‘Peace Through Strength’: Ted Cruz Addresses UT ROTC Graduates

“I’ve spent much of this past week back in Washington, D.C.,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), began his commencement speech at the ROTC joint commissioning ceremony this afternoon.  “So it’s great to be back in America,” he continued, before thunderous applause echoed through Bates Recital Hall.

Cruz spent much of the remainder of his speech commending the ROTC grads and saluting the theme of service through three main touchstones: the Fort Hood shooting; his predecessor Kay Bailey Hutchison, LLB ’67, BA ’92, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna and her 31 years as a U.S. Senator from Texas, in which she continually called for support of the military and veterans of the armed forces; and Ronald Reagan and the Cold War.

When speaking of Reagan, Cruz, an unabashed Reaganite, left the podium and stepped toward the graduates.

“Peace through strength in this country is a notion that has built this country and kept it safe,” he said. “Peace through strength is a manifestation of the leadership America has provided to the world. Think of the Cold War.”

Cruz told the crowd of Reagan’s dubbing of the USSR, the “Evil Empire” and and how it upset “elites” in Washington at the time.

“You needed a far more nuanced strategy, you needed détente,” Cruz said, teeing one up. “Which I’m pretty sure is French for ‘surrender.'”

He continued, edging his way even closer to the crowd, now held at attention.

“You think of the most important words that any world leader has uttered in modern times,” Cruz said. He then did an about-face, and gestured behind him.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” he said, in an imitation of the former president. “Those words cut through and clarified the military strength and economic strength that caused the Soviet Union to crumble. Truth has power. American leadership has power.”

Cruz even found a minute to make light of a slight gaffe by Naval Captain John G. Eden, the master of ceremonies for the event. In his introduction, he almost referred to university president Bill Powers as “President of the United States.” Eden, Powers, who gave the ceremony’s welcoming remarks, and the rest of the crowd laughed it off, and Cruz called it back during his address.

“I will note that today is an auspicious day for many reasons,” Cruz said, smiling. “We’re now seeing the launch of the Powers 2016 campaign.”

Image of Ted Cruz at the 2013 CPAC by Gage Skidmore



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