Republican runner-up Ted Cruz was heartily booed Wednesday at the Republican National Convention after he declined to endorse nominee Donald Trump.
“Please, don’t stay home in November,” he said. “If you love our country and if you love your children as much as I know you do, 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.”
Delegates chanted at him to endorse Trump, and the phrase “vote your conscience” appeared to infuriate the crowd. Anti-Trump forces had unsuccessfully sought to make rules changes that would have unbound delegates and allowed them to vote as they wish.
The lack of endorsement by Cruz, who mentioned Trump’s name only once, was not surprising.
During the GOP primary, Trump and Cruz initially got along, but as the race narrowed, they grew increasingly vicious toward one another. Trump dubbed Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” mocked his wife’s appearance and falsely insinuated that the senator’s father was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy.
By the end of the primary, Cruz was calling Trump “utterly amoral,” a “pathological liar,” “a serial philanderer” and a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen.”
Cruz and Trump have spoken repeatedly over recent days, and earlier in the day, Cruz advisor Jeff Roe said the Trump campaign would be vetting the speech and that he expected them to pleased.
Initially, Cruz received among the warmest responses of the night. He said Trump’s name only once, when he congratulated him on winning the nomination the previous night. By the time the speech ended, many in the crowd had turned their back on Cruz to watch Trump enter the stadium.