In 180, Cruz set to cast ballot for ex-foe Trump
WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz announced Friday that he will vote for Donald Trump, a dramatic aboutface for the Texas senator who previously called the New York businessman a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.”
Cruz was facing intensifying political pressure to back his party’s presidential nominee after refusing to do so at the Republican National Convention this summer.
Cruz said he will vote for Trump in November, but he stopped short of an official endorsement in a statement posted Friday on Facebook. The distinction may matter little to voters, but it helps Cruz to save face among his loyal supporters still unwilling to forgive Trump’s attacks on the Texas senator’s wife and father during their ugly and often intensely personal primary campaign.
Cruz noted that he was booed by Trump supporters at the convention for encouraging Republicans to “vote your conscience.”
“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,” Cruz wrote.
Cruz finished second to Trump in a bitter primary battle and balked at previous promises to endorse the eventual GOP presidential nominee. He said Trump made things too personal when he called him “Lyin’ Ted,” insulted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and repeated discredited accusations linking Cruz’s Cuba-born father to the John F. Kennedy assassination.
Cruz cited two reasons for his shift.
“First, last year, I prom- ised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word,” he wrote. “Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable.”
Since the convention speech, polls have suggested Cruz’s popularity was slipping nationally and in Texas — where he could face a primary challenger for reelection in 2018.
Cruz also faced intensifying political pressure from other quarters.
His base was overwhelmingly supportive initially, but the mood has shifted recently. The vast majority of calls coming into Cruz’s office turned increasingly negative in recent weeks, with many voters urging him to support Trump to prevent a Clinton victory, according to Republicans familiar with the situation. The Republicans spoke on the condition of anonymity because these were internal discussions.
At the same time, the large staff that worked on Cruz’s presidential bid pushed him not to endorse. Most refused to accept jobs with the Trump campaign when offered following Cruz’s departure from the primary campaign this spring. And as recently as this week, some warned they would not work for Cruz again if he officially endorsed Trump.
Trump’s naming of a Cruz ally, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, in his updated list of potential Supreme Court picks announced Friday may have helped ease tensions between the camps.
The 10-name expansion also adds several minority judges to Trump’s previously all-white list, including Venezuelan-born Federico Moreno, a 64-year-old judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. It includes an African-American judge, a South Asian judge and a female judge who served in the Marines.
Trump in May unveiled his original list of 11 federal and state court judges as potential replacements for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He and his allies have repeatedly cited control of the Supreme Court as a top reason why Republican skeptics should rally around his candidacy.
Trumpalso backed Cruz’s position in a congressional squabble over internet regulation. But bad blood remains. The decision to announce his intention to vote for Trump, rather than endorse him outright, was seen as a compromise — even if voters see little distinction between the two.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has previously called the GOP presidential nominee a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.”