President Obama is planning to use Special Forces to impose martial law in Texas and will hold political prisoners in abandoned Wal-Mart buildings, according to a group of concerned Texans. This internet-fueled conspiracy theory may sound too ridiculous to actually believe, but Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is pandering to those who distrust the government, telling them he will ask the Pentagon for answers.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said last week he is ordering the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15, a Navy SEAL/Green Beret joint war simulation which will take place across seven states beginning this summer. The conspiracy theoriests say Obama is actually planning to use the exercise to put political prisoners into FEMA camps in the closed Wal-Marts by transporting them in train cars that already have been prepared with shackles.
But instead of dismissing the idea as a fringe conspiracy theory, Republican presidential candidate Cruz told Bloomberg he needed more questions to be answered.
“My office has reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise,” the Texas senator said. “We are assured it is a military training exercise. I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.”
He went on to add that for six years, the federal government has been “disrespecting the liberty of the citizens,” which produces fear and distrust. “You know, I understand a lot of the concerns raised by a lot of citizens about Jade Helm,” he said. “It’s a question I’m getting a lot.”
Another 2016 candidate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), also said in a radio interview that he would look into the theory.
The U.S. military frequently stages military training exercises in Texas, so the practice shouldn’t be cause for concern. But even when state lawmakers criticized Abbott’s actions — state Rep. Todd Smith accused him of “pandering to idiots” — Abbott didn’t back down. On Monday, he told reporters that his office is only acting as a “communication facilitator” between the military and concerned citizens. While he said he hasn’t seen anything to cause alarm, he will still ask for the State Guard to get involved.
“It is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed upon,” Abbott said when he announced that guards would be monitoring the operation.
The thought of taking a conspiracy theory seriously isn’t foreign to Cruz, who has believed a number of outlandish theories himself. In 2012, he argued that a United Nations resolution was actually a plot to abolish golf courses and he has also claimed that Islamic Sharia law is threatening the United States.