Texas Senator Ted Cruz gave a belated endorsement to Republican nominee Donald Trump, as CNN predicted on Friday. Cruz gave the endorsement on Friday, in a Facebook post. The news comes more than two months after Cruz’s infamous decision not to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), and a few days after rumors started to leak that a Cruz endorsement was forthcoming.
Joshua Green, Bloomberg Politics’ national correspondent, reported that Jeff Roe, a political consultant for Cruz, hinted at the endorsement Wednesday morning.
At @bpolitics breakfast, Ted Cruz honcho Jeff Roe hints Trump endorsement may be coming: Cruz "thinks about it every day" 1/2
— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) September 21, 2016
The stars seemed to align after that announcement. John McCormack, a senior writer for The Weekly Standard, suggested that Cruz would only “sit it out if Trump were down big in the polls,” but he would endorse Trump if the race were “close.” The polls have tightened significantly over the past few weeks, following Clinton’s pneumonia stumble and her “basket of deplorables” comments.
All the same, signs of a political alignment only came during this past week. Cruz reportedly met with Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who is Trump’s running mate. Significantly, Trump announced his support on Wednesday for a Cruz-backed Internet proposal in government funding discussions in the U.S. Senate. On Friday, Trump released a new list of conservative judges likely to appeal to Cruz, who was a former Supreme Court clerk. The list even included Cruz’s ally in Congress, Utah Senator Mike Lee.
These are rather large concessions, and they perhaps illustrate the lengths to which Trump is willing to go in order the bury the hatchet in his long-term feud with the Texas senator. After all, the Republican nominee did refer to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted,” attacked his family, suggested Cruz wasn’t eligible to be president due to his birth in Canada, and even helped launch a conspiracy theory that Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.
One might still argue that a public apology from Trump is called for, but it seems unlikely. Cruz could argue that the Christian thing is to forgive the nominee, but that usually requires confession and asking for forgiveness — something Trump is famous for not doing.
In comments to CNN on Friday, radio host and long-time Cruz supporter Steve Deace corroborated rumors about an immediate Trump endorsement. “I believe he will release an op-ed today, basing it on the fact that he has Pence’s assurances on judges,” Deace said.
Interestingly, Cruz’s endorsement of Trump would come as no surprise to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Iowa Congressman Steve King. Immediately following Cruz’s speech at the RNC, Gingrich argued that the audience has “misunderstood” Cruz’s call for attendees to “vote your conscience.”
“Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution,” Gingrich argued. “In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution.”
In remarks to PJ Media following Gingrich’s speech, Steve King agreed with that assessment. “We’ll do our best to elect a president and save ourselves from the debacle of Hillary Clinton,” the congressman explained. “Ted Cruz will be involved in that effort, I know.”
King, when asked point-blank if he agreed with Gingrich’s interpretation of Cruz’s speech (“that he was saying vote your conscience and that applies to supporting Trump”), said, “Well sure. Sure it does, especially when you think of Hillary.”
Check out Cruz’s Facebook Post endorsement on the next page.
Conservatives have already started to attack Cruz for “caving” on the Trump issue. Notable anti-Trump radio personality Erick Erickson tweeted, “Yes, it does become almost impossible to claim ‘self-interested Ted’ is a caricature after this.”
Erickson seemed to budge closer to endorsing Trump himself, in an article on Wednesday, “Reconsidering My Opposition to Trump.” Nevertheless, in the article he made stronger arguments why Christians in particular should not support the Republican nominee, writing, “I think Donald Trump will do lasting damage to the witness of the Church in America and I therefore cannot vote for him.”
Indeed, when Cruz pulled out of the race following the Indiana primary in May, the Texas senator attacked Trump as a “serial philanderer,” “utterly immoral,” and “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen.” Some might argue that his decision to back Trump might be motivated by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus’ threat that any 2016 presidential candidate who fails to endorse Trump will be penalized should he or she run again in 2020.
Many conservatives across the country will be hungry to read or hear Cruz’s remarks endorsing Trump, and judge for themselves whether a man who seemed so dedicated to principle at the RNC has indeed caved to political expediency. It is incumbent on the Texas senator to tread lightly, to explain his position very clearly, and to make it known whether or not Trump has apologized for his attacks.
Here is the Facebook post of Cruz’s endorsement:
This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the…
Posted by Ted Cruz on Friday, September 23, 2016