U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz made a memorable speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, and it was mainly because of what he didn’t say, instead of what he actually said.
The Houston conservative who clashed with Donald Trump during the GOP primaries — and was often on the receiving end of Trump’s insults — didn’t endorse the Republican nominee in Cleveland. In fact, he barely mentioned him at all, and instead urged the crowd to “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, according to the Associated Press.
Near the end of his speech, delegates demanded that Cruz endorse Trump. When they didn’t get what they wanted, boos and anger filled the convention hall, and TV viewers could barely hear Cruz’s last words.
Reportedly, Cruz faced angry confrontations after leaving the stage, CNN’s Dana Bash reported. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, had to be escorted out for her protection, CNN and Mashable said on Thursday night.
His non-endorsement of Trump wasn’t the only controversial thing Cruz did. While urging the GOP to celebrate U.S. freedoms, he mentioned Alton Sterling, the black man killed by police in Baton Rouge, La., earlier this month, and whose family urged an end to violence against police and the community. The statement drew little applause at the convention.
Several Republicans, including Chris Christie, derided Cruz, calling him “selfish” and accusing him of breaking a promise to support the party’s nominee.
Trump entered the convention hall near the end of the speech. After the speech, Trump tweeted:
Cruz tweeted on Wednesday night: “To those listening, please don’t stay home in November. If you love our country, stand and speak and vote your conscience #RNCinCLE”
some gave Cruz a big pat on the back, and even Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival, weighed in:
Ted Cruz’s speech was a BIG bet that 1) Trump will lose and 2) Republicans will regret every nominating him.
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) July 21, 2016