Sen. Ted Cruz, the man who came closest to beating Donald Trump out for the GOP nomination, surprised many when he agreed to speak at tonight’s Republican National Convention, after a brutal primary.
And tonight, Cruz delivered a rousing, moving speech that had many in the audience in tears, as he recounted the tale of the nine-year-old daughter of a slain Dallas police officer — and reviewed what’s at stake in the November election for our republic.
So, why then, did Cruz get booed off the stage tonight?
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave a stirring address to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, but failed to endorse Donald Trump, telling Americans to “vote your conscience.”
Cruz congratulated Donald Trump on winning the party’s nomination, but stopped short of endorsing Trump outright, saying merely that he wanted to see the party’s principles prevailing in November.
He urged voters: “Please: don’t stay home in November.” But then he added: “If you love our country, and love your children as much as I know that you do, vote your conscience.”
“I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation,” he said, as he was booed.
Prior to that, Cruz had focused on the conservative principles at the core of the party.
He began with a lighthearted metaphor as he spoke in the Quicken Loans Arena, reflecting on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent historic victory in the NBA Finals. “LeBron James just led an incredible comeback victory, and I am convinced America is going to come back, too.”
Cruz went on to describe one of the fallen Dallas police officers, Michael Smith, who was killed by a sniper at a Black Lives Matter protest less than two weeks ago. “I have no idea who he voted for in the last election, or what he thought about this one, but his life was a testament to devotion.”
“He protected the very protesters who mocked him because he loved his country and his fellow man.”
Cruz went to to describe the stakes in the upcoming election — namely, that each person could tell their children “that we did our best for our country.”
And the country’s bedrock principle, Cruz said, was simple: “Freedom matters.”
He then drew a clear distinction between the parties: “Of course, Obama and Clinton will also tell you that they care about our country’s future. And I want to believe them. But there is a profound difference in our two visions of our country’s future.”
On terror and trade, on education and employment, on immigration and the Internet, Cruz spelled out stark disagreements between Democrats and Republicans — focusing, interestingly, on Obama and not his would-be successor.
“Freedom means free speech, and not politically correct safe spaces,” Cruz added, nothing that the Bill of Rights applied equally to all, including “gay or straight.”
On abortion, Cruz said: “Freedom means that human life is precious and must be protected.” And he reminded the gathering: “Our party was founded to defeat slavery … Together, we passed the Civil Rights Act, and together we fought to eliminate Jim Crow laws. That’s our collective legacy — although the media will never share it with you.”
And then, Cruz delivered those fateful words: “Vote your conscience.”
The boos and interruptions never ceased after that, with chants of “We want Trump!”
He concluded with a call to unity: “The case we have to make to the American people … is to commit to each of them that we will defend freedom and be faithful to the Constitution.”
You can watch yourself, in case you missed it:
While I understand that many view a formal endorsement as the critical piece that Cruz failed to deliver tonight, I (Michelle Jesse) choose to focus on this message he did deliver — and hope it’s not lost in the outrage over a formal endorsement:
To those listening, please don’t stay home in November. If you love our country, stand and speak and vote your conscience #RNCinCLE
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 21, 2016
Barack Obama is president today because millions of Republicans stayed home last election. We can’t afford to let Hillary Clinton take the White House this election because some of us stayed home.
Hard to imagine how anyone who believes in freedom could vote for Hillary Clinton when voting their conscience. And that means, whether or not he was your first choice, a vote for GOP nominee Donald Trump.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]