Ted Cruz during a MSNBC Town Hall on Thursday called his parents' generation "deadbeats" for saddling younger generations with government debt. The Texas senator directed blame at the Obama administration and, more broadly, at "corrupt" Washington.
Under questioning from "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, Cruz slammed "career politicians" for their spending habits.
"You sit down with bunch of career politicians and you say, 'We'll spend for your project, your project, your project, your project. Another trillion dollars and you get 75 votes in the Senate.'" Cruz said. "The only people left out are the tax payers and our kids that are looking at over 19 trillion dollars in debt."
He added, "If we don't stop this, they'll spend their whole lives not working to meet their priorities, not working to meet the needs of the future but just trying to pay off the debts of their dead beat parents and grandparents."
Todd asked Cruz to clarify his comments, pressing him on whether he really meant to say everyone's parents and grandparents are the deadbeats. Cruz stood by his characterization, and even took it a step further.
"Look. I'm putting me in that category. I'm putting you … if we give our kids 20 trillion dollars in debt, no other generation in history has done that," Cruz said, adding, "I've said young people, you know, when they walk out of the voting booth they ought to turn around and punch their parents in the nose."
After laughs from the Buffalo, New York audience, Cruz pivoted to boast support he's received from younger generations - something he says should concern Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
"One of the things that's been really interesting, if you go to one our rallies they're filled with young people. It's one of the things that should be terrifying Hilary and Bernie Sanders," Cruz said. "Young people are excited to change the path we're on."
This article originally appeared on MSNBC.com.