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WASHINGTON - Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford.) has called Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — the first major GOP candidate for president in 2016 — a lot of G-rated names, most recently a “carnival barker,” and said he has expected push back.
But in an email Friday King said that he was shocked to hear that his staff had fielded phone calls from Cruz supporters using “vulgar” terms and “puerile language.”
“Clearly these Cruz supporters suffer from severe cases of arrested development,” King said. “The fact that women and young interns in my office have to listen to these perverse rantings is particularly shameful.”
King said he’s only heard of such vulgarity being phoned into his office twice before — when he blasted Cruz for encouraging a bloc of House GOP members to shut down the government in 2013 and when he criticized the media coverage of the 2009 death of Michael Jackson, whom King called a “pedophile” and a “pervert.”
King has made himself a target by repeatedly bashing Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and even testing the waters for the presidency so he can gain access to speaking engagements and debates to attack their fiscal and national security views.
And King has been getting push back. Some of the radio show talkers told him to stop, like former Bush administration Homeland Security official Michael Brown who urged King to “shut up.” Fellow New Yorker and former Gov. George Pataki said he believed Republicans should not speak ill of each other, though he cut King slack.
King said most Cruz supporters were not responsible for the calls to his office, but still got in a dig at his Texas foe.
“Frankly I cannot imagine supporters of Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, or other candidates reacting so disgracefully,” he said. “Clearly, Sen. Cruz has many decent and honorable supporters. At the same time though we must ask why he has such an unusual appeal to this low denominator in American politics.”