On Wednesday night, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took the stage in front of the Republican National Convention to give a poorly-received speech.
Sen. Cruz only used Donald Trump’s name once in his speech ― to congratulate Trump on his Republican nomination ― and withheld his endorsement in his speech, urging voters to “not stay home in November” and to “stand and speak and vote your conscience”, CNN Politics reports. Sen. Cruz primarily focused on the importance of traditional conservative values in his speech.
According to Variety, after it became apparent that Trump would not receive an endorsement from Sen. Cruz, the delegation began to boo Sen. Cruz off the stage and chanted “Endorse Trump!”
Delegates were outraged, with a majority stating that Sen. Criz had “failed the nation,” CNN reports. Richard Black, a delegate from Virginia, told CNN that he was “doubtful” that he would support Sen. Cruz again. He further stated that “each individual has a duty to the nation that transcends the duty to themselves [and] that’s where [Sen. Cruz] failed.”
Jonathan Barnett, a Republican national committeeman from Arkansas, told CNN that Sen. Cruz is “self-centered” and that he “ruin[ed] his political career.”
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, tried to do some damage control after Sen. Cruz’s speech, stating that the speech was meant to be positive. Gingrich, according to the Huffington Post, stated that “Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution. This election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution. So to paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the Constitution of the United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket.”
On Thursday morning, Sen. Cruz defended his decision not to endorse Trump, stating he was not “in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” Variety reports. Despite the fact that Sen. Cruz took the pledge to support the Republican nominee, he stated that the pledge was “abrogated” after Trump got personal.
But did this speech ultimately destroy any sort of political future for Sen. Cruz? If Sen. Cruz does run for president in 2020, will voters hold him accountable for not unifying the Republican Party during this election? Time will tell.