Have we shaken off the shock of Ted Cruz’s endorsement of Donald Trump, yet?
If not, I’d give this small consolation: Cruz will likely be asking himself “What have I done?” for a lot longer.
In an interview with the Texas Tribune on Saturday, Cruz refused to say Trump was fit to be president.
In an interview with the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith, Cruz said he endorsed Trump because the November election is a binary choice between Hillary Clinton and Trump. The junior senator from Texas and unsuccessful presidential candidate said he is voting Trump because he worries Clinton would appoint liberal justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and do damage to the country.
Smith asked: “Do you consider Donald Trump to be fit to be president?”
Cruz paused, then answered: “I think we have one of two choices.”
That’s not exactly an answer to the question, is it?
Are we feeling confident and comforted, yet?
Cruz was in Austin, at the Texas Tribune festival on Saturday. The reception from the crowd was mixed, with some cheering him and others not so much.
If you’ve spent any time on social media over the last couple of days, you know what a mixed bag of emotions there are out there over this surprise endorsement.
My favorites are those who try to rationalize the situation by hyper-analyzing every line of Cruz’s statement, in order to point out how it wasn’t an endorsement. He was simply supporting the candidate.
These are the people with full-page layouts, with every pertinent word from Cruz’s statement broken down to the original Latin roots of the word, combined with subtexts and Venn diagrams to explain Friday’s non-endorsement.
It was an endorsement.
And he still can’t say the GOP nominee is fit or qualified, and he’s right, because he’s not.
Smith listed several of the things Cruz has said about Trump in the past, including calling the New York businessman “utterly immoral,” “a sniveling coward,” “a pathological liar” and “a serial philanderer.”
Did he mean those things?
“I have had many, many disagreements with Donald Trump, some of which you have cataloged,” Cruz said. “And I have not been at all reluctant to articulate exactly why I believe that I should be the nominee instead of him.”
He later added, “We are in a general election now. I don’t think it is productive for me to criticize the Republican nominee today.”
I’ll give Cruz big props for not pretending that Trump had suddenly become a decent or principled person, because he hasn’t. He’s the same gilded toad that played to the dulled down intellect of the nation’s politically active Idiocracy during the primaries.
Cruz is like so many of us: He feels stuck.
The only difference is, those of us who refuse to bend our principles and support Trump with our votes will (presumably) still be able to vote in the next election. If Cruz wants to remain in politics as a profession, he has to play the game and sometimes back others that he can’t bring himself to call “fit” or “qualified.”
What a horrible, bitter, difficult position he and so many others have been forced into.