Sen. Ted Cruz, NYT Ed Board Member Spar Online Over Frederick Douglass July 4th Speech: ‘His Name Has No Business in Your Mouth’


Ted Cruz

Republican Senator Ted Cruz and New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay sparred on Twitter with their very different reactions to former NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick quoting a famous Frederick Douglass speech about the 4th of July.

Kaepernick, who was already embroiled in a controversy over Nike manufacturing sneakers with the Betsy Ross flag, which he deems racist, posted on Independence Day a passage from Douglass’s 1852 speech “The Meaning of July Fourth to the Negro.” Implicit in the selected quote was a stinging criticism of America’s legacy of slavery and the hollow promise of freedom it offered African-Americans at the nation’s birth.

Later that night, Cruz, an outspoken Republican, took issue with Kaeprnick’s Tweet. In response, Cruz used it to kick off a long thread that added what he said was key “context” to understanding Douglass’s larger point about America and its principles of equality and independence.

The next day, Gay, who comments on politics and New York City as a member of the Times editorial board, issued a stinging, personal rebuke to Cruz, telling him Douglass’s “name has no business in your mouth.”

This prompted to Cruz to fire back to what he blasted as an “ad hominem attack.” And he then took an opportunity to throw a thinly veiled shot at the Times, which conservatives have long claimed is biased against the right. (Gay, it should be noted, is an editorial writer and not a news reporter for the paper, and paid to give her opinions.)

Screengrab image, via CNN.


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