ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — Ted Cruz on Wednesday blamed President Barack Obama and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton for North Korea's claims it had tested a nuclear weapon, insisting it shows the “sheer folly” of their foreign policy.
“When we look at North Korea, it’s like looking at a crystal ball,” Cruz, the Republican presidential candidate and U.S. senator from Texas, told reporters before a campaign stop in northwest Iowa. “This is where Iran ends up if we continue on this same misguided path.”
Cruz traced North Korea’s nuclear potential back to Bill Clinton’s presidential administration, which he said enabled a “megalomaniacal maniac” — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un — to possess what that nation claimed was a hydrogen bomb. U.S. officials on Wednesday cast doubt on the hydrogen bomb theory, saying initial analysis was "inconsistent" with North Korea's claim.
On the presidential trail in the hours before the White House weighed in, Cruz said the common denominator in nuclear talks with North Korea and Iran has been U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman.
Cruz said Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "recruited back Wendy Sherman, the one person who has actually already messed this up once," to be the lead negotiator on what he called a "failed Iranian nuclear deal.” The deal, which seeks to curb Iran's nuclear program, went into effect in October.
“The Clinton-Obama-Clinton foreign policy,” Cruz added, referring to a Hillary Clinton’s role in the past two administrations, “makes the same mistakes over and over again and is as profoundly dangerous as North Korea.”
On the Iranian nuclear deal, Cruz offered a rare policy contrast with billionaire Donald Trump, the GOP rival whom he has studiously avoided criticizing. Pressed to offer examples of where he disagrees with Trump, Cruz replied that he has pledged to “rip this agreement to shreds on Day 1” while a number of his GOP opponents have urged more restraint.
“In my view, their view reflects a lack of understanding of the nature of the enemy we’re dealing with,” Cruz told reporters.
Trump has harshly criticized the agreement but stopped short of pledging to scrap it if elected.
Cruz’s remarks on North Korea came at the ninth stop on a six-day, 28-county bus tour of the Hawkeye State that started Monday. He is scheduled to make four more stops across northwest Iowa on Wednesday.