It only took a few minutes for the headlines to roll in.
“Who is Michael Bennet?” Read the banner headline from Newsweek.
“Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet lets loose on Ted Cruz,” raged the headline from Business Insider.
Huffington Post, The Washington Post, NBC News, they all chimed in on Colorado’s mild-mannered senator “slamming” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) for his ‘crocodile tears’ over the most recent government shutdown.
For those who missed the nearly 25-minute tear down of Cruz, the government shutdown and the president (televised live on CSPAN a day before the government shutdown was placed on what some fear is merely a three-week hiatus), it was, in many ways, Bennet’s opportunity to reveal himself to democratic supporters. It also allowed him to take out some pent-up angst against a colleague who did not have Colorado in mind when he led a government shutdown in 2013.
“These crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for the first responders are too hard for me to take,” Bennet said standing stoically with his arms crossed as he paced the senate floor. “When the senator from Texas shut this government down in 2013 my state was flooded. It was underwater. People were killed. People’s houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were ruined. Forever. And because of the senator from Texas, this government was shut down. For politics.”
Bennet did not stop there. He attacked Cruz on supporting a president intent on building a border wall by all means necessary, including eminent domain.
“Now, it’s his business, not my business, why he supports a president who wants to erect a medieval barrier on the border of Texas, who wants to use eminent domain to build that wall, who wants to declare an unconstitutional emergency to build that wall - that’s the business of the senator from Texas,” Bennet said.
“I can assure that in Colorado, if a president said he was going to use eminent domain to erect a barrier across the state of Colorado, across the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, he was going to steal the property of our farmers and ranchers to build his medieval wall, there wouldn’t be an elected leader from our state who would support that idea.”
Though eminent domain is something the president could employ to erect a border wall in those areas where he may meet some resistance, it is within his right, according to PolitiFact.
Bennet began to raise his voice as he continued commenting on “how ludicrous it is that this government is shut down over a promise that the President of the United States couldn’t keep, and that Americans are not even interested is having him keep.
“This idea that he was gonna build up a medieval wall across the souther border of Texas, take it from farmers and ranchers that were there, and have the Mexicans pay for it, isn’t true!” Bennet exclaimed. “That why we’re here. Because he’s now saying the taxpayers have to pay for it.”
For many Coloradans, Bennet is not a new face. He stepped in for Ken Salazar in 2009 and has been on the U.S. Senate since. He also has close ties to another democratic politician considering a run for the 2020 presidency, Gov. John Hickenlooper. He was Hickenlooper’s chief of staff while Hickenlooper served as Denver’s Mayor, and was superintendent of Denver Public Schools prior to that.
Whether or not his speech along with the press coverage, viral tweets and video links that followed will help or hinder Bennet’s alleged interest in a 2020 campaign run, is yet to be determined.
What is known, however, is that he will mess with Texas.