Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wants you to know that he’s always going to stand for the national anthem.
That is the subject of a new digital ad released today which incorporates a viral clip of his Democratic opponent Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) explaining his thoughts on NFL protests against killings of unarmed citizens by police officers.
O’Rourke’s comments, in which he was responding to a question at a town hall from a young man who expressed concern about the kneeling, generated positive feedback by celebrities, supporters, and athletes alike.
“Non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it,” O’Rourke said in part. “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, or any place.”
Cruz’s ad notes that “liberal Hollywood was thrilled,” featuring tweets from Ellen DeGeneres, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, and singer Khalid (who lived in El Paso, where O’Rourke is from). The rest of the ad incorporates a speech from Vietnam combat veteran Marine Corps. Sgt. Tim Lee, who lost his legs from walking on a landmine during combat.
“I’m not able to stand but I sure expect you to stand for me when that national anthem is being played,” Lee says.
“In November, where will you stand?” the ad concludes.
Opponents of the NFL players’ movement to take a knee during the national anthem—a movement started in 2016 by ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick—have sought to portray the act as disrespectful to the nation’s veterans.
The race in Texas has appeared to narrow in the last month with polls indicating a single-digit contest as O’Rourke aggressively tours the state and continues to raise inordinately large sums of money.