I know Rafael Cruz, father of Ted Cruz. He once baked a pretty incredible flan for Elizabeth Lavin and me. And I wrote a story about him for our January issue. So it didn’t surprise me when I saw news of his latest controversial remarks.
While speaking to the Williamson County Republicans last month about minimum wage and race relations, he he cited a black member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Jason Riley: “Jason Riley said in an interview, Did you know before we had minimum wage laws, Black unemployment and white unemployment were the same? If we increase the minimum wage, Black unemployment will skyrocket,” Cruz said. “See, he understands it, but the average Black does not.”
He went on, pointing out that the Civil Rights Act was passed by Republicans, under threat of filibuster from the Democrats. He also said that most black people “need to be educated” about these issues. You can see the entire speech here.
I followed Rafael Cruz to a few events very similar to this one. This is, of course, the kind of thing anybody who has followed the Cruz family is used to. It’s the kind of statement that his political opponents — people who never would have voted for Ted Cruz anyway — see as racist. And the kind his supporters see as blunt and honest.