What are you up to, Senator Cruz?
We know Senator Ted Cruz will be speaking at the upcoming GOP convention, though he has given no indication that he will be openly endorsing the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. According to sources close to the senator, he will be traveling to Cleveland ahead of the convention on Friday to speak in a closed-door meeting with conservative leaders.
Cruz will speak to a gathering of the Council for National Policy, a secretive group of conservative activists, many of whom backed the Texas senator in his failed presidential bid earlier this year.
The Council for National Policy is a nonprofit but some of its members, including CNP President Tony Perkins, who also serves as head of the Family Research Council, are part of a subgroup that had voted to endorse Cruz in hopes of uniting the conservative movement behind a single candidate in 2016, rather than splintering as it had in 2008 and 2012.
Republicans instead nominated Donald Trump, who performed well among evangelical voters but has struggled to sell himself to evangelical leaders, citing “Two Corinthians” in one speech and saying he hopes not to have to ask God “for much forgiveness.”
Some feel this is Cruz’s way of keeping lines open between himself and those conservative and evangelical leaders who could be of a benefit to him, should he make another run for the presidency in 2020.
Trump, himself, hasn’t fully earned the confidence and favor of those leaders.
Trump has had a rocky relationship with evangelical leaders. In late June, as part of his outreach efforts, Trump held a meeting with 1,000 evangelical leaders in New York, some of whom are likely to attend the Council for National Policy meeting, as well. But after the meeting, eight of the religious leaders held a press conference but none of them said they were ready to fully endorse Trump.
Trump hurt himself when he failed to give an adequate response to the Supreme Court’s abortion decision, and then named Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a pro-choice Democrat, as a possible VP pick.
Cruz will arrive in Cleveland as the RNC’s Rules Committee is scheduled to meet. That is where anti-Trump delegates are hoping to make a last stand to change to party rules to allow delegates to vote against Trump. Frazier said Cruz planned only to appear at CNP, not at the RNC meetings.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Republican officials have been meeting in Cleveland to write out the official party platform, including strict provisions against same-sex marriage and abortion.
While Cruz may not be the nominee this year, he’s doing the smart thing by keeping those doors open with leaders in a position to promote him positively in 4 years.