Sen. Ted Cruz found a receptive audience in Fort Worth on Tuesday afternoon, meeting with about 20 small business owners for nearly an hour in a closed-door meeting.
But they didn’t discuss the Texas Republican's involvement in the partial government shutdown. Instead, Obamacare was on the agenda. Over half of the participants wanted to talk about the Affordable Care Act and how it was raising their healthcare costs, said Bill Thornton, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.
Extra security was in place for the event after threats against Cruz were posted on Twitter. The Hill reported that a person posted on Twitter Friday: “Take down Ted Cruz, at his home” and listed Cruz’s home address in Houston. “What goes around comes around CRUZ!!” the person wrote.
Cruz has been blasted for the way he led Congress into a shutdown without a strategy to end it. Last month, Cruz criticized Obamacare in a 21-hour speech that helped spark a budget battle in the House that led to the partial government shutdown, which lasted for 16 days and ended last Wednesday. He's been unapologetic for leading the fight.
There are concerns there might be another shutdown in January. Over the weekend, Cruz said he wouldn’t rule out another shutdown. But on Tuesday, he said it wasn’t the time to talk strategy.
As Cruz has made several stops in Texas in recent days, criticism continues to mount regarding his actions related to the shutdown. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue wasn’t impressed by Cruz’s actions.
“I sort of think about him as a tennis player,” Donohue said on Monday. “If you’re going to rush the net all the time, you have to have a lot of motion to the left and the right. And he hasn’t proved that to me yet.”
In Fort Worth, Cruz said he’s OK being reviled outside of Texas as long as people inside the state think he’s doing a good job.
Cruz was scheduled to make an appearance in Arlington later Tuesday.
During stops he made in Texas over the weekend, Cruz vowed to continue fighting Obamacare.
“Obamacare is the biggest job killer in the country,” Cruz said at the Texas Medical Association’s conference in Austin. according to KUT Radio.
Cruz chided fellow Senate Republicans who didn’t support House Republicans in their opposition to funding the Affordable Care Act. Cruz was criticized from both Democrats and Republicans for helping to start the government shutdown with no clear strategy to end it. But Cruz pointed to support from 2 million people who signed an online petition to show support for his efforts, The Texas Tribune reported.
“You don’t try to pull back from an epic disaster like Obamacare and expect that it’s going to be an easy road,” Cruz said.
He received a standing ovation from more than half of the audience at the University of Texas at Austin, the Tribune reported.
“If the American people rise up and hold our elected officials accountable, that’s how we turn this around,” Cruz said.