The Texas senator said he loves Aussies but Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner tells Cruz, "You sure as hell don't stand with Australia"

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Ted Cruz, Michael Gunner
Ted Cruz (left) and Michael Gunner
| Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty; DAN HIMBRECHTS/POOL/AFP via Getty

Ted Cruz loves the Aussies. But do the Aussies love Ted Cruz?

Cruz, 50, received a pointed — though polite — rebuke from Chief Minister Michael Gunner, the head of Australian government in the country's Northern Territory, after the Texas senator remarked about the region's policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

"I love the Aussies," Cruz began in a recent tweet, that included video of Gunner speaking about vaccine mandates. "Their history of rugged independence is legendary; I've always said Australia is the Texas of the Pacific."

So far, so good. But then, Cruz's comments went south.

"The Covid tyranny of their current government is disgraceful & sad. Individual liberty matters," he added. "I stand with the people of #Australia."

That prompted a response from Chief Minister Gunner, who said in the video that workers who interact with the public must "get the jab" or face a fine of AU$5,000 (roughly $3,737.50 USD).

"G'day from Down Under," Gunner tweeted Sunday. "Thanks for your interest in the Territory. I'm the Chief Minister. Below are a few facts about COVID down here."

Gunner — who leads Australia's northern, central region which contains portions of the famed and sparsely populated Outback — attached to his tweet a slide of the points he wanted to make to Cruz.

"Nearly 70,000 Texans have tragically died from COVID. There have been zero deaths in the Territory. Did you know that?" he wrote.

"We've done whatever it takes to protect the Territory. That's kept us safe AND free. We have been on lock down for just eight days in 18 months. Our businesses and schools are all open," he also said. "Did you know that?"

Gunner then told Cruz, "We don't need your lectures, thanks mate. You know nothing about us. And if you stand against a life-saving vaccine, then you sure as hell don't stand with Australia."

To finish up the message, Gunner said, "I love Texas (go Longhorns), but when it comes to COVID, I'm glad we're nothing like you."

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz
| Credit: Jabin Botsford - Pool/Getty

Cruz didn't tweet a reply.

Gunner's post got plenty of attention with nearly 59,000 likes and more than 15,000 retweets. Like many Twitter users do, Gunner added a link to additional content, hoping for some exposure by attaching it to his viral tweet.

His cause? A fundraiser called Mullets for Mental Health. On his page, Gunner has more than surpassed his goal of $5,000 (he's raised $12,399 so far).

"Well, while I've got your attention… I am raising money for mental health by growing a mullet," Gunner explained, adding a postscript for the senator. "Ted," he said, "redemption begins with a donation."