Senator Ted Cruz is a presidential candidate without any national security experience, he’s not the first of course, presidential candidates who lack experience in one area typically surround themselves with advisers who fill out the gaps, usually with people who are experts in their respective fields. For instance, Donald Trump seeks national security advice from a retired Army Colonel and Hillary Clinton has a vast body of – if controversial – national security experience. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, seeks counsel on issues of national security from an art historian with no experience in national security.
Dr. Victoria Coates, the Cruz Campaign’s national security adviser has never worked for any national security office, the State Department, or any branch of the military, nor has she held a security clearance of any kind. However, she does have a Ph.D. in Art History, and she’s a specialist on the Italian Renaissance.
Esquire reports on just how it came to pass that an art historian without any national security experience got the job as national security adviser for Ted Cruz, a man who could become President of the United States. Turns out, Donald Rumsfeld is behind her entry into the political arena. Before she worked on the Ted Cruz campaign, informing Cruz that “bombing the sand till it glows” is a viable national security strategy, she worked as an editor for the company that produced Donald Rumsfeld’s book.
“I’m never going to apologize for working for a candidate who wants to be too mean to the terrorists. That doesn’t seem to me, really to be a downside,” Dr. Coates said, in response to a question about Ted Cruz’s bombastic but not particularly nuanced position on ISIS.
Esquire goes on to report that Dr. Victoria Coates, even in her capacity as national security adviser to Ted Cruz, hasn’t really acquired anything approaching national security expertise. She did, however, write a couple op-ed pieces for conservative blogs. Five, in the last ten years.
“Death is permanent. For those who deal in the reality of combat, this is not an abstract issue open to offhand suggestions during a presidential debate based on the advice of Donald Rumsfeld’s art historian editor. It is personal,” writes Robert Bateman, a former US Army Ranger and columnist for Esquire.
Tough words for Ted Cruz, but the growing threat of ISIS has made national security an incredibly important part of this campaign, and the candidates will face tough questions from the press and from fellow candidates as the presidential race continues. It’s not the first time Ted Cruz has been criticized for his national security naiveté.
“He’s delusional, Senator Cruz, those comments are absurd,” said Governor Chris Christie in an interview with the Washington Post. “It’s eighth grade talk.”
Cruz has met fierce criticism from his own party for his votes in the past, votes which narrowed the NSA’s ability to gather and make use of its controversial metadata program. The Republican establishment views that as a fundamental mistake, reports the Inquisitr. But more than that it’s an example of Ted Cruz making a vote to gain political points with independents and centrist conservatives.
“He took what he thought would be a politically advantageous position, never thinking it would catch up with him. But it caught up with him,” said Chris Christie.
Ted Cruz was caught in another politically motivated flip-flop back in 2013, when he was a vocal supporter of a bill that provided a path to citizenship for undocumented workers living in the United States. A cardinal sin amongst immigration hawks, who have recently slammed Cruz for his support of “amnesty,” as they call it.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]