Ted Cruz Defends His Refusal to Endorse Donald Trump

July 21st 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) doubled down on his decision to deny Donald Trump an endorsement during his speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, saying that Trump's past attacks on his father and wife prevented him from fully backing the party's presidential nominee.

Ted Cruz

"The day that was abrogated was the day this became personal," former presidential candidate Cruz said at a breakfast with members of the Texas delegation on Thursday. "I'm not going to get into criticizing or attacking Donald Trump, but I’ll just give you this response: I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father."

In the heat of the GOP primary campaign, Trump implied that Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and retweeted an unflattering photo of Cruz's wife alongside Melania Trump.

Cruz faced boos at the RNC in Cleveland Wednesday as he made his final remarks in a prime-time TV slot. Several high-profile Republicans have since condemned his non-endorsement speech, arguing that it undermined the party's efforts to unite behind nominee Trump going into the general election campaign.

But a defiant Cruz stood firm on Thursday, calling for Republicans to "stand for shared principles." To him, that meant refusing an endorsement on personal grounds.

It's possible that Cruz's decision was strategic, GQ's Jason Zengerle wrote.

"Cruz is positioning himself to benefit from what he — and many of his fellow Republicans — think will be a landslide GOP defeat this November. If Trump loses catastrophically, Cruz wants to be known as the Republican who did everything he could to prevent that catastrophe. Of course, this entails a huge risk. If Trump does lose, will Cruz — by withholding his endorsement and his assistance — be blamed by Trump supporters, and Trump agnostics, for contributing to his defeat?

Though he declined to endorse Trump, Cruz did congratulate the nominee and emphasized that he wouldn't be casting a vote for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. As to whether he'd be voting from Trump, the senator said simply, "I’m going to be listening to how he and the campaign conduct themselves every day from now until November."

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