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Weiner Explains Cicero in The Atlantic


Jesse Weiner
Jesse Weiner

An article by Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics Jesse Weiner was published on Nov. 21 in The Atlantic. In “Ted Cruz: Confused About Cicero,” Weiner wrote about Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s rewriting of Cicero’s  “In Catilinam (Against Catiline)” to denounce President Barack Obama’s planned executive actions on immigration reform.

According to Weiner, “A deeper look at the speech Cruz adapted shows that the senator not only accused the president of overstepping the constitutional bounds of his authority (a legally dubious claim), but also challenges the legitimacy of the Obama presidency, accuses the president of treason, and perhaps even advocates for his violent punishment.”

Weiner offered an analysis of the original text, delivered to the Roman Senate in 63 B.C., and called the meaning Cruz created when he tweaked and replaced many of Cicero’s words and phrases “dangerous.”

“Lurking beneath Cruz’s already inflammatory words are suggestions that Obama, Cruz’s modern-day Catiline, ‘should long ago have been led to execution,’ marks members of the Senate for death, and seeks ‘to destroy the whole world with fire and slaughter,’” Weiner concluded.

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