Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) big presidential campaign announcement on Monday had an unintended effect on Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe'(D).
McAuliffe had also been scheduled to speak at Liberty University on Monday, but the Christian school decided to let Cruz speak at the same time. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. told students before Cruz’s speech that he offered to let McAuliffe share the stage with Cruz but the governor declined.
“I was thrilled and honored than Sen. Cruz held Liberty in such high esteem. We immediately called the office of the governor of Virginia, who had been scheduled to speak, and informed them that Sen. Cruz would be sharing the stage with the governor this morning,” Falwell, the son of the late conservative pastor Jerry Falwell, said. “The governor’s office graciously explained that Gov. McCauliffe had an important message that he wanted to deliver to you, the students of Liberty University, and that he preferred to do it on another day without these distractions.”
In a statement to Business Insider, however, McAuliffe’s office told the story a bit differently. McAuliffe’s communication’s director, Brian Coy, said Liberty University representatives initially cited the weather — not Cruz — when they asked if the governor could speak another day.
“Governor McAuliffe accepted an invitation to speak and was looking forward to it, but the school asked to reschedule — their original statement was that their request was due to scheduling complications because of the weather,” Coy said. “We pushed back and asked if there was a way to keep the date as it was very short notice and we’d built a whole day in the region. We subsequently heard that their request was actually due to a presidential candidate who wanted to speak in the region.”
Coy said McAuliffe was “disappointed” with the decision.
“The governor was excited to do it and disappointed that Liberty changed the plan so close to the day we’d agree to speak,” he added.
For his part, Falwell said the university doesn’t endorse candidates, but he nevertheless heaped praise upon Cruz for honouring Liberty University with his “historic” announcement.
“We are looking forward to the governor’s visit and are working to reschedule it as soon as possible,” Falwell said.
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