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Ted Cruz claims he misspoke in labeling Jan. 6 a 'terrorist attack.' He's called it that 17 other times.

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Sad Face Ted: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, shown at a 2021 speaking engagement, has called the Jan. 6 insurrection a "terrorist attack" at least 17 times, according to a CNN analysis. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
  • Sad Face Ted: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, shown at a 2021 speaking engagement, has called the Jan. 6 insurrection a "terrorist attack" at least 17 times, according to a CNN analysis.
After a backlash from the far right for calling the Jan. 6 insurrection a "violent terrorist attack," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz groveled on Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson's show Thursday, claiming that he'd chosen his words carelessly.

"The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb," the Texas Republican told an incredulous Carlson. Cruz said he'd only intended to use the T-word on those who had violently attacked police officers.

However, a fact check by CNN found that Cruz called the Capitol riot a terrorist attack or referred to participants as terrorists at least 17 times over the past year. The senator used that verbiage in official statements shared on his website, in interviews, in tweets and during hearings, according to the news network's tally.

In the first such statement, shared on his website the day after the insurrection, Cruz labeled the assault on the U.S. Capitol "a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking assault on our democratic system." He urged the Department of Justice to "vigorously prosecute everyone who was involved in these brazen acts of violence."

As recently as a July 16 Senate committee hearing, Cruz grilled the Capitol Police's inspector general over what steps law enforcement should have taken "to prevent the violent terrorist attack from successfully breaching the Capitol."

CNN reached out to the Cruz camp to make sense of the apparent inconsistency. A spokesman for the senator's office "emailed a response that disparaged CNN and other media outlets but did not provide an explanation," according to the report.

An update to the CNN story noted that the same spokesman sent a followup to the network two hours after it posted the fact check. In the response, the spokesman called the story's premise "false" and added that Cruz's verbal gaffe was "not explaining the difference between acts of violence and peaceful protest."

And, you guessed it, the Cruz spokesman "again disparaged CNN and other media outlets," according to the network's report.

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