Newt Gingrich took it upon himself Wednesday night to do what Ted Cruz didn’t do … that is, the former speaker endorsed Donald Trump on Cruz’s behalf.
Following Cruz at the 2016 Republican National Convention, Gingrich went off script in an effort to tamp down the animosity stirred in the crowd following the Texas senator’s remarks, in which Cruz endorsed “freedom” rather than the GOP presidential nominee and urged onlookers to “vote your conscience.”
“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.
The Trump brigade took it as a slight against their candidate and proceeded to boo Cruz off the stage.
And that’s where Gingrich, an avid Trump supporter, comes in, explaining that the crowd had “misunderstood” the point of the speech, according to Fox News.
“Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution,” he told delegates. “In this election there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution.”
Minimizing any potential fall-out over Cruz’s actions, which some RNC officials reportedly called “classless,” Gingrich shifted the focus back to Trump.
“So to paraphrase Ted Cruz, the only way to protect that is to vote for the Trump/Pence ticket,” he added.
A source close to Cruz’s inner circle told Fox News the end of the speech “was tough, but sometimes standing for principle means getting booed.”
“It’s not classless to compliment Trump for winning,” the source said. “It’s not classless to highlight areas of policy where they can work together like border security, trade or fighting ISIS. It’s not classless to call on all his supporters to not stay home, but turn out.”
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