As I stated last night after Ted Cruz delivered his approved prepared remarks at the Republican National Convention, this game where Cruz attempts to not endorse Donald Trump while making the case for the GOP and its nominee has grown tiresome and is only hurting Ted Cruz. Quite frankly, Donald Trump will get up on stage tonight and accept the nomination. Nothing said by Cruz or anyone else will stop that at this point.
This morning Ted Cruz spoke to the Texas delegation and expanded on his comments about voting one’s conscience. Once again we were treated to the choose your own adventure hedging that I have personally found so off putting from Cruz, who I find to be one of the most principled men in politics.
Via The Weekly Standard:
When the floor opened up for questions, a man immediately shouted without being called on: “Are you voting for Donald Trump!?”
“I am doing what millions of Americans are doing. I am watching and I am listening. And as I told you last night, the standard that I intend to apply is which candidate I trust to defend our freedom and be faithful to the Constitution,” Cruz replied. “I can tell you, I’m not voting for Hillary.”
I have no problem with what Cruz says here, he clearly states what his standard is and explicitly notes that Hillary Clinton simply doesn’t meet that standard. This is a principled position I can respect.
Unfortunately Cruz kept explaining …
“I actually thought later last night that Newt had it exactly right,” Cruz said Thursday, referring to Newt Gingrich’s explanation of Cruz’s remarks. “Newt stood up and said, You know what? The standard Ted laid out—who will defend freedom, who will be faithful to the Constitution—Newt said Donald Trump is the only candidate that meets that standard. I’ll tell you this: If we want to win this election, that’s the only way we’re winning this election. We’re going to win this election by making the case to the American people. We’re not going to win this election by yelling and screaming.”
So Ted Cruz agrees with Newt Gingrich that only Donald J. Trump meets the standard Ted Cruz set? That is closer to an explicit endorsement than Cruz has ever come before.
Granted, he then followed it up with this …
“What does it say when you stand up and say, ‘Vote your conscience,’ and rabid supporters of our nominee begin screaming, ‘What a horrible thing to say!?’ If we can’t make the case to the American people that voting for our party’s nominee is consistent with voting your conscience, is consistent with defending freedom and being faithful to the constitution, then we are not going to win, and we don’t deserve to win,” Cruz said.
… But if you are being honest with yourself, what he is saying here is not that he thinks Trump is inconsistent with his standard for support, but that the Trump supporting delegates themselves are the ones refusing to accept his implicit endorsement of Trump as the “only candidate that meets that standard” as Newt said.
Ted Cruz needs to stop giving choose your own adventure speeches, ditch the ambiguity, be the leader he claims he is, and take a stand. The fact is, his failure to take a stand during the convention fights is a large reason why the convention fights were lost. To paraphrase Brita Horn, a Colorado Delegate for Ted Cruz who now accepts Trump as the nominee, Cruz was the General, he left the field of battle.