By Jonathan Gang
BU News Service
On a night full of speeches from several high-profile Republicans, Ted Cruz drew the loudest response from the audience for what he didn’t say. The Texas senator and former Presidential candidate was vigorously booed as he carefully avoided endorsing Donald Trump Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Rather than endorse Trump by name, Cruz instead implored the audience to “vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.” This non-endorsement was answered with loud boos, initially originating from the delegation of Trump’s home state of New York and soon engulfing the entire arena. There were also several chants of “Endorse Trump” and “Lyin’ Ted,” the nickname given to Cruz by Trump during the primary, throughout the senator’s speech.
Newt Gingrich, who was effusive in his own praise for the candidate, came to the defense of Cruz later in the evening, saying “Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution. In this election there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution.”
Gingrich also spent much time on the offensive against Hillary Clinton, attacking her record on national security and saying that she would leave the country open to attacks from terrorists posing as refugees.
“We know that Hillary Clinton and President Obama lie to the American people when they say they can safely screen the Syrian refugees,” he said. “They cannot. And yet Hillary wants to increase the number by 500 percent.”
Florida senator Marco Rubio, another of Trump’s former primary rivals, was much quicker to offer his support to the candidate as he appeared by satellite for a brief speech. “…Unlike Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump is committed to cut taxes, curb spending and get our national debt under control,” he said. “Unlike Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump takes seriously the threats from Islamic radicals and is committed to rebuilding our military. And unlike Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, he is committed to appointing constitutionalist judges, who will respect the proper role of the judiciary.”
Similar to the previous night, many of the speeches focused primarily on attacking Hillary Clinton while a Trump family member offered the most glowing endorsement for the candidate. Tonight it was Eric Trump, Donald’s third son, who took the stage to praise his father’s integrity and characterize the selflessness of his intentions to run for the presidency.
“Oprah Winfrey once famously asked my father if he envisioned running for the presidency of the United States,” he said. “His answer? ‘Only if it got so bad that I had no choice…’ Well, ladies and gentlemen, that day has come.”