By Bonnie K. Goodman
Texas Senator and former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has relented and decided to endorse his primary nemesis GOP nominee Donald Trump for president. Cruz made the announcement in a Facebook post on Friday afternoon, Sept. 23, 2016. Cruz endorsed Trump after a long and bitter primary battle where mud slug between the two candidates. Cruz spoke at the Republican National Convention in July but refused to support the nominee. The Texas Senator later seem to vow never to support Trump. The reversal appears to be not just for the party but his presidential aspirations.
Cruz wrote in his endorsement statement, “Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her way.” Continuing he said, “A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment. And if you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him.”
Cruz referenced the speech he delivered at the GOP convention, where he passed Trump over for an endorsement. Cruz wrote, “In Cleveland, I urged voters, ‘please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.'” Continuing, Cruz explained why he changed his mind, “After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.”
There was bad blood between the two candidates during the primary; Trump is known for hurling nasty insults nicknamed Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” and kept insisting he should not be allowed to run because he was born in Canada. Trump even claimed that Cruz’s father could have been involved John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and ridiculed Cruz’s wife, Heidi’s appearance in on Twitter comparing her to his wife, Melania. In response Cruz, called Trump “a sniveling coward,” “serial philanderer,” “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen,” and also “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar.”
To get back at Trump, Cruz told Republicans to “Don’t stay home in November. Stand and speak and vote your conscience” rather than support the nominee. Cruz faced a backlash for his delivering a prime-time speech at the convention but not advocating voting for the nominee. Cruz defiantly explained his rationale, telling the press, “Neither he nor his campaign has taken back a word of what they said about my family.” Continuing Cruz spoke to the Texas delegation, “I’m not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi that I’m going to nonetheless come as a servile puppy dog and say, ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.'”
Cruz, however, is up for Senate reelection in 2018 and wants to run for the Republican nomination again in 2020 if Trump does not win. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus issued a warning on Sunday, Sept. 18, to the three remaining candidates who did not endorse Trump that there would be consequences if they ever want to run again if they do not decide to endorse the nominee. All candidates took a pledge at the start of the invisible campaign to support and endorse the eventual nominee, after Cruz only Jeb Bush and John Kasich have not endorse Trump and promising not to do so.
Cruz is citing some of Trump’s recent policy positions as the primary reason he decided to endorse the GOP nominee now. Trump released a list of his potential nominees to the Supreme Court to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat, which included Cruz’s friend Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Cruz approved, writing, “We know, without a doubt, that every Clinton appointee would be a left-wing ideologue. Trump, in contrast, has promised to appoint justices ‘in the mold of Scalia.'”
Trump has also endeared himself to Cruz by supporting his fight against President Barack Obama’s plan to have the Department of Commerce relinquish its control of the internet, Republicans including Cruz fear it could give power of the internet to the nation’s enemies. Cruz also cited Trump’s positions deregulating the energy industry, and position on immigration and vetting refugees. Trump’s Vice Presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, worked to secured the endorsement, through multiple communications and a meeting during a recent trip to Congress.
The GOP nominee seems to have no hard feeling; he accepted Cruz’s endorsement, despite previous comments that he would refuse it. In July after the GOP convention, Trump said, “I don’t want his endorsement. If he gives it, I will not accept it. He’ll come and endorse in the next little while because he has no choice. … I don’t want his endorsement. Ted, stay home, relax, enjoy yourself.” Now, the GOP nominee welcomed Cruz’s endorsement replying in a statement, “I am greatly honored by the endorsement of Senator Cruz. We have fought the battle and he was a tough and brilliant opponent. I look forward to working with him for many years to come in order to make America great again.”
Even Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was ecstatic, writing on Twitter, “Hell froze over today, and it is feels like heaven. #thankyou #NeverHillary.” Cruz’s endorsement helps Trump with conservative voters giving his campaign the appearance of a united front with Republicans and blocking one of Clinton’s favorite attack lines.