After the firebrand speech Ted Cruz gave at the Republican National Convention refusing to endorse Donald Trump, the last thing anyone would expect to read was "Ted Cruz endorses Trump." But Friday afternoon that was precisely what happened. A few weeks ago, this would have seemed impossible.
During his speech at the Republican National Convention – as well as afterward – Ted Cruz made it clear that he was not going to endorse someone who had directly insulted both his wife and his father. He seemed quite sincere at the time.But as reported by the Associated Press – and in a truly shocking reversal – Ted Cruz on Friday said he would both endorse and vote for Donald Trump. The rumors are that Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence played a major part in reconciling the two outsider figures.
Pence has served this role before for Trump, who has never been fond of apologizing to anyone or admitting his faults. In fact, it was Pence who attempted the earlier reconciliation between Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. This effort by Pence wasn't entirely successful.
What type of deal was made to accomplish this result can only be speculated on at this point. Trump and Cruz seemed to have literally hated one another with a passion, so presumably Cruz would be getting something from Trump after the election in return for his endorsement.
But even prior to the election, Trump has already thrown a few crumbs Cruz's way. His campaign recently endorsed a proposal by Cruz related to the internet. And that wasn't all. On Wednesday, the Trump campaign also added one of Cruz's closest allies to the Trump Supreme Court list – from which Trump would supposedly select any future nominees to the court. This may have served as a significant enticement for Cruz.
While it's not something that Cruz spoke about in his announcement, one of the principal reasons why Ted Cruz may have chosen to endorse Trump at this time is that Cruz's own base turned against him over time. Initially, Ted Cruz's political base supported him in his refusal to endorse Trump, but this changed recently and the political pressure mounted on Cruz to change his mind.According to ABC News, Cruz claimed it was his commitment to his promise during the Republican primaries that he would endorse whoever the nominee was that compelled him to endorse Trump. Of course, this could be a not entirely sincere statement by Cruz to save face.
As might be obvious, the fact that this endorsement comes only three days before the first presidential debate on Monday is probably no coincidence. The efforts the Trump campaign has made to get Cruz on board this week make it plain that they hope for a bit of a boost before the confrontation with Hillary Clinton.
The idea of giving the appearance of everyone in the Republican Party being fully behind their nominee must have seemed irresistible to Trump. Otherwise, the always touchy and grudge holding Donald Trump would have never have agreed to the olive branches that brought Cruz into the fold.
But the fact that Ted Cruz endorses Trump doesn't necessarily mean he is fully behind Donald Trump. On the contrary, Cruz has made his future aspirations for the presidency quite clear, and it certainly wouldn't be surprising if he chose to run against Trump in 2020 – in the unlikely event of a 2016 Trump victory. Like his rival Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz is an extremely ambitious man.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]