One-on-one with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: COVID, China sanctions, TikTok security concerns and the RECLAIM Act

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 7:37 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC/AP) - Jillian Angeline goes one-on-one with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on multiple issues.

Sen. Cruz met Friday with FBI field agents in Houston who are focused on combating Chinese espionage.

“Chinese espionage is an enormous problem,” Cruz said.

Cruz is especially concerned about espionage when it comes to the social media service TikTok.  And he is not the only lawmaker expressing concern.

Last week, the Senator joined others in writing to the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf asking if the Chinese social media service could influence the U.S. elections.

In the letter, the lawmakers noted the Community Party of China (CCP) spreads their message overseas through social media.

“The CCP devotes significant resources to conduct information operations overseas. Beijing exploits the openness of Western democracies and social-media platforms to propagate the Party’s preferred narratives,” the letter read.

The lawmakers are worried TikTok, which is very popular among young Americans, could “sow discord” and distort the upcoming elections.

TikTok is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance.

Sen. Cruz responds to China sanctions imposed on him and other leaders

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he was one of several U.S. officials targeted by the Chinese government in July.

“I got to tell you, I view that as a badge of honor,” Cruz said in an interview.

Cruz and other leaders spoke out against human rights violations taking place in China.  

The lawmakers also spoke out against the ruling Communist Party’s treatment towards religious minorities and other minority groups.

The sanctions came in response to sanctions the U.S. placed on Chinese officials first.   The U.S. barred Chinese officials from entering the country and engaging in property transactions.  Chinese official say the sanction placed on Cruz and other lawmakers would be similar to the restrictions imposed on their leaders.

Upon the news, the Texas senator responded by saying he has no plans to travel to China in the future.

Sen. Cruz discusses ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Texas

Health officials say Texas continues to be ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, the phased reopening for the state was halted to slow the spread.  Texas remains in Phase 3.

“There are all sorts of steps we can take to limit the spread of the disease but at the same time, we’ve got to allow people to reopen their businesses,” said Cruz.

On July 2, Gov. Greg Abbott mandated all Texans to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while out in public.

Sen. Cruz discusses RECLAIM Act introduction in Congress

Sen. Ted Cruz introduced the RECLAIM Act which would hold officials liable for allowing the creation of violent autonomous zones in their communities.

The RECLAIM ACT, introduced earlier this month, would allow victims of damage within the zones to recoup the cost of that damage.

“The RECLAIM Act is legislation that says if you have been harmed, or if your home or business has been damaged or destroyed in a riot, and your local officials have deliberately denied you police protection, they’ve decided we’re not going to protect you, we’re going to let the rioters hurt you or hurt your home or business, that you have a right to sue the city, to sue the municipality,” said Cruz.

The legislation would also allow victims to sue the leaders in the cities where the zones are created.

The Act was introduced after the extremist group Antifa incited violence in cities across the country, said Senator Cruz.

Copyright 2020 Gray DC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.