The comments came during a speech Cruz gave Tuesday morning in Houston. Cruz was speaking at a breakfast event held by the Houston Realty Business Coalition at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa.
After a speech that mostly focused on Cruz’s campaign to defund Obamacare, the junior Senator from Texas took questions from the audience. One person asked him to talk about doing outreach to Hispanics.
“You don’t have to be a demographer to look at the state of Texas and understand if we don’t do that, Republicans will cease to be the majority party in the state of Texas,” Cruz replied.
“And I am very optimistic on that front because Hispanics are a profoundly conservative community,” he continued. “The values in the Hispanic community, our community – faith, family, patriotism – a lot of people don’t know the rate of military enlistment in the Hispanic community is higher than any demographic in this country.”
Cruz then told an anecdote about having lunch with friend, a Hispanic businessman in Austin, who posed the question: “When is the last time you saw a Hispanic panhandler?”
Cruz said he thought that was a “terrific question.”
“And I’ll tell you I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hispanic panhandler,” Cruz continued. “Now why is that? Because in our community it would be viewed as shameful to be out there on the street begging. Now you want work on your house? You’ll see men and women lining up to work their fingers to the bone to provide for their kids to put food on the table. Hard work, responsibility, those are conservative values.”
Cruz says that Republicans should focus on a message of “opportunity conservatism” that will appeal to Hispanics.