WASHINGTON - In a stunning attack on a leader of his own party, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying to him and said he couldn't be trusted.
Cruz, a Texan who is running for president but ranks low in early polling, delivered the broadside in a speech on the Senate floor, an extraordinary departure from the norms of Senate behavior that demand courtesy and respect.
At issue are assurances Cruz claimed McConnell, R-Ky., had given that there was no deal to allow a vote to renew the federal Export-Import Bank - a little-known federal agency that has become a rallying cry for conservatives. Cruz rose to deliver his remarks moments after McConnell had lined up a vote on the Export-Import Bank for coming days.
"It saddens me to say this. I sat in my office, I told my staff the majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie, and I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every one of us," Cruz said.
"What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie."
A spokesman said McConnell would have no response. The majority leader was not on the Senate floor when Cruz issued his attack.