Michelle Trant says her daughter thinks Cruz is a 'hero'

By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
Updated March 16, 2015 01:45 PM
Credit: Joel Page/REUTERS

Video of 3-year-old Julia Trant questioning, in a tremulous-sounding little-girl voice, Senator Ted Cruz’s assertion that “the world is on fire” caught fire itself over the weekend. But the headlines were all wrong, her mother tells PEOPLE.

“The world is on fire?” asked Julia.

“The world is on fire, yes,” the Republican from Texas told the preschooler. “Your world is on fire.”

Might be the stuff of nightmares to some little ones – especially coming from someone so official – but “Julia was actually quite happy” at Cruz’s political appearance Sunday before New Hampshire’s Strafford County GOP, Michelle Trant tells PEOPLE. “There was nothing scary that happened. I’m just so upset the way this has gone down.”

Various news outlets reported that Julia was "terrified," "scared" and listening in "horror," without asking the little girl how she was feeling.

But Julia left the event on Sunday “beyond over-the-moon excited” about Cruz, her mother says.

The Trant family, with Julia on her mother’s lap, was in the front row as Cruz, who was testing the presidential waters of New Hampshire, railed against the Obama administration’s foreign policy record saying: “The world is on fire!”

That’s Julia in pink, in the Senator’s Tweet from the event:

“Julia was playing with a game on my phone. She heard the word ‘fire,’ lifted her head up and asked out loud, ‘The world is on fire?’ And Ted Cruz magnificently answered her,” says Trant, who says she went on to tell her daughter Cruz is “the man who will put that fire out.”

“And she said, ‘Like a firefighter? He’s a hero!’ ”

Julia’s favorite show is Nick Jr.’s Paw Patrol, so equating Cruz with the show’s firefighting dalmation pup, Marshall, just “shot Senator Cruz up in Julia’s eyes,” says Trant. “She was calling him Uncle Cruz all day after that.”

Teased that Cruz would surely snap her up as a campaign volunteer any day now, Trant replied, “I just feel like Ted Cruz deserves better than people making up a lie that a 3-year-old was terrified of him, because she was not. I just want to have the truth out there.”

And, for the record, she added: “I hope he goes all the way to the presidency.”