During the first debate in his re-election campaign last month, Sen. Ted Cruz criticized his Democratic challenger for voting against funding for body armor for police, part of an attempt to paint him as an anti-cop liberal who always sides against law enforcement.
But Cruz, a Texas Republican who lost his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, didn’t mention his own vote against funding for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a program endorsed by a host of major national police organizations.
He also didn’t mention that his attack was false.
Cruz was one of only three senators to vote against reauthorizing the program during a Judiciary Committee meeting on Aug. 1, 2013. Four Republicans on the committee, including fellow Texan John Cornyn, voted to fund the program, one of two Justice Department programs that helped local police buy body armor.
The grants cover half the costs of bulletproof vests and have helped agencies buy nearly 1.3 million vests, according to the department.
The legislation Cruz voted against was supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriff’s Association and the National Association of Police Organizations, USA Today reported.
At the debate, Cruz criticized his opponent, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, for voting “against allowing funds to go to body armor for sheriffs.”
Cruz was referring to O’Rourke’s vote in 2014 to bar the Defense Department from using funds to transfer military equipment such as aircraft, armored vehicles and grenade launchers to local police agencies. The legislation did not touch on body armor.
PolitiFact rated the claim “false” last month when a pro-Cruz PAC used it in an ad.
In March, Cruz voted against a spending bill that provided billions to state and local law enforcement, including $276 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services, known as the COPS program.
But Cruz accused O’Rourke of siding against police and inciting racial strife by rushing to judgment in the shooting death of Botham Jean.
“Over and over again, Congressman O’Rourke, when faced with an issue about police and law enforcement, he sides against the police,” the senator said.
A white Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, shot and killed Jean, who was black, after she entered his apartment on Sept. 6, telling investigators later that she believed it was her apartment.
Guyger was fired and charged with manslaughter in Jean’s death.