Jews and Catholics in the northeast put their alliance to the Democratic Party above their religion, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's father said on Saturday.
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According to TPM, Rafael Cruz told a gathering of the Palm Beach County Tea Party that "unfortunately, in the northeast, the Jews are Democrats first and Jews second. This is what has happened to a great 'many in the Catholic Church. They are Democrats first and Catholics second."
The older Cruz – who, according to TPM, is not officially part of his son's presidential campaign but is frequently seen with him at events and has a reputation for making controversial statements – also evoked the Holocaust. Hitler told the pastors to preach what they like about religion, but to leave governing the state to him, Cruz said. "As a result, six million Jews were massacred," while the Church turned a blind eye to Adolf Hitler's actions.
"We have a responsibility," Cruz said, adding later: "Whether you are a pastor or a priest or a rabbi, as a leader you have a greater responsibility than the people in your congregation and we need to assume that responsibility."
Americans "need to put principle above tradition," Cruz said. "There are people voting Democrat because, 'My grandfather or my father voted Democrat.’ Let me tell you something. The Democratic Party today is not the Democratic party of John Kennedy. John Kennedy would be a Republican today."
According to TPM, Cruz's comments were made in response to an audience member's remark "lamenting that leaders in the Catholic church have not helped the Republican cause." A video of Cruz making these comments was posted to YouTube by the Democratic group American Bridge. Watch it here:
A spokesman for Ted Cruz did not immediately respond to TPM's request for comment.