Rick Perry Snubs Ted Cruz, Calls Shutdown 'Political Theater'

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) took time out from his trip to Israel on Sunday to call America's recent government shutdown nothing more than "political theater" during a phone interview with The Washington Times.

While in Israel with former U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council Chairman Fred S. Zeidman to discuss the possibility of a Nazareth campus of Texas A&M University, Perry explained, "The United States' reputation in Israel wasn't affected by the shutdown, because the Israelis understand that from time to time politicians in a democracy engage in political theater, which is what the shutdown was."

Having visited London for a plaque dedication prior to his stop in Jerusalem, Perry noted that no government officials in either city mentioned Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the lawmaker who spearheaded the effort to tie government funding provisions to defunding the Affordable Care Act.

"No one has come up to me and even said the word 'Cruz' -- no, not once did I hear that," Perry said.

Throughout the 16-day government shutdown, several long-serving Republicans publicly criticized Cruz for damaging the GOP's image with inevitably unsuccessful defunding tactics.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called Cruz's shutdown strategy "not a smart play" with "no chance of success," while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Cruz's mission a "fool's errand." Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) offered more pointed criticism, calling Cruz either a "fraud" or "totally incompetent."

On Sunday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) further highlighted the Republican Party's damaged reputation and advised Cruz and his fellow tea party politicians to "show a little self-restraint" instead of engaging in "political conversations that are not grounded in reality."

Sen. Ted Cruz