Wednesday evening, Ted Cruz took the stage at his party’s rally in Cleveland to a resounding chorus of boos.
Cruz, who was the last candidate to leave the race, made a speech that should have continued to endear him to the conservative base of the GOP. Yet, Ted failed to do what every other party member on stage has so far done: He did not, as CNN reports, endorse Donald Trump.
He did manage to congratulate Trump on winning the nomination the previous night. However, that was all Ted Cruz managed to say about the Republican candidate for the White House. This is because there was likely nothing left for him to say. But, it may also be because the booing was so loud, according to Vox, that after Cruz uttered the words “vote your conscious” it was difficult to hear anything.
Clearly uninterested in Ted Cruz’s antics, delegates began to protest, booing him off the stage. In fact, he was the target of more disdain than Hillary Clinton was during Mike Pence’s speech the evening before.
His wife, Heidi, who was also in attendance, was heckled by convention goers shouting “Goldman Sachs!” Heidi Cruz left the arena with a security escort.
Ted Cruz’s big night then got worse after the boos. As he entered the skybox level of the convention, Cruz’s fellow party members refused to look him in the eye. Witnesses also say that people approached the senator to insult him. An unidentified chairman of a state party was restrained.
Looking for shelter, Cruz also tried to cash in his invitation to visit the suite of Sheldon Adelson, a major party donor. But, after he failed to endorse Trump, the New York Times reports that Adelson rescinded his invitation.
Even Chris Christie, the only party member to suffer more embarrassment from Cruz this year, condemned Cruz in an interview.
Party leaders and officials took issue with Cruz’s speech. But, it was not his message of unity that scared them off. It was the fact that Cruz, like all other candidates, signed a pledge to support the eventual nominee. By not getting on the stage and endorsing Trump, Cruz broke that promise. The crowd was not afraid to remind him of that.
Several high-ranking Republicans, including Trump himself, noted Cruz’s failure to live up to the signed agreement. They also made sure to note his willingness to do so on a national stage. The act was likened to political suicide by Michael Cohen, one of Trump’s lawyers.
Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2016
Still, Ted Cruz was not completely alone getting booed. Newt Gingrich, who was previously listed as a potential Trump running mate, said that Cruz’s commitment to the party and the Constitution was a commitment to Trump. Gingrich considered his word as good as an endorsement without using the words explicitly.
The question remains regarding whether Cruz’s failure to do more than congratulate the party nominee was an act of conscience, as he put it, or an act of selfishness, which he is now being accused of.
Cruz took the brunt of Trump’s later attacks, especially after Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio dropped out of the race. Trump retweeted a viral image calling Heidi Cruz ugly and suggested Cruz’s father was friendly with Lee Harvey Oswald. Both were highly personal attacks that are not easily forgiven.
Whatever his intentions, Ted’s failure to endorse alienated many Republicans, especially Trump supporters who booed him.
The already unpopular Texan’s political career might be finished just as it has become clear that the battle for the nomination in 2020 is only just beginning. However, not all Republicans rule him out for future work. After all, it was only those who now reject Cruz that shouted the loudest.
Ted Cruz may be down, but whether he is out will not be answered for another four years.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]