Republicans from all corners of the party scorned Ted Cruz Wednesday night after the Texas senator delivered a speech before the Republican National Convention that not only failed to endorse nominee Donald Trump, but encouraged audience members to not do so if it would violate their “conscience.”
“Cruz condemned to Republican hell,” conservative-news mogul Matt Drudge tweeted, before placing a “HELL’S A-BURNIN'” banner on his popular website.
“I think it was awful,” echoed New Jersey governor and Trump-supporter Chris Christie after Cruz’s speech. “And quite frankly, I think it was selfish.”
“For the life of me, I don’t know why he is doing this,” Fox News Channel and conservative talk-radio host Sean Hannity said. “I think there is going to be long-term damage for the party and for him.”
“Trump trusted Ted and was rewarded with a betrayal,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee wrote on Facebook.
Before his speech, some Republicans held out hope that Cruz would succumb to the pressure and endorse Trump. But, when it became clear that he would decline to express support for the GOP nominee, audience members rebelled, loudly booing the once-beloved conservative star until he exited the stage.
“The best unity I saw was everyone booing him off the stage,” Donald Trump Jr. said of the moment during an appearance on Fox News.
And Republicans were apparently not shy about expressing their frustration to Cruz’s face.
CNN reported that some donors were so furious at Cruz they called him a “disgrace” as he tried to enter a suite following his speech. An unnamed state party chair was so angry with the Texas senator that he had to be restrained, the news outlet reported.
Sheldon Adelson, a major Republican Party donor, even denied Cruz entry to his personal suite after his speech, according to CNN and BuzzFeed.
Cruz’s wife, Heidi, also came under verbal assault on the convention floor, with delegates heckling her. She had to be escorted outside by security, according to reports.
Trump, for his part, said Cruz’s speech did not bother him.
“Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honour the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway,” he tweeted. “No big deal!”
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