Recently, Donald Trump suggested that Ted Cruz’s wife was ugly and hiding terrible secrets, while the senator’s father was a likely co-conspirator in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In a typical election year, a politician subjected to such bizarre and personal attacks would have no need to explain his reluctance to endorse the man who launched them. But 2016 has been anything but typical. This year, it is incumbent on every loyal Republican to embrace some amount of selective amnesia. Like the children of a negligent father trying to keep up appearances at Thanksgiving dinner, the GOP must maintain a conspiracy of silence about the ugliest moments of the past several months. But on Thursday morning, Cruz pushed his chair back from the table and said he’d have no part in this family’s cruel charade.
At a meeting of the Texas delegation, Cruz was confronted by a supporter who was outraged over the senator’s conspicuous non-endorsement of Trump Wednesday night.
“You signed a pledge that you would support the nominee,” the delegate said. “I supported you and I expected you to keep your word.”
Asked if he intended to vote for Trump, Cruz said, “I am doing what millions of Americans are doing. I’m watching, I’m listening. As I told you last night the standard I intend to apply is, which candidate I trust to defend our freedom, be faithful to the Constitution.”
Cruz did say he was certain he would not be voting for Hillary Clinton. But he also said Republicans should avoid running on a purely negative message.
“If we go to November and the dominant word voters hear is Trump,” he said. “Or … if it’s Hillary or [her] email server, we’re going to lose. You want to know how we win? We win if the dominant message voters hear is freedom.”