Update 3: Chris Christie unloaded on Cruz… (as Politico reports)
Chris Christie did not mince words for Ted Cruz after the Texas senator refused to endorse Donald Trump on the prime-time convention stage Wednesday night.
“It was an awful, selfish speech by someone who tonight, through the words he said on that stage, showed everybody why he has richly earned the reputation that he has on Capitol Hill,” Christie said to reporters on the floor of the convention.
The New Jersey governor put a formal voice to the many delegates who greeted Cruz’s failure to endorse Trump in his 23-minute speech with widespread boos.
“If you love our country and love your children as much as I know that you do, stand and speak and vote your conscience,” Cruz said. “Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
Christie mocked that rhetorical flourish. “I don’t understand how someone can present themselves as a person of integrity and then come into this room tonight and give that cute speech,” he said. “And that was cute.”* * *
Update 2: Cruz’s actions appear to be backfiring…
Ted Cruz was turned away from entering Sheldon Adelson’s suite in the arena after the speech, @danabashCNN reports
— Steve Brusk (@stevebruskCNN) July 21, 2016
* * *
Update 1:RNC sources are reporting that Ted Cruz’ “speech was different than the version he gave RNC in advance.” Furthermore, officials and Cruz had to be physically separated after his speech.
* * *
As we detailed earlier, those who had predicted that the third day of the RNC would unveil with yet another scandal, they were right.
Moments ago, Donald Trump’s former rival, Ted Cruz was roundly booed after failing to endorse Trump during an address to the Republican National Convention, an obvious jab from the Texas lawmaker at the real estate mogul, who tormented him as “Lyin’ Ted” during the primary.
Instead of urging the crowd to vote for Tump, Cruz instead told delegates and voters to “vote your conscience” in November and never specifically said that people should cast their ballots for the Republican nominee. During the course of his speech, Cruz only mentioned Trump once, to congratulate him on getting the nomination.
“To those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. If you love our country, and 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,” Cruz said. As he continued speaking, and the crowd began to realize that an endorsement seemed less likely, the cheers that marked the early part of the speech became boos.
“I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation,” Cruz said to the vocal Trump home-state supporters who were placed right in front of the stage. They were yelling “We want Trump! We want Trump!”
One reason why Cruz’ speech was among the most anticipated, is due to the level of vitriol that enveloped the closing days of the GOP primary campaign. Trump labeled Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” falsely accused his father of being involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, and threatened to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, Heidi. In turn, Cruz called Trump a “sniveling coward,” a “pathological liar” and a “narcissist at a level that I don’t think this country has ever seen.”
Cruz’s wife, Heidi, was seen leaving the arena when the booing started getting very loud. Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told ABC News that he escorted Heidi Cruz out of the convention hall because “it was volatile and the Trump folks were physically approaching and confrontationally yelling,” he said via text.
According to CNN’s Manu Raju, as Heidi was being escorted out, one angry Trump supporter was shouting “Goldman Sachs” at her.
Angry Ken Cuccinelli escorting Heidi Cruz out as Trump supporters yell at her pic.twitter.com/G6USuhoSx2
— Graham Moomaw (@gmoomaw) July 21, 2016
HEIDI CRUZ escorted out by security as crowd gets angry at Cruz for his speech. One Trump supporter shouting “Goldman Sachs!” at her
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 21, 2016
After leaving the floor, Heidi Cruz also reportedly got into a verbal altercation with the head of the Washington delegation, who had berated Ted Cruz following his speech.
Or perhaps it was all intentional, and yet another dramatic sequence orchestrated to provide the next speaker, Trump’s son Eric, with a crowd that needed an outlet for affirmation.
According to Mashable, reports before Cruz spoke indicated that he did not plan to endorse Trump, although he did congratulate the nominee and admonished the crowd to vote for the candidate that will be “faithful to the constitution.” That wasn’t enough for the crowd, which loudly booed Cruz and chanted for Trump.
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) July 21, 2016
As ABC writes, the fact that Cruz spoke at all came as a surprise to some considering how bitter the primary campaign became towards the end. At one point, Trump insinuated that Cruz’s wife Heidi was less attractive than his own wife Melania, and later he made suggestions that Cruz’s Cuban father was somehow connected to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
He also questioned whether Cruz was eligible to run for the presidency because he was born in Canada.
Shortly after Cruz exited the stage to a growing round of boos, Trump entered the arena on the opposite side to sit with his family and watch his son Eric address the crowd.
* * *