Scarborough Rips Ted Cruz as ‘Ignorant’ for Arguing Feinstein Gun Bill Violates Constitution

[UPDATE BELOW: Cruz's office responds.] MSNBC's Joe Scarborough unleashed a vitriolic tirade against the left-wing media’s new favorite punching bag, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), on Friday’s Morning Joe. Incensed at Cruz’s questioning of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Scarborough attacked the freshman senator as “ignorant” five times.

MSNBC’s resident RINO was upset because Cruz suggested to Feinstein that her gun control bill violates the Second Amendment. According to Scarborough, this is an “ignorant” view:

“This guy, what he is saying, the way he is framing his question, suggests complete, utter ignorance. I'm talking about Ted Cruz here and I have brought this up before. Complete and utter ignorance and anybody – conservative jurists will agree with me and they do, that when he goes on this line of attack about violating the Second Amendment, it suggests complete, utter ignorance of what the Second Amendment says and what Scalia, Thomas, and the conservative court said in 2008 about what the Second Amendment is and what it is not.”

In the clip that sparked Scarborough’s outrage, all Cruz did was ask Feinstein whether it would be consistent with the Bill of Rights to selectively chop away at the First or Fourth Amendment as her bill would do to the Second Amendment. That seems like a legitimate concern that a conservative would have.

And Cruz admitted later in the hearing that he "represented 31 states before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller case." Furthermore, he added that "what the Supreme Court said in Heller, it did say there are some restrictions on the Second Amendment that are permissible." He went on to list what he interpreted as the restrictions. Is this "willful ignorance" on Cruz's part? 

It’s nasty enough that Scarborough lambasted Cruz for raising a legitimate constitutional question, but then he went and condescended to the Texas senator: “So did Ted Cruz not go to law school? Has he ever been to law school?”

Scarborough continued: “I'm just wondering why would he use his seat on the Judiciary Committee if he went to Harvard to – to – to put forward a willfully ignorant statement about this bill violating the Second Amendment, because it does not.” 

He then heaped more condescension on Cruz: “So who is he playing for? Is he playing for-- for-- for people who can't read, for illiterates?” And finally, Scarborough wrapped it up by declaring Cruz “ignorant” for the fifth time: “But I am so shocked that he would continue to use his seat in the Judiciary Committee to just mislead millions of Americans and put forward a willfully ignorant position on what the Constitution says and what it does not say.”

[UPDATE (3/18/13 3:30 p.m. EDT)]: Sen. Cruz's office responded on Friday to "media outlets" who "attacked a straw-man" in saying that Cruz championed no limits on the Second Amendment.

Here is a complete transcript of the segment:

MSNBC Morning Joe
03/15/13
6:11

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I’ve got a serious question here. John Heilemann, this guy -- this guy, what he is saying, the way he is framing his question, suggests complete, utter ignorance. I'm talking about Ted Cruz here and I have brought this up before. Complete and utter ignorance and anybody – conservative jurists will agree with me and they do, that when he goes on this line of attack about violating the Second Amendment, it suggests complete, utter ignorance of what the Second Amendment says and what Scalia, Thomas, and the conservative court said in 2008 about what the Second Amendment is and what it is not. So did Ted Cruz not go to law school? Has he ever been to law school?

JOHN HEILEMANN: I believe he went to Harvard law school.



SCARBOROUGH: Did they teach Ted Cruz to read what the Supreme Court said, especially in the landmark -- the landmark decision regarding Second Amendment rights over 200 years was written in 2008. I'm just wondering why would he use his seat on the judiciary committee if he went to Harvard to-- to-- to put forward a willfully ignorant statement about this bill violating the Second Amendment, because it does not. And Ted Cruz knows it does not. So who is he playing for? Is he playing for-- for-- for people who can't read, for illiterates? I don't understand. I’m not – you know, there are a lot of people out there that support Ted Cruz's position that will say, this is not a violation of the Second Amendment, however, I have real concerns because you take this first step, the next thing you know they’re going to be trying to overturn Heller, they’re going to be trying to get my shotguns, they’re going to be trying to get my hunting rifles. I don't mean to go on and on here.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI:  No, no. You make a good point.

SCARBOROUGH: But I am so shocked that he would continue to use his seat in the judiciary committee to just mislead millions of Americans and put forward a willfully ignorant position on what the Constitution says and what it does not say.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.