Jun 1, 2018
Never let it be said that Ted Cruz can't be a fun guy.
In a week when most of Texas' Republican leadership was focused on ramping up school safety, in the aftermath of a May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 dead and 13 wounded, the Lone Star State's junior senator was challenging late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel to a hoops challenge for charity.
First, the news.
Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled a 40-point school safety plan that provides up to $120 million for schools to begin hiring additional security and making other changes for the start of fall classes. The plan was quickly hailed as a solid starting point by law enforcement, many school officials and a variety of grassroots groups.
Even so, as often happens at the Texas Capitol, not everyone was aboard. Gun-control groups said it put more guns in schools, not less. Education organizations decried the idea of teachers packing heat in class. Gun-rights groups expressed concern that parts of the plan might limit Second Amendment rights.
A fight looks to be starting that will almost certainly play out in the next legislative session, and will liven up the debate in the fall elections.
Back to Mr. Fun, Ted Cruz.
After a Twitter back-and-forth that began with Kimmel mocking Cruz for attending Houston Rockets-Golden State Warriors Game 7 playoff game.
Cruz, who Kimmel compared to a blobfish on his show, tweeted back: "All right, Big Guy...you talk a good game. You besmirched my support for the @HoustonRockets. So let's settle this man-to-man: one-on-one, hoops (or "ring-ball," if you prefer). The loser gives $5k to the (non-political) charity of the winner's choice."
No date has been set. But Kimmel has continued to amp up the pre-game trash talk: "You want to play basketball against a talk show host? You already lost an election to a reality show host ― isn't that enough?"
No response from Cruz.
Go behind the headlines for a look at what's really going on in Texas politics. Join the conversation featuring the Chronicle's Austin Bureau Chief Mike Ward and Scott Braddock, editor of The Quorum Report, an acclaimed Texas political newsletter, with special guest Ryan Poppe, Texas Public Radio's Capitol reporter.