Cruz defends not endorsing Trump in RNC speech, citing attacks on family
After getting booed during his address to the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, Ted Cruz this morning defended his decision not to endorse Donald Trump after the real estate mogul’s attacks on his family during the primary campaign.
“I am not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and attacks my father,” Cruz told the Texas delegation at a breakfast in Cleveland.
He added: “That pledge [to endorse the eventual nominee] was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.”
During the primary campaign, Trump retweeted an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, alongside his supermodel wife, Melania, that read “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Of Cruz’s father, Trump at one point insinuated that Rafael Cruz had been a conspirator in President John Kennedy’s assassination.
Further defending his RNC speech Wednesday night, in which declined to endorse the party’s nominee, Cruz said Trump knew the contents of his speech prior to its delivery, including the absence of an endorsement.
“He didn’t ask me to endorse and, indeed, three days ago I talked on the phone with him and told him, ‘I’m not going to endorse you,’” Cruz said, defending his non-endorsement speech.
Cruz went on to characterize his speech Wednesday night as an “outline” of how to win the election in November and said Republicans won’t win if the “dominant word” Americans hear between now and then is “Trump.”
Just before taking the stage this morning, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked Cruz whether he had “any regrets about last night.”
The Texas senator declined to answer, saying simply, “I came here to address the Texas delegation.”
As Cruz took the podium, he received a hostile reception from some people in the Texas delegation. One delegate stood up and held a sign that read “Cruz-Clinton,” and others broke into chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
In beginning his remarks today, Cruz said, “I recognize there are some folks here and elsewhere at the convention who are not happy with me. That’s OK.”
He called it “troubling” that he was booed by “partisans” when he told the convention to vote for candidates in whom they believe.
“What I wanted to do last night is lay out the principles I believe we stand for as Republicans,” he went on to say. “In that speech last night I did not say a single negative word against Donald Trump.”
Cruz vowed not to say anything negative against Trump going forward.
The boos began Wednesday night during Cruz’s speech after it became clear he would not be endorsing Trump as the party’s nominee, urging people to vote their conscience.
Cruz would not say for certain at the breakfast today whether he would vote for Trump but did say he will not vote for Hillary Clinton.