Ted Cruz gave a passionate speech Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention. He congratulated Donald Trump on winning the nomination, talked about the importance of the party’s conservative principles winning in November, and clearly distinguished the choice between the two parties, outlining everything from trade to terror.
He urged voters to “please don’t stay home in November” and “vote your conscience,” after which the crowd erupted in boos and chants of “We want Trump!” And he never endorsed Trump directly, leaving many to judge his character after what many perceived as trying to divide the party with his speech.
CNN reporters behind the scenes report that Republicans were livid with Cruz after he exited the stage. He was told by some that he was a “disgrace”, that his speech was “political suicide”, and one man was so angry at Cruz that he had to be physical restrained. Even Cruz’s wife Heidi had to be escorted off the convention floor after she was shouted down by delegates. Chris Christie seemed very upset when he spoke to CNN’s Dana Bash, calling Cruz “selfish” and that he can now clearly see that Cruz’s bad reputation among his colleagues is “richly deserved”.
Cruz’s words set of a media furor. Perhaps CNN’s Ana Navarro said it best when she said, “while you should always vote your conscience, if you’re invited to dinner, if you don’t eat the food and don’t drink the wine, and then piss on the carpet, it’s tacky.”
The Hill reports that Cruz’s team begged him, for the sake of his own future in politics, to endorse Trump, but Cruz repeatedly refused to do so because he is still steamed about personal attacks made on his family during the primary. Cruz has already indicated that he intends to run in 2020. Insiders say he staunchly believes Trump is not a true conservative, and Cruz believes himself to be the “conscience” of the party going forward. Republicans are furious over Cruz not upholding the agreement made earlier in the campaign: if Trump were to lose the nomination, he would not enter the race as a third party candidate, but if Trump were to win, which he has, the party would unite behind him.
Interestingly, Trump took to Twitter, as he famously does, and said that he had read the speech in advance, and allowed Cruz to give it, anyway. “No big deal,” tweeted Trump.
Newt Gingrich tried to save the day by reinforcing to the crowd that voting your conscience means a vote for Trump, as he is the only candidate who will honor the Constitution.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, in true Cruz-ian style, Ted refused to back down. The great debater said that he did not say a “single negative word” about Trump. “I had to speak the truth,” Cruz said in a brief interview following his speech. “It’s going to be an interesting couple of days. The chips will fall where they may.”
I agree with Breitbart that everyone has overlooked the best sentence in Cruz’s speech: “And citizens are furious — rightly furious — at a political establishment that cynically breaks its promises and ignores the will of the people.” Really, Ted? Practice what you preach.