Ted Cruz passes on en­dors­ing Trump

Speech writer tries to re­sign


CLEVELAND — Boos filled the con­ven­tion hall in Cleveland as one-time pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ted Cruz fin­ished his prime-time speech to Repub­li­can ac­tivists.

The jeers rained down af­ter the Texas se­na­tor re­fused to en­dorse Trump — now the of­fi­cial GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee — in his ad­dress Wed­nes­day night.

Cruz fin­ished sec­ond to Trump in the del­e­gate count and the two were bit­ter ri­vals dur­ing the pri­mary cam­paign.

Cruz told sup­port­ers to vote their con­science — and not to stay home for the gen­eral elec­tion in Novem­ber.

The boos stopped once Trump en­tered the con­ven­tion hall.

To chants of “2020, 2020,” Cruz ear­lier in the day left open the pos­si­bil­ity of a sec­ond White House run even as Don­ald Trump ar­rived in Cleveland to ac­cept the GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

“I don’t know what the fu­ture is go­ing to hold. I don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen,” Cruz told his rowdy sup­port­ers, many of them cheer­ing an­other bid. “But what I do know what re­mains un­shak­able is my faith in the men and women here.”

The fresh­man law­maker has Tex­as­size po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions. Trump, his bit­ter pri­mary ri­val, of­ten mocked him as “Lyin’ Ted.” With an eye to­ward 2020, Cruz’s team drafted a con­ven­tion speech fo­cus­ing on ad­her­ence to the Con­sti­tu­tion, a call­ing card for con­ser­va­tives and a per­ceived con­trast with Trump.

Mean­while, with Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign reel­ing from charges of pla­gia­rism, a speech writer for his com­pany took the blame and of­fered to re­sign

over nearly iden­ti­cal pas­sages from Me­la­nia Trump’s Repub­li­can con­ven­tion speech and Michelle Obama’s re­marks eight years ago.

The speech writer, how­ever, made it clear that Me­la­nia Trump knew that the pas­sages she read to an en­thralled con­ven­tion Mon­day night had come from Michelle Obama.

“A per­son she has al­ways liked is Michelle Obama,” the speech writer, Mered­ith McIver, said of Mrs. Trump in a state­ment Wed­nes­day from the cam­paign. “Over the phone, she read me some pas­sages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as ex­am­ples. I wrote them down and later in­cluded some of the phras­ing in the draft that ul­ti­mately be­came the fi­nal speech.”

Don­ald Trump re­jected McIver’s res­ig­na­tion. “She’s a ter­rific per­son,” he told ABC News. “She just made a mis­take.”

The con­tro­versy hung over the open­ing days of the GOP con­ven­tion, over­shad­ow­ing Mrs. Trump’s per­for­mance, which was warmly re­ceived by those in the con­ven­tion hall.

Iowa del­e­gate Ce­cil Stinemetz called Trump “the worst nom­i­nee that we have put for­ward for the Repub­li­can Party in the his­tory of the Repub­li­can Party” and said he didn’t plan to re­turn to the con­ven­tion floor the rest of the week.

Cruz, a for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, had been sim­i­larly tough on Trump dur­ing the wan­ing weeks of their pri­mary bat­tle, call­ing the busi­ness­man a “patho­log­i­cal liar” and “ut­terly amoral.” Tak­ing the stage shortly af­ter Cruz, for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich tried to ex­plain away the se­na­tor’s lack of sup­port for the nom­i­nee.

“Ted Cruz said you can vote your con­science for any­one who will uphold the Con­sti­tu­tion,” he said. “In this elec­tion there is only one can­di­date who will uphold the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Speak­ers at the con­ven­tion have painted an apoc­a­lyp­tic vi­sion of Amer­ica if Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton wins and have ag­gres­sively chal­lenged her char­ac­ter.

While Clin­ton has been a tar­get of GOP ire for decades, the harsh­ness of the at­tacks was still strik­ing.

For­mer GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ben Car­son con­nected Clin­ton with Lu­cifer. New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie im­plored del­e­gates to shout “Guilty!” in re­sponse to var­i­ous ac­cu­sa­tions of wrong­do­ing. At mul­ti­ple points through­out the first two nights of speeches, the crowd started chant­ing, “Lock her up.”

For at least some del­e­gates, the neg­a­tiv­ity crossed a line.

“What hap­pened to pro­fes­sion­al­ism, man­ners and hu­man­ity in our politi­cians and cit­i­zens?” said Bill Pickle, a South Car­olina del­e­gate.

Trump has shown lit­tle con­cern for main­tain­ing any mod­icum of po­lit­i­cal deco­rum. Yet Mike Pence, the In­di­ana gover­nor and Trump’s new po­lit­i­cal part­ner, has spo­ken out against neg­a­tive cam­paign­ing and was put on the Repub­li­can ticket in part to pro­vide a tem­per­a­men­tal con­trast.

Cam­paign of­fi­cials see Trump’s run­ning mate’s ad­dress as a mo­ment to so­lid­ify party unity. In his speech, Pence swore off neg­a­tive cam­paign­ing. But the In­di­ana gover­nor was re­ally go­ing af­ter Clin­ton in his GOP con­ven­tion speech Wed­nes­day night.

Pence says Democrats are go­ing with a stale agenda and the most pre­dictable can­di­date.

Pence was play­ing on one of Trump’s most well-known catch­phrase. He says that un­der Trump, change in the coun­try will be “huge.”

Pence said that Repub­li­cans will re­take the pres­i­dency in Novem­ber be­cause they’re be­ing hon­est with Amer­i­cans about the stakes in the elec­tion — and the choice fac­ing vot­ers. Pence also said Clin­ton will never serve as pres­i­dent.

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