Many pundits, including yours truly, ripped Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for speaking at the Republican Convention without endorsing the party’s nominee. Apparently Cruz is coming around; according to his press spokesman, he is never Hillary (but he still hasn’t made an endorsement).
Ironically, Ted Cruz did more to unite the Republican party than any speaker at the convention. Unfortunately for the Texas senator, they were united in booing Ted Cruz.
Fox News reported that as he left the stage, RNC donors called Cruz’s speech “classless.” Also after his speech, the Texas senator went to the suite of billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Earlier in the day the major GOP moneyman had invited Cruz to his suite. Adelson, disappointed in the lack of an endorsement, turned the senator away when he showed up.
But according to my colleague Onan Coca, we’ve been too harsh on good ol’ Ted:
Guest post by Onan Coca
After Ted Cruz’s speech at the 2016 RNC, many Donald Trump supporters were quite angry because the Texas Senator refused to explicitly endorse Trump for President. However, other observers wondered if the anger was misplaced, seeing as Cruz never uttered a cross word about the GOP candidate during his speech. In fact, Cruz warmly congratulated Mr. Trump’s victory while also speaking quite negatively about the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.
Those who were upset with Cruz pointed to a short phrase near the end of his speech when he urged voters everywhere to “vote their conscience.” Many of the Trump faithful believed that Cruz meant “vote your conscience” as a call to not vote for Trump… apparently, that was wrong. If the latest reports are accurate, Mr. Cruz’s conscience is leading him to cast his own ballot FOR Donald Trump.
The Texas senator is working behind the scenes to quell the turmoil stirred up by his remarks in Cleveland…
While an explicit endorsement was out of the question, his advisers and confidants were bitterly divided over whether he should announce that he planned to vote for Trump in November: his campaign manager Jeff Roe and his longtime best friend David Panton were in favor, according to a source familiar with the internal debate, while finance chairman Willie Langston, campaign chairman Chad Sweet, and chief strategist Jason Johnson were against.
After a face-to-face meeting in early July between Cruz, Roe, Trump, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, both the Trump team and the RNC emerged with the understanding that Cruz would speak at the convention and promote party unity. Cruz and his team, meanwhile, didn’t believe the meeting had established any guidelines whatsoever for the senator’s remarks. Regardless, Cruz’s team argues that he did what most Republicans expected of him. “His speech laid out a path to unity and a path to winning in November — by vigorously defending freedom and the Constitution,” says Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. “Senator Cruz is ‘never Hillary’; he hopes that every Republican, up and down the ticket, will unite in defense of liberty to avert the disaster that Hillary Clinton would be for America”…
Cruz and his aides expected jeers inside the convention hall — Manafort and his team were whipping opposition on the floor, after all…
Perhaps this will help quell the uproar against Cruz and refocus the campaign back on the true opponent – Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.