Ted Cruz: “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” https://t.co/LMsN84Z2IT
— CNN (@CNN) July 21, 2016
Former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz set the party’s convention ablaze when he refused to endorse Donald Trump during his Wednesday night speech. The latter’s supporters were so angry that Cruz’s wife and father had to be escorted out of the arena for their own safety. Yet this animosity wasn’t enough to dissuade the junior Texas senator, who met with delegates and party members from his own state early Thursday morning. Perhaps he imagined a more agreeable “homecoming” then, but as more and more of his own constituents raged against him, it became clear Cruz’s speech and Q&A session weren’t going to end well.
The senator began his remarks praising the Texas delegation, calling them “men and women of principle.” He also defended his speech, claiming that Trump’s people “saw my speech several hours before I gave it,” but he still wouldn’t endorse Trump when attendees pressed him. Though he did stress that, as TIME magazine’s Zeke Miller noted, he wouldn’t say anything detrimental about the Republican nominee.
Of course, Cruz’s insistence on playing nice didn’t last long. More and more angry Texas delegates approached him with questions and condemnation, accusing the senator of breaking the party’s loyalty pledge. That’s when Cruz offered an explanation for his endorsement refusal. This move inevitably broke his prior promise not to say anything disparaging about Trump:
“When I stood on that debate stage, and they asked every candidate there, ‘If you don’t win will you support the nominee?’ I raised my hand enthusiastically with full intention of doing exactly that. I’ll tell you the day that pledge was abdicated. The day that was abdicated was the day this became personal … I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.”
While some in the audience shouted “don’t make it personal!” at Cruz, he went on to suggest the pledge wasn’t a “blanket commitment” guaranteeing his endorsement. “If you go and slander and attack Heidi,” he continued, “I’m [not] going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say, ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.'”
The Cruz 2020 campaign looks more likely with each passing day.