Texas Senator Ted Cruz fought GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump bitterly throughout the Republican 2016 primary season. Now he’s slated to speak at the Republican National Convention, and many are wondering if Ted Cruz will use his time at the podium to endorse Trump (not likely), or to pave the way for a second White House bid for himself in 2020.
After all, it’s not like Donald Trump has won the general election. If he doesn’t manage to pull it off, it’s very likely that the Republican Party will be looking toward an establishment conservative like Ted Cruz to challenge Hillary Clinton in the 2020 race.
As CNN reports, Ted Cruz’s time in Cleveland got off to a bit of a rocky start as Donald Trump (via his private plane) made a show of letting Cruz know who’s boss. During a Ted Cruz rally that the former presidential contender launched in the city following his arrival, Ted Cruz was overshadowed (literally) by a plane that boldly sported the word “Trump” while flying overhead.
The Texas senator addressed the breach of propriety immediately, talking to his campaign manager (keep in mind that the Ted Cruz for President campaign has remained virtually intact despite Trump’s victory) in front of the crowd as those gathered to hear Ted Cruz speak loudly booed the interloping Trump aircraft.
“That was pretty well orchestrated. Jeff, did you email them to fly the plane right when I said that?”
The Trump plane flew over the crowd consisting of Ted Cruz and his vocal supporters at almost the precise moment that Senator Cruz unenthusiastically referred to Donald Trump as “our nominee.”
Despite showing his halfhearted support for the Republican Party’s presidential pick, Ted Cruz is not expected by anyone within or without his campaign to go so far as to endorse Donald Trump. He’s expected to speak at the RNC at 7:30 p.m. local time, and a source who reportedly read his RNC speech says that it does not include an “endorsement line.”
According to Ted Cruz insiders, the former presidential contender is hoping to give a speech that will bash Hillary Clinton, not distance himself (too badly) from The Donald’s rabid supporters and still gives him some 2020 wiggle room.
Utah Senator Mike Lee, a personal friend of Senator Ted Cruz and one of the leaders of the failed #NeverTrump RNC revolt, calls Ted Cruz’s position “almost unprecedented.”
“It’s kind of an unusual circumstance, isn’t it? Almost unprecedented.”
Many media outlets are confirming that Ted Cruz has a personal agenda associated with speaking at Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention, and it has nothing to do with Trump. According to Yahoo News, Ted Cruz is already working with the RNC to make a 2020 presidential bid a possibility, even if Donald Trump does win the election.
“If Trump wins, you better bet your ass Cruz is going to primary him.”
According to RNC leaders, many of the party’s big wigs expect Ted Cruz to seek the U.S. presidency again in 2020 regardless of Donald Trump’s success in the 2016 election cycle. Which is why Ted is withholding an official endorsement of the inexplicable Republican presidential nominee.
If this ends up being the case (and there are a lot of variables that will come into play between now and the 2020 election cycle), Ted Cruz will be the first person to challenge an incumbent POTUS from his own political party in decades. The last time something like this happened was in 1980 when Carter was challenged by Teddy Kennedy.
Ted Cruz’s current position within the Republican Party’s hierarchy clearly demonstrates how little faith the RNC has in Donald Trump. The only question now, it seems, is whether Ted Cruz will be challenging Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2020.
[Image via Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock]