CLEVELAND — The political world was chattering away Thursday about Sen. Ted Cruz’s failure to endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump during his convention speech, but he said he had a good reason not to do so.
The Texas senator — who was Trump’s last remaining opponent in the Republican presidential race before dropping out weeks ago — said he cannot endorse someone who attacks those he loves.
“I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” he said at a breakfast for the Texas delegation. “And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.'”
Trump attacked Cruz’s family several times earlier this year, prompting the Texas senator to label Trump a “pathological liar.”
“This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies,” Cruz said at a March press conference. “He lies — practically every word that comes out of his mouth.”
Cruz said his speech was designed to lay out his thoughts on the party, not Trump.
“What I wanted to do [Wednesday] night was lay out the principles I believe we should stand for as Republicans,” he said.
He also said the Trump campaign had full knowledge of his speech, which did not include an endorsement.
“I assume there is a reason the Trump campaign wanted me to speak,” he said.
Cruz stuck to his non-endorsing guns during the breakfast and said that Republicans need to support members of their own party.
“Republicans ought to be picking the Republican nominee,” he said.
He also insisted his speech was not an attempt to revive his campaign.
“I am not encouraging anyone to write my name in,” he said.
Cruz said he would not be casting a ballot for presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but was still deciding if he would vote for Trump.
“This isn’t just a team sport … This is about principles and ideals and standing for what we believe in,” he said.
KTAR’s Jim Sharpe and Carter Nacke are in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention all week. Stay with us for ongoing coverage, both on-air and online.
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