US Election 2016

US election: Ted Cruz fights back for not endorsing Trump

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Media captionThe moment the crowd turned on Ted Cruz

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has defended his failure to endorse Donald Trump as the US Republican nominee during his speech to the party convention in Cleveland.

Mr Cruz said he would not be a "servile puppy" to someone who had attacked his wife and father.

Mr Trump had implied Mr Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of John F Kennedy, and criticised the appearance of his wife Heidi.

Mr Cruz was booed amid angry chants of "We want Trump!" and "Endorse Trump!"

He only went as far as congratulating Donald Trump - his bitter rival in the primary contests.

But he also exhorted people to vote in the November election "for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution."

"I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," Mr Cruz told a Texas delegation meeting the day after his speech.

In the primaries, Republican candidates had pledged to back the eventual nominee.

"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'," Mr Cruz said.

Days ago, he said, he told Mr Trump he was not planning to endorse him - and would have flown home without making the speech if the Trump campaign wanted.

Mr Cruz did say he would not vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, however.


Cruz takes a risk: Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Cleveland

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Image caption Mr Cruz may have been looking to 2020 with his convention speech

A former colleague of Ted Cruz's once told me that the one unforgivable sin in the Texas senator's mind is to insult or demean Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz's father. Donald Trump did that toward the end of the presidential primary campaign, questioning whether the elder Cruz had ties to John Kennedy's assassination. And on Wednesday night, before a national audience on the Republican Party's biggest stage, the Texas senator got his revenge.

As Mr Cruz left the stage after his non-endorsement speech, showered in boos, he gave a brief thumbs-up, apparently satisfied that the deed was done. And what he did was turn the Republican convention on its head once again. Now, everyone will be talking about his speech - overshadowing what should have been vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence's coming-out party.

Mr Pence is the stable, trusted conservative politician who was supposed to rally unsure Republicans behind their new standard-bearer. Instead, Mr Cruz revealed a party still sharply divided. While those inside the arena seemed united in booing the senator, some conservatives outside the Trump-friendly confines praised his actions.

Politically, Mr Cruz has made a risky move, however. He has staked his future presidential hopes on the chance that Republicans will view him as a principled conservative and not a right-wing Judas. Given that Donald Trump received more than 12 million votes in 2016, that is a lot of support that he may have just permanently angered. But an insult was answered. "Lyin' Ted" had his moment of vengeance.


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Image caption How the Trump family reacted to Mr Cruz's speech

Mr Trump later said he knew Mr Cruz would not endorse him but had let him speak anyway.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said his actions were "awful" and New York Congressman Peter King called the speech "disgraceful".

Mr Cruz finished second to Mr Trump in the delegate count during the campaign.


Republican war of words

Trump on Cruz

  • "I get along with everybody. You get along with nobody" - speaking in CNN debate 25 February
  • "Lyin' Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a GQ shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin' Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!" - tweet sent 23 March
  • "I mean, what was he doing - what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?" - comment on Ted Cruz's father Rafael and the Kennedy assassination, 3 May

Cruz on Trump

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Media captionTed Cruz: Donald Trump is a pathological liar
  • "The next Republican nominee needs to be able to make that case against Hillary [Clinton]. If Donald tried to do it, Hillary would turn to Donald and say, But gosh, Donald, you gave $100,000 to the Clinton foundation and I went to your wedding" - speaking in CNN debate 25 February
  • "This man is a pathological liar. He doesn't know the difference between truth and lies. He lies - practically every word that comes out of his mouth" - speaking 3 May

The Republican convention - all you need to know

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Media captionWhat's the point of a party convention anyway?

1. What is the point? At a convention, each party formally nominates its candidates for president and vice-president, and the party unveils its party platform, or manifesto.

2. Who is going? There are 2,472 delegates attending, selected at state and congressional district conventions, and representing each US state and territory. Plus 15,000 journalists and thousands of other party grandees, lawmakers and guests.

3. Who is not going? Some senior figures who dislike Donald Trump have stayed away, including two ex-presidents named Bush, former nominee Mitt Romney and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

4. What is the schedule?

  • Thursday - Donald Trump, introduced by daughter Ivanka

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