During a speech on Wednesday at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) praised the late Republican Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) as an example for present-day lawmakers.
“The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare characteristic. And you know what? It’s every bit as true now as it was then. We need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate," said Sen. Cruz, noted Mediate.com.
The Tea Party favorite said that as a child, he donated $10 to Helms "because they were all beating up on him, they were coming after him hard, and I thought it wasn’t right.”
What Sen. Cruz didn't mention was Helms' long history of racism.
Rachel Maddow reported on her MSNBC show on Thursday (video below) that Helms got his political start in 1950 by attacking interracial marriage and accusing the spouse of a political adversary, Frank Porter Graham, of dancing with a "black man."
Helms opposed the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s, and in 1983 he filibustered against a Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday. He also supported South Africa during its apartheid days.
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Maddow also recalled how Helms sang the opening lines of "Dixie" in an elevator to Carol Moseley-Braun, who was only the second African-American to be elected to the U.S. Senate.
According to Moseley-Braun, Helms bragged to another senator in 1993: "I'm going to make her cry. I'm going to sing 'Dixie' until she cries."
Helms also ran an infamous racist commercial against Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, who is black, in a 1990 Senate race (video below).
In addition to his racism, Helms opposed funding AIDS research in the 1980s, noted The Huffington Post.