The Republican convention erupted into boos and jeers on Wednesday night as the bitter primary battle between Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz reignited unexpectedly, crushing hopes that the party co
The Republican convention erupted into boos and jeers on Wednesday night as the bitter primary battle between Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz reignited unexpectedly, crushing hopes that the party could project unity.
Mr Cruz, who received a standing ovation as he took the stage, shocked the Republican convention by thumbing his nose at Mr Trump and urging Americans to “vote their conscience”.
In a pointed snub on the eve of Mr Trump’s formal acceptance speech, Mr Cruz said, “We deserve leaders who stand for principle, who unite us all behind shared values, who cast aside anger for love... If you love our country and love your children as much as I know that you do, stand and speak and vote your conscience.”
As the crowd erupted into yells of anger and chants of “Trump! Trump!” and “Say it!” Mr Cruz tried to dismiss the outburst as “enthusiasm of the New York delegation” — only to have Mr Trump himself suddenly appear in the back of the convention hall. Mr Trump, who was stone-faced and clearly angry, egged on the delegates by pumping his fist.
Mr Cruz was all but drowned out as he asked for God’s blessing on the country and left the stage, while security personnel escorted his wife, Heidi, out of the hall. One delegate yelled “Goldman Sachs!” at her — a reference to the company that has employed her, a job that Mr Trump attacked during the primaries.
The two men fought a bitter and at times deeply personal primary campaign in which Mr Trump mocked Mr Cruz’s wife and tarred his rival with a nasty nickname: “Lyin’ Ted.”
Mr Cruz dropped out of the race in early May, finishing second to Mr Trump in the delegate count.
Mr Cruz’s none-too-subtle message landed like a political hand grenade in a convention already marred by an opening day floor revolt from anti-Trump delegates and other missteps by the campaign.
Though Ohio governor John Kasich, who lost to Mr Trump in the nomination fight and disagrees with Mr Trump on a host of issues, declined to attend the convention held in his own state, over three days in Cleveland this week, Republicans have sought to sell a story of unity, repeatedly saying the party was getting ever closer to rallying behind Mr Trump. But in a few minutes on Wednesday night that show of unity was blown apart in spectacular fashion.
Susan Hutchison, chairman of the Washington delegation, said she confronted Mr Cruz after his speech and called him a “traitor to the party.”
“Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge!” Trump tweeted, referring to the pledge all 17 Republican candidates took to endorse the eventual nominee, whoever he or she would be.
“I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!”