Addressing a convention he thought should be celebrating his own presidential nomination, Ted Cruz gave a fairly somber speech on Wednesday night — one that split an already divided convention along ideological and primary voting lines.
He began by acknowledging Donald Trump’s victory, but didn’t mention him for the rest of the address.
“I want to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night. And like each of you, I want to see the principles that our party believes prevail in November.”
Notably, Cruz did not endorse Trump. He told voters that they should “vote their conscience” in November, a noticeable break from the many who have stressed that electing Trump is critical. That line was met with a few boos mixed in with the cheers, and elicited chants of “Donald Trump.” Throughout the rest of Cruz’s speech, some delegates yelled at Cruz to “go home.”
Toward the end of his remarks, many delegates were booing Cruz off the stage.
For much of the speech, though, Cruz was more staid than most of the convention’s speakers have been so far this week. He told a story about one of the police officers killed in Dallas earlier this month. “He protected the very protesters who mocked him, because he loved his country and his fellow man,” Cruz said.
Cruz did say that America should build a wall along the Mexican border, one of Trump’s cornerstone positions. He also said that trade policies should “put America First,” also one of Trump’s favorite lines. While there was no endorsement, this could be seen as Cruz as least signaling that he agrees with some of Trump’s positions.
It is widely speculated that Cruz will run for president again in 2020 — perhaps even challenging Donald Trump in a primary contest if he were to win in November. If that is the plan, Wednesday evening’s speech may very well serve as a foundation.