Cleveland – Underscoring the deep divisions that remain within the Republican Party, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas finished his speech to loud boos on Wednesday night after failing to endorse the party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Anti-Trump Republican delegate Ken Cuccinelli told Reuters he escorted Cruz’s wife Heidi off the convention floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland out of concern for her safety.
Cruz, who came in a distant second behind Trump in the race for the nomination, stopped short of endorsing Trump after a bitter and personal campaign and mentioned him only once, drawing boos and repeated chants of “We want Trump.”
“I want to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night,” Cruz began.
Later in his speech, he urged: “Please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
Trump made his entrance to the convention hall near the end of the speech, applauding Cruz’s remarks but distracting the crowd from his former rival.
During the campaign for the party’s nomination, Trump insulted Cruz’s wife’s looks and suggested the Texan’s father was with John F. Kennedy’s assassin just before the president was shot in Dallas in 1963.
During the primary campaign, Cruz called the New York real estate developer a “serial philanderer” and a “narcissist.”
Another Trump rival vanquished in the race for the party nomination, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, spoke by video and praised Trump for his commitments to safeguarding national security, lowering taxes and appointing conservative Supreme Court justices.
“The time for fighting each other is over. It’s time to fight for a new direction for America. It’s time to win in November,” Rubio said.