NASA announced today that 90 employees working on the recently canceled lunar rover will be “reassigned”. The likely end of the lunar rover program is terrible news for Texas and another bad policy decision by Donald Trump. It’s also a punch in the face to Ted Cruz. The move throws into relief that Trump not only still holds contempt for Cruz, he has no respect for him.
Cruz is not just another Senator forced to swallow a home state project cancellation. He is the Chair of the Space Subcommittee in the U.S. Senate. It is extraordinary that the Space Subcommittee Chair can’t protect a valuable and publicly popular program within his legislative jurisdiction.
For months during the presidential campaign, Trump attacked and insulted Cruz in vile and personal terms. Trump repeatedly called Cruz a liar, attacked his wife by implying that she is ugly and bizarrely suggested that Cruz’s father was part of a JFK assassination plot. Trump kept up the name-calling and personal insults until Cruz’s campaign was defeated.
But Trump didn’t just defeat Cruz, he broke his spirit. Within months after the nomination, Cruz was fully onboard the Trump bandwagon without receiving a public apology or any acknowledgement by Trump that he may have crossed the line with his insults of Cruz and his family. Since Trump’s election, Cruz has gone from being forgiving and supportive to being docile and submissive. The Time Magazine ode Cruz recently wrote praising Trump is beyond fawning, it is debasing.
Few if any of Ted Cruz’s Senate colleagues like him. Being disliked, however, doesn’t necessarily stop a public official from serving their constituents. Yet, once a public official loses the respect of their colleagues, their ability to deliver for their state or district disappears.
Ted Cruz didn’t lose the Lunar Rover program because Donald Trump and other Senators dislike him, he lost it because they don’t respect him.