WASHINGTON — It's often said on the presidential trail that Sen. Ted Cruz's colleagues just don't like him.
Those who toil with him in the halls of Congress proved that true on Thursday night, using the jokey monologues at a lighthearted annual media dinner to take some serious jabs at the Texas Republican.
One might have expected ribbing at the hands of House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who during her turn at the podium of the Washington Press Club Foundation's annual dinner mocked Cruz's Canadian birth, noting that places the presidential candidate might feel comfortable would include "a Justin Beiber concert. … or a maple-syrup tasting."
And another California Republican, Sen. Barbara Boxer, observed that she had overheard Cruz attacking Republican leaders on the Senate floor. "I thought, 'that's my job!' " she joked.
But the shots also came from within Cruz's party. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the evening's headliners, also had some brutal burns for his fellow Senate GOP-er. "A good Republican would defend Ted Cruz," the South Carolina Republican said, pausing for effect. "That ain't me. If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, nobody would convict you."
The senator-icide joke got laughs. Other laugh lines from the former Republican presidential wannabe on the GOP 2016 field: "My party has gone bat - - - - crazy" and "how did I lose to these guys?"
Graham, though, wasn't done with the intra-party barbs. He wound up to make some funny remarks about Donald Trump, the real estate mogul who is, improbably, the party's front-runner.
But Graham turned quite serious. "I don't think he knows what makes America great," he said. "We live in the most dangerous, complicated times you can imagine."
Finally, he struck a lighter note, though it was no less damning to Trump.
"I ran for president, and I had to get out," Graham said. "I endorsed Jeb Bush, and he had to get out. I am the Dr. Kevorkian of the Republican primary."
He then donned a baseball hat bearing Trunp's signature line "make America great again," and mock-endorsed the candidate.