Senator Ted Cruz was greeted with a warm, one-minute-long standing ovation Wednesday evening when he took the stage at the Republican National Convention. But by the end of his speech, many in the crowd were lustily booing the senator from Texas.
The Republican crowd in Cleveland expected to hear Cruz endorse Donald Trump at some point during his speech, but in its final minutes it became clear that no endorsement was forthcoming. That’s when the cheers turned into cat calls:
Cruz didn’t tell the convention crowd that he plans to vote for Trump. Nor did he ask his supporters, hundreds of whom encouraged him to run for president in four years at an event on Wednesday afternoon, to vote for the newly minted Republican nominee.
Interrupted by chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump,” Cruz paused and said with a smile, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.”
But as Cruz closed his remarks, and as the crowd of more than 2,000 delegates at the Quicken Loans Arena waited for Cruz to say something — anything — kind about Trump, he demurred.
“And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November,” Cruz said. “Stand and speak, and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
The delegates responded with angry boos, and Cruz backer and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli escorted Heidi Cruz off the convention floor as she was heckled by Trump delegates.
A Trump aide said that the booing and cat calls got so intense that the Trump campaign had to have its staffers on the convention floor do what they could to calm the delegates down.
It was an unfortunate scene that could have been avoided had the GOP nominee run a more civil primary campaign.
A Republican operative from Texas who spoke to PJ Media on the condition of anonymity was fuming.
“Texas just turned blue tonight after what Ted did by shredding his pledge to support the nominee,” he complained.
The operative said that Cruz “personally and vindictively destroyed any party unity coming from Texas GOP voters.”
He explained that in Texas, the GOP is split into three factions: “Cruzers, NeverTrumpers, and Trumpers.”
“The Dems already have made a stranglehold on the south, central (Austin Round Rock areas) and the greater Houston area and a large part of the DFW area. The ONLY reason Texas has been able to remain a red state is because of the overall numbers of dedicated GOP voters outside of those areas.NOT ANY MORE,” the irate Texan said.
He predicted that Trump will easily win 45 states, but fretted that after tonight, Texas will not be one of them.