Today Ted Cruz said he is not a ‘‘servile puppy dog,” explaining why he refused to endorse Donald Trump during his GOP convention speech Wednesday night.
Though he said he would not be criticizing or attacking Trump, Cruz said, ‘‘I’ll give you this response: I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,’’ despite his vow during debates to support the party’s nominee.
‘‘And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father,’’ he added.
Trump made snide comments about Cruz’s wife’s appearance and suggested Cruz’s father had indirect ties to John F. Kennedy’s assassin. Cruz called Trump a ‘‘sniveling coward.’’
In other words, it’s personal.
Cruz did open his remarks by congratulating Trump on winning the nomination, but that was the last reference to Trump, adding after the applause, “And, like each of you, I want to see the principles that our party believes prevail in November.”
Toward the end of his speech Wednesday he said, “If you love our country, and love our children as much as 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.”
This was interrupted by chants of “endorse Trump,” to which Cruz replied, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.”
Trump, appeared in the convention hall toward the end of Cruz’s speech, causing the cameras to focus on him instead of Cruz, later posted to Twitter: “Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!”
Hillary Clinton tweeted, ‘‘Vote your conscience.’’
Libertarians also jumped on the Cruz lack of endorsement for Trump, asking in a headline online, “Did Ted Cruz just endorse Gary Johnson?”
Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, said, “I don’t agree with Senator Cruz on every issue, but this election is a job interview for the most important job in the country. His call to not stay home in November, to vote your conscience, to vote for the candidate who will defend the Constitution, is one that people should heed. If Americans look past names and party labels, the most honest, trustworthy, and qualified candidate is very clearly Gary Johnson. Maybe that’s why the delegates at his convention savagely booed his call to ‘vote your conscience.'”
Vice presidential pick Mike Pence’s was largely ignored by the press, which focused on the Cruz slight.