A wasTED opportunity by Ted Cruz as he fails to endorse Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. In a gracious move by Trump he gave Ted Cruz an exclusive prime time speaking slot at the convention. Trump gave him this opportunity with no strings attached and no requirement to endorse him.
This gave Cruz his last, best chance at showing that he can let go of his pride, let offensive remarks stay in the past and do what is best for the party that he claims to represent.
He failed miserably, and the backlash has been more fierce than I think even Cruz could ever imagine. He has forced himself into a corner, with any future political opponent forever having the ammunition to bring him down.
Breitbart News reports:
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave a stirring address to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, but failed to endorse Donald Trump, telling Americans to “vote your conscience.”
Cruz congratulated Donald Trump on winning the party’s nomination, but stopped short of endorsing Trump outright, saying merely that he wanted to see the party’s principles prevailing in November.
He urged voters: “Please: don’t stay home in November.” But then he added: “If you love our country, and love your children as much as I know that you do, vote your conscience.”
“I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation,” he said, as he was booed.
Prior to that, Cruz had focused on the conservative principles at the core of the party.
He began with a lighthearted metaphor as he spoke in the Quicken Loans Arena, reflecting on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent historic victory in the NBA Finals. “LeBron James just led an incredible comeback victory, and I am convinced America is going to come back, too.”
Cruz went on to describe one of the fallen Dallas police officers, Michael Smith, who was killed by a sniper at a Black Lives Matter protest less than two weeks ago. “I have no idea who he voted for in the last election, or what he thought about this one, but his life was a testament to devotion.”
“He protected the very protesters who mocked him because he loved his country and his fellow man.”
Cruz went to to describe the stakes in the upcoming election — namely, that each person could tell their children “that we did our best for our country.”
And the country’s bedrock principle, Cruz said, was simple: “Freedom matters.”
He then drew a clear distinction between the parties: “Of course, Obama and Clinton will also tell you that they care about our country’s future. And I want to believe them. But there is a profound difference in our two visions of our country’s future.”
On terror and trade, on education and employment, on immigration and the Internet, Cruz spelled out stark disagreements between Democrats and Republicans — focusing, interestingly, on Obama and not his would-be successor.
“Freedom means free speech, and not politically correct safe spaces,” Cruz added, nothing that the Bill of Rights applied equally to all, including “gay or straight.”
On abortion, Cruz said: “Freedom means that human life is precious and must be protected.” And he reminded the gathering: “Our party was founded to defeat slavery … Together, we passed the Civil Rights Act, and together we fought to eliminate Jim Crow laws. That’s our collective legacy — although the media will never share it with you.”
And then, Cruz delivered those fateful words: “Vote your conscience.”
The boos and interruptions never ceased after that, with chants of “We want Trump!”
He concluded with a call to unity: “The case we have to make to the American people … is to commit to each of them that we will defend freedom and be faithful to the Constitution.”
But Cruz left the stage having divided the party.
Update: A Cruz supporter told Breitbart News: “I think it was entirely selfish. I think he’s ruined his future. Everybody was right about him. It’s a character thing.”
Another attendee described Cruz’s address as a “slap in the face” and “toying with the convention.”
Reactions were even harsher behind the scenes. Dana Bash of CNN reports that Cruz entered a donor suite at the arena after the speech, and was told, to his face, that he was a “disgrace.” One man was so angry at Cruz that he had to be “physically restrained,” and Heidi Cruz had to be escorted from the convention floor because of heckling by Trump delegates.
Eric Trump tried valiantly to mollify the crowd with a stirring address, albeit one beset by technical difficulties, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich did his best as well, but almost nothing could overshadow what Cruz had done.
The crucial phrases from Cruz’s address in the prepared version of the text, highlighted in yellow for reporters, were:
We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Unite us all behind shared values. Cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect, from everybody.
And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.
The final address of the evening, by Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, was solid, but spoke of a “united party” and uniting the nation.
Update #2: Jonathan Swan at The Hill reports that aides to Ted Cruz pleaded with him to endorse his former rival, but the Texas senator refused:
Just hours before Ted Cruz took the stage for his convention speech Wednesday night, senior members of Cruz’s team were still pushing him to endorse Donald Trump.
Cruz never wanted to endorse Trump and is still furious about the personal attacks the GOP presidential nominee made on his family during the primary campaign, sources familiar with the speech preparations told The Hill.
But top aides had concluded he needed to formally endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention.
For Cruz, it was always personal.[…]
Still, some aides to Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, were pushing him to endorse Trump for the sake of his own political future.
Cruz has indicated intentions to run for president again in 2020, and he has a team forming behind him to execute that plan. 2020 was the unspoken undertone beneath the drafting Wednesday night’s speech.
Update #3 (Michelle Moons):
Shortly following Cruz’s speech, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich asked the crowd to consider carefully the implication of Cruz’s words.
“Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone that will uphold the Constitution. In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution.”
He continued, “If you want to protect the constitution of the United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket.”
Read more at Breitbart News >>