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Ted Cruz sure knows how to give a speech. What he doesn’t know, apparently is how to keep his word or be gracious in defeat.
In a stunning refusal to endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump, a man he was friendly to and even occasionally stumped with for the first several months of this campaign, Cruz instead encouraged freedom loving Americans to “stand and speak and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you feel will be faithful to the Constitution.”
And the crowd booed!
Cruz mentioned Trump’s name only once, at the very beginning of his speech:
“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.”
The Twitter reaction was, of course, scathing. Trump himself may have helped Cruz dig his own grave:
I'm surprised Ted Cruz didn't douse himself in gasoline and strike a match.
— Linda Suhler, PhD (@LindaSuhler) July 21, 2016
I'm sorry. Mr Cruz I have supported you and backed you to the end. Your speech tonight was a great disappointment to me. Bad Form Sir.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) July 21, 2016
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) July 21, 2016
A good start, and an even better middle. In a speech centered on the principle of freedom, Cruz insisted “freedom matters.”
“We have no king or queen,” Cruz said. “We have no dictator. We the people constrain government … Our nation is exceptional because it was built on the five most powerful words in the English language – I want to be free. Never has that message been more needed today.”
Which of course begs the question of how Senator Cruz intends to maintain our freedom if Hillary Clinton is allowed to choose the next 3-4 Supreme Court justices.
In a curious case of pot / kettle syndrome, Cruz was critical of the “partisan rancor, anger, even hatred [that] are tearing our nation apart” and an establishment that “breaks its promises and ignores the will of the people.”
The truly sad thing is, Senator Cruz and Donald Trump do have a lot of key things in common, many of which Cruz eloquently laid out in his speech. His criticism of the Democrats was sharp and pointed when laying out the “profound differences” in both parties on ISIS, Benghazi, Iran, the border, and immigration. “My friends, this is madness. President Obama is doing everything backwards. He wants to close Guantanamo and open our borders. Exports jobs and import terrorists. Enough is enough!”
In an eloquent tribute to freedom, Cruz said, “There is a better vision for our future – a return to freedom. Freedom means free speech, not politically correct safe spaces. Freedom means religious freedom, whether you are Christina, Jew, Muslim, or atheist. Whether you are gay or straight, the bill of rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience. Freedom means the right to keep and bear arms and to protect your family. Freedom means that every human life is precious and must be protected. Freedom means Supreme Court justices who don’t dictate policy but instead follow the Constitution. And freedom means recognizing that our Constitution allows states to choose policies that reflect local values. Colorado might decide something different than Texas. New York different than Iowa. That’s the way it’s supposed to be – diversity. If not, what’s the point of having states to begin with?”
The Senator perhaps got his biggest applause when aligned with Trump on two key issues, saying, “We deserve an immigration system that puts America first and yes, builds a wall to keep America safe – a government that stops admitting ISIS terrorists as refugees – We deserve trade policies that put the interests of American farmers and manufacturing jobs over the interests of globalists and lobbyists.”
Then, after a tribute to the freedom-loving history of the Republican party from Lincoln on, Cruz looked directly at the camera and proceeded to ruin everything he’s built to this point by stabbing every freedom-loving American in the kidneys.
“To those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. [cheers] If you love our country, and love your children as much as I know that you do, stand and speak and vote for your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you feel will be faithful to the Constitution.”
Cruz managed to finish his speech between boos and the raucous crowd’s chants of “endorse Trump,” to which he snidely responded, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.”
Fox News’ Chris Wallace’s reaction after hit the nail right on the head. “Cruz will pay a price,” Wallace said. “He looks like a sore loser.”
Cruz’s full speech is below; he goes rogue at about the 19:10 mark.
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