Ted Cruz Praises Repressive Egyptian Leader


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi prepares to speak during the India Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015.

Three of the four Republican presidential candidates went up to bat (relatively anyway) for Muslims last night following frontrunner Donald Trump’s assertion that “Islam hates us.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) used the opportunity to cite a Muslim leader as a shining example of someone the United States should be supporting — and not alienating, a la Trump.

“Let me give you an example of a Muslim for example, we ought to be standing with,” Cruz told the crowd of Republicans in Miami. “President [Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi of Egypt, a president of a Muslim country who is targeting radical Islamic terrorists.”

This isn’t the first time Cruz has directed praise at el-Sisi. “Why don’t we see the president of the United States demonstrating that same courage [as el-Sisi] just to speak the truth about the face of evil we’re facing right now?” Cruz asked during the first Republican presidential debate last year.

El-Sisi’s reign in Egypt has been called “worse than the dictators” of the past by the Guardian, while the Cato Institute has called him a man who rules with a level of “tyranny Mubarak only dreamed of.”

ThinkProgress traveled to Egypt last summer, and many people, including an Egyptian human rights activist, said the situation under el-Sisi, with regard to human rights and basic freedoms, was worse than ever before.

This is the same regime that sentenced a four-year old boy to life in prison. Authorities later admitted a mistake in this case, but only after the boy’s father spent 18 months as a fugitive.

On Friday, mere hours after Cruz’s comments, the Financial Times ran a piece titled “Egypt escalates crackdown on dissent.”

“Over the past two years Egypt has witnessed its harshest crackdown on dissent in decades, say rights groups,” FT reported. “They have documented a sharp rise in restrictions on basic freedoms, and an increase in torture and deaths in custody which some analysts say is a sign that the security establishment feels empowered under Mr Sisi.”