Rep. Peter D. King (R-N.Y.) is not a fan of Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas senator, newly announced presidential candidate, and fellow Republican.
"To me, he's just a guy with a big mouth and no results," he told CNN this week.
Well, Cruz supporters aren't much fans of King, a moderate representing Long Island who has long been critical of hard-line conservatives in his own party. And, King said Friday, they have called his congressional office to let him know how they felt, prompting him to issue a statement slamming those Cruz backers as suffering "from severe cases of arrested development."
"I owe it to my staff - particularly the female members and young interns - to make this statement," King said, explaining that he was used to "return fire" in politics.
"What I do find revealing is the number of vulgar, rabid and adolescent-type phone calls my office has received from Cruz supporters," he said in the statement. "The puerile language used is what most kids outgrow and move beyond when they reach sophomore year in high school. ... The fact that women and young interns in my office have to listen to these perverse rantings is particularly shameful."
Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler declined to respond to King: "Since you won't find a clip or a quote of Senator Cruz 'returning fire' on a Republican colleague, we won't start now."
King acknowledged Cruz "cannot be held responsible for all his supporters." But he added that only twice previously has he been subject to such a "low level of commentary" only twice before: after criticizing Cruz during the 2013 government shutdown, and when he criticized Michael Jackson in 2009.
Added King: "Frankly I can not imagine supporters of Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, or other candidates reacting so disgracefully. Clearly, Sen. Cruz has many decent and honorable supporters. At the same time though we must ask why he has such an unusual appeal to this low denominator in American politics."