Ted Cruz started his speech at the Republican National Convention with the goodwill of the convention attendees. But that’s not how it ended. By the time Cruz was wrapping up his speech, things in Cleveland had devolved into near-chaos.
The reason? The Texas senator declined to endorse Donald Trump. Instead he urged everyone to vote their conscience.
Cruz started by memorializing the dead police officers from the shooting in Dallas just last week. He poignantly remembered an officer whose young daughter mourned him with sobs. The arena was silent out of respect. But the silence turned into applause as Cruz turned his speech to his platform as a candidate, and then to aspects of Trump’s platform, including the proposal to build a wall along the US-Mexican border.
But by the end, delegates were booing him, booing the Texas delegation, and shouting out for Trump. Even though Cruz seemed to approve of several aspects of Trump’s platform, he ultimately walked away from the podium without endorsing the Republican nominee.
Meanwhile, Heidi Cruz, the senator’s wife, was apparently whisked to safety away from the angry crowd:
Then, as if on cue, Trump entered the arena amidst all the boos, an awkward moment that was caught on camera. For the third night in a row, contrary to precedent, Donald Trump appeared at the convention before he formally accepts his party’s nomination on the fourth night.
Following Cruz’s speech, Newt Gingrich began his address by attempting to turn Cruz’s non-endorsement into an endorsement of sorts, telling the crowd that since Cruz said voters must vote for the candidate who would uphold the constitution, there was only one candidate in the race who fit the bill: Donald Trump. The crowd did not seem to buy it.
Indeed, following the speech, Republican party wrath descended on Cruz:
Cruz was even turned away from billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s luxury box at the Quicken Loans arena after the speech, an unnamed former US Senator told the Independent Journal Review, a right-leaning online news site. He wasn’t welcome “because he’s a piece of sh*t,” the senator reportedly said.
However, at least one person in the Quicken Loans Arena didn’t seem to have a problem with Cruz’s speech:
Additional reporting by Hanna Kozlowska from Cleveland.