An extraordinary scene unfolded on the Senate floor Friday as Republican Sen. Ted Cruz bluntly accused Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying and said he's running the Senate like his Democratic predecessor.
The charges from the Texas senator and GOP presidential candidate were a rare departure from the Senate's usual staid decorum, even for a politician famous for his fiery speeches.
At issue were assurances Cruz claimed McConnell, R-Ky., had given that there was no deal to allow a vote to renew the federal Export-Import Bank -- a little-known federal agency that has become a rallying cry for conservatives. Cruz rose to deliver his remarks moments after McConnell had lined up a vote on the bank.
"It saddens me to say this. I sat in my office, I told my staff the majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie, and I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every one of us," Cruz said.
"What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie."
Reports had emerged earlier this year that McConnell privately pledged a vote on the Ex-Im Bank, in exchange for winning support on President Obama's trade agenda. Cruz says he was assured at the time there was no deal.