Are his claims legitimate or should Ted grow thicker skin? It is politics after all.
Senator Ted Cruz stared down angry shouted questions from his own Texas delegation on Thursday morning, a day after his refusal to endorse Donald Trump caused an eruption of boos and fury on the floor of the GOP convention in Cleveland.
Cruz doubled down on his position, saying he intended to vote his ‘conscience’ – and refused repeated shouted questions from fellow Texans trying to pin him down on whether he would vote for the Republican nominee who defeated him and offered him a prime-time convention speech.
Under pressure from a series of confrontational questions from his own delegation, he made clear how bitter and personal his battle with Trump has become, even as the party tries to unify.
‘I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,’ Cruz said.
‘I addressed the convention because Donald Trump asked me to and when Donald Trump asked me to he didn’t ask him to endorse,’ Cruz explained to a mixed crowd of Trump and Cruz supporters.
‘Three days ago I talked on the phone with him and I told him I’m not going to do it,’ Cruz explained.
‘Why not?’ yelled out a delegate.
Cruz said what he wanted to do with his speech was explain the ‘principles we should stand for as Republicans. In that speech last night did not say a single negative word about Donald Trump. And I’ll tell you this going forward I don’t intend to say negative things about Donald Trump.’
The crowd wasn’t persuaded.
‘You signed a pledge!’ one Texan lectured him. ‘Your word is your bond!’
‘Are you going to vote for Trump?’ another man decked out in red, white, and blue yelled out at Cruz at a Marriott not far from the convention hall where the chaotic speech occured.
‘His vote is private!’ yelled out a woman in response.
Again and again, delegates pressed Cruz on his refusal to back Trump. He repeated his arguments that people should vote their conscience. He bashed Hillary, but refused to say who he would vote for, although he did say he wouldn’t attack Trump.
‘I will tell the truth. I will not malign. I will not attack. This is not a game,’ Cruz shot back to another man who challenged him.
‘It is not simply blindly chanting a name and yelling down senators,’ he fumed.
‘If anyone thought that I was eager to come to this convention,’ Cruz tried to say – prompting another angry man to yell out:: ‘And vote for Hillary!’
After the stunning political confrontation, delegates vented at Cruz for not doing more for the GOP or at Trump supporters for angrily shouting him down in the hall.
‘People will remember this,’ said Stuart Mayper, a businessman in natural gas who has backed Cruz financially. ‘I was disappointed last night. I think he burned a bit of a bridge.’
‘I think he gave a tepid endorsement. He may very well sit it out.’ As for Cruz’s reasons, he speculated: ‘I think his main concern was personal – his wife, if she was insulted like that. Personal things fester. There’s great division in his room.’
Mike McCloskey, another Texas delegate who is in the hotel business, asked a question of Cruz about what his intentions really were. ‘I felt like he left the door open. What other alternative is there?’ he asked.
‘Obviously there is a real division,’ McCloskey continued. ‘It’s truly unique. I know him. I know his people. I just think it was not the right thing to do.’
Cruz loyalist Erin Swanson, a delegate from Houston, said Cruz was a ‘class act’ and blame the angry crowd in the convention hall. ‘People didn’t even give him a chance,’ she complained. ‘They overran him and Trump came out and interrupted.
‘When you go after somebody’s family, you’ve crossed the line,’ fumed pro-Cruz delegate Deborah Kelting.
Cruz’s fresh confrontation with Trump supporters came as Eric Trump led a wave of attacks on the defeated Texas senator for his conduct, calling him ‘classless’.
Donald Trump‘s adult sons, his running-mate and his campaign chief blanketed the morning TV circuit on Thursday to react to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s stunning Republican National Convention speech, in which he pointedly refused to endorse his party’s nominee.
The jarring move – Cruz told the party to ‘vote your conscience’ in November – drew loud boos from delegates along with angry recriminations from party insiders who believe he signed his own political death warrant.