimed that the Liberty movement is an important part of his support base.
“The liberty movement has been integral to our campaign since Day 1, and I’m honored and humbled to have such passionate support from liberty movement activists,” Cruz told reporters in Oct. 2015.
One of the ways Cruz has tried to gain support from the Liberty movement in the past is by claiming that he is against government surveillance. When it came to the expiration of the Patriot Act, Cruz said he was against the collection of bulk data from innocent Americans, carried out by the National Security Agency.
“When the focus of law enforcement and national security is on ordinary citizens rather than targeting the bad guy, we miss the bad guys while violating the constitutional rights of American citizens,” Cruz said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Dec. 2015.
However, Cruz is running in the opposite direction by choosing Fiorina, a former GOP candidate who is incredibly pro-government surveillance.
During an interview with Yahoo News in Sept. 2015, Fiorina revealed her direct involvement with the NSA’s bulk data collection program. She said she received a phone call from former NSA director Michael Hayden shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, asking her to “quickly provide his agency with HP computer servers for expanded surveillance.”
“I felt it was my duty to help, and so we did,” said Fiorina, confirming that she redirected HP servers from retail stores to the NSA’s headquarters.
“They were ramping up a whole set of programs and needed a lot of data crunching capability to try and monitor a whole set of threats,” Fiorina said. “What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked.”
In addition to being a warrior for government surveillance, Fiorina also has a very hawkish foreign policy.
While it is likely that Cruz announced his VP pick on Wednesday to distract from the five primaries he lost to Donald Trump on Tuesday, it still raises the question: Why choose Carly Fiorina? Does Cruz no longer see the support of the Liberty movement as “integral” to his campaign?