Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) doesn’t support legalizing marijuana or other currently illicit drugs, but he’s big mad over the prospect of the federal government advising Americans to drink less alcohol.
During an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday, the senator said that federal officials “can kiss my ass” if they decide to reduce the recommended maximum consumption of alcohol to two drinks per week, as has recently been floated.
“What is it with liberals and wanting to control every damn aspect of your life?” said Cruz, who himself supports government bans on abortion and trans-affirming healthcare. “If they want us to drink two beers a week, frankly they can kiss my ass.”
The U.S. senator from Texas then took an on-air swig of Shiner Bock beer, which is brewed in the state, as a seemingly coordinated group of onlookers behind him also imbibed their brews.
Despite Cruz’s frustration with the federal government for “wanting to control every damn aspect of your life,” however, the senator has not co-sponsored a single piece of legislation during his time in the Senate that would scale back federal marijuana prohibition.
Cruz would prefer that, instead, state governments get the final say over what residents can legally do. “I think it ought to be up to the states,” he said during a 2018 debate. “I think Colorado can decide one way. I think Texas can decide another.”
To be clear, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not yet lowered its current two-drink-a-day advice. Cruz and others on the right are angry because George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told the Daily Mail that U.S. guidelines are “not going to go up, I’m pretty sure.”
Pointing to Canada’s alcohol guidelines, which recently changed to recommend a limit of two drinks per week “to avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself and others,” Koob said any change in U.S. guidance would likely involve lowering the recommendation as well—triggering ire from Cruz.
Cruz wasn’t the only GOP politician to attack Koob’s comments as paternalism. U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett also called the two-beer-per-week recommendation “ridiculous.”
“This is what happens when 30 million Americans don’t vote,” Burchett said, according to Fox News. “Overpaid unelected bureaucrats sticking their fat noses somewhere it does not belong.”
“I am a non-drinker, but this is ridiculous,” he added. “If they want to look at abuse, look at the spending in Washington and the overreach by the White House.”
As for cannabis, Burchett posted on social media Wednesday that “Weed should not be on the same schedule as heroin,” comments that came in response to news that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is recommending cannabis be rescheduled as Schedule III under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), for her part, called the situation “absurd.”
“Another Biden ‘czar’ — this one wants to take away Americans’ beer,” the senator, who does not support cannabis legalization, claimed falsely on social media.
The term ‘czar’ goes back to a news story in 1982, during the Reagan administration. It is not the formal name of any U.S. regulatory position. Alcohol consumption guidelines, meanwhile, are recommendations only and not enforced at any level of government.
Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Florida—who co-chairs the Congressional Cannabis Caucus—nevertheless compared the potential alcohol guidelines to the federal prohibition of alcohol, which lasted from 1920 to 1933.
Other users on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, pilloried Cruz’s rather forced photo op.
“I don’t drink beer,” posted one-time Jeopardy champion Hemant Mehta, “and I still know I’d look less awkward than this if I downed one.”
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