Live

Watch CBSN Live

Ted Cruz tells students Texas may try to secede if "things become hopeless" in the U.S. — and jokes Joe Rogan could be state's president

Is Texas planning on seceding? Not yet, according to Senator Ted Cruz, but that could change if "things become hopeless" in the U.S. Cruz's resurfaced remarks were made last month when he spoke to students at Texas A&M University. 

While at the event, a student asked Cruz what the state's plan would be if state officials wanted to secede. Cruz said he's "not there yet" with such plans because the state is preventing the country from "going off the cliff." 

"I think Texas has a responsibility to the country and I'm not ready to give up on America. I love this country," Cruz said. "Look, Texas, we're brash, we're not shy, we're sometimes larger than life, but Texas right now is an amazing force keeping America from going off the cliff, keeping America grounded on the values that built this country, on the values of freedom."

Come and Vax It | Verdict with Ted Cruz LIVE at Texas A&M by Young America's Foundation on YouTube

But, he added, a secession could happen if Democrats "fundamentally destroy the country." 

"If they pack the Supreme Court, if they make D.C. a state, if they federalize elections and massively expand voter fraud, there may come a point where it's hopeless," Cruz said. "We're not there yet. And if there comes a point where it's hopeless, then I think we take NASA, we take the military, we take the oil." 

The host of the talk, Michael Knowles, then asked Cruz if Texas would take Joe Rogan, whom they had been discussing earlier for taking ivermectin to treat coronavirus. The anti-parasitic drug has been unproven to do so. 

"Joe Rogan, he might be the president of Texas," Cruz joked. 

Throughout the discussion, Cruz and other participants defended Christopher Columbus, saying he was not responsible for genocide or mass deaths that occurred in the Americas, and applauded NBA star Kyrie Irving, who has refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

While Cruz's comments were light-hearted, the prospect of a Texas secession is not new. 

Over the summer, the Texas Nationalist Movement launched a "Texit" campaign to secure votes to get a secession on the state's primary ballots in 2022. More than 422,000 people have signed a petition for it to be on the ballot, according to the movement's website, which says such an action would mean "for the first time in our lives we control our own destiny."

But even if the movement expanded, historical and legal precedents make it clear that Texas cannot legally secede. As outlined by the Texas Tribune, the 1845 Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States makes it clear that Texas can choose to divide itself into a maximum of five new states; however, it does not say that the state as a whole can disassociate itself from the U.S. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.