Many consider Jan. 6 one of the darkest days in U.S. history.
Travis County Republican Chairman Matt Mackowiak said he was depressed for several days after watching the violence unfold.
"It's a shocking thing to witness. It's the worst day in our country since 9/11. And I think everyone involved needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You've seen some arrests. You're going to see more. And I hope we see as many as we absolutely need to," he said.
Millions watched as a mob broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers to hide. Thousands of rioters destroyed property. Five people died.
"I was shocked and horrified ... that this is where we've come to as a country and that the president, I thought, made a number of irresponsible statements that effectively motivated this small but intense group of people who believed they should take over the government and perhaps threaten the vice
president of the United States, the Speaker of the House and the rest of the House and Senate," said Mackowiak.
Just hours after the Capitol hallways had been cleared, Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley continued to lead the charge to object to President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college votes. Calls for their resignations came in quickly from both sides of the aisle.
Mackowiak said Cruz's gamble didn't pay off.
"This obviously has gone very badly for him, both in terms of in the Senate, in terms of the relationships he has there and the vote. But then since then, that not only is he having Democrats call for him to resign, a newspaper editorial board, but he's even having some friends criticize him on the record. And so, yeah, this is probably the toughest thing that he's gone through," Mackowiak said.
Gene Yoon, who attended Princeton University with Sen. Cruz in the 1990s, said his former classmate incited a riot. Yoon is one of nearly 6,000 who signed a petition calling for the senator's disbarment.
"It's disgusting and it's, you know, very much aligned with his behavior over his entire political career that all of his classmates or a lot of his classmates have observed. And it's become a stain on our class. We would, we had our 25th reunion not too long ago. And, you know, there's a great tradition at Princeton where the classes marched down through the campus and, you know, the undergraduates and the other people at the reunion cheer every class, especially the major class reunions, right. When the 25th reunion came down, walking through the whole campus, we heard nothing but boos around Ted. You know, it was rough. You know, it's so you feel it that way as just, as just a classmate, as an American, as somebody who's familiar with constitutional law, you feel it all of those ways," Yoon said.
The petition also calls for Sen. Hawley's disbarment.
Mackowiak said these calls for disbarment and resignations have hurt Sen. Cruz, but only in the short term.
"And he's going to continue to see resignation calls. But knowing him as I do, I do believe he will get through this. I imagine it's testing him, both him and Heidi, in their faith. You've had some of his closest friends say they can't support him anymore, like Chad Sweet, who chaired his campaign, is a friend of mine as well. So, you know, this is a difficult chapter for him. And I'm sure it's not very much fun. I hope he is thinking about the decisions he's made, the timing, how he can be part of bringing the country together while also fighting for conservative principles in the future," Mackowiak said.
"Do you think he regrets it, Matt?" KVUE's Jenni Lee asked.
"It's a good question, I don't know, I don't know," he said. "I think it's clear what he tried to do didn't work right. So, from a strategic and tactical perspective, it failed and failed pretty badly. Right? You only get six or seven votes in the Senate. You normally wouldn't even push something if that's where you ended up. Now, that's not where he thought he was going to be thought of at 12 or 13 going in. He thought they could have a chance to make the case. This obviously has gone very badly for him, both in terms of in the Senate, in terms of the relationships he has there, and the vote."
As for a presidential run in 2024, Mackowiak said it's still too early for that discussion.
"Where does the Trump base go? Does Mike Pence run? Does he want to run? Does Don Jr. run? There [are] so many variables. It's very hard to say. I think it is clear that for both Josh, Hawley, and Ted Cruz, they were trying to find a way to motivate Trump's base and speak to that base, partially because they were thinking about their political futures," Mackowiak said.
On Sunday, a Texas Republican lawmaker from San Antonio, Lyle Larson, said Sen. Cruz needed to be quiet and "stop embarrassing himself."
On Monday, former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said the Senate should censure Cruz and Hawley for their roles in last week's mob violence at the U.S. Capitol.
We also reached out to Cruz's office for a comment and have not heard back.
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