Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump in daring and dramatic fashion on Wednesday, telling Republicans to “vote your conscience” in a 20-minute snub that played out in slow-motion on national television.
Cruz’s rejection exposed the raw rifts still festering inside the Republican Party, overshadowed the planned coming-out speech for Trump’s vice presidential pick, Mike Pence, and all-but-guaranteed that Republicans would depart Cleveland a party divided.
Boos rained down on Cruz and his wife had to be escorted from the hall amid verbal taunts in an unreal scene that marked an end to a surreal primary season.
“We deserve leaders who stand for principle, who unite us all behind shared values, who cast aside anger for love,” Cruz said. “That is the standard we should expect from everybody.”
It was a standard that Cruz determined Trump did not meet. “Don’t stay home in November,” Cruz told the audience. “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.”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2016