Wonder why they only cite the 18 year and a few months trend? Here's why:
Here I plot the amount of warming in the lower troposphere as a function of how far back you start looking -- what I call the "reverse total change."
So, for example, the temperature change for the lower troposphere over the last 30 years is, according to UAH version 6beta4 (their latest version), +0.31°C, with error bars of 0.06°C for the 5-95% confidence level (no autocorrelation).
Now you can can wee why they cite "18 years" or so -- it's a massive cherry pick. Picking a number longer than this and the amount of warming quickly rises. Pick a number shorter than this and it does too, though the error bars get big enough that a solid conclusion is not possible. (For example, you could try to say the LT pause is "14 years," but I can't imagine anyone claiming that 14 years is representative of just AGW and not natural variability. Though some probably try.)
Lesson: Picking the 1997-98 El Nino to start your trend isn't copacetic. One needs to account for natural variations (here, especially ENSOs) to pick out the anthropogenic signal.
I'm sure Ted Cruz couldn't care less -- he'd say whatever he needed to say to futher his agenda -- but the rest of us should.