Texan Senator Ted Cruz may have won a battle Wednesday night but it sure looks like he lost the war. He was pointedly turned away from billionaire Sheldon and Miriam Adelson’s suite at the Cleveland Arena Wednesday night after not endorsing Donald Trump in his speech on Day 3 at the Republican National Convention.
Cruz had stood his ground and plainly refused to endorse the party’s elected candidate to run for president of the United States.
He paid a price for his choice in the party, in media coverage, politically across the spectrum and financially as well.
When he later went to the on-site suite of Las Vegas Sands Casino chairman and his wife, each a billionaire in their own right — perhaps to explain himself more fully — he was pointedly turned away.
The message could not have been more clear.
This was one that Cruz should have seen coming. The couple had told media in the spring they would back Trump.
All the candidates had, from the start, signed the same agreement: they would back the party’s nominee at the end of the process. Ultimately, Cruz balked, with personal ethics winning out over politics. Ironically Donald Trump respected his choice.
Sources in the Cruz campaign told CNN the former candidate “expected people to not approve” and was “not surprised at the reaction.” But his wife required a security escort to leave the arena — which he may not have anticipated. His own state party chairs were disgusted with what they called “selfish” behavior and some denounced him to his face on the floor. A Fox News team doing the post-analysis pointed out that he seemed to be “running for the next campaign, maybe for 2018,” calling him the “eternal presidential candidate” with a chuckle.
The speech started out strong enough, talking about Republican values, support for freedom, law and order, good education and healthcare — the very things backed by GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. He even backed the now-infamous “wall” to block illegal migrants, and called on everyone to come out for the vote in November. He praised the “New York delegation.”
But Cruz appeared to take a left turn somewhere towards a description of his parents’ struggles, and the grieving daughter of one of the Dallas cops who was shot and killed by a U.S. Armed Forces veteran-turned-terrorist.
“We must make the most of our moments, to fight for freedom, to protect our God given rights, even if with those with whom we don’t agree, so that when we are old and gray, and when our work is done, and we give those we love one final kiss goodbye, we will be able to say freedom matters and I was part of something beautiful,” he said.
The crowd booed, as Cruz said his final lines and left the stage.
Apparently none of this was a surprise to the Trump campaign, whose people knew when Cruz took the stage on Night 3 of the Republican National Convention that he would not endorse their nominee. He had already told them, and in fact Trump’s people had seen the text of his speech, and vetted it.
(The text of the speech can be found in The Washington Post.)
But as everyone pointed out after the night was over, it was in the interests of the party and the two candidates to show unity and largeness of spirit in allowing all the former contenders a chance to speak. That included Cruz, and his sour grapes.
Hana Levi Julian