Ted Cruz said he's not about to tell Donald Trump, "Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father"

By Tierney McAfee
Updated July 21, 2016 02:40 PM
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Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump isn’t the only one who values family loyalty.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday that the reason he refused to endorse Trump in his speech at the Republican convention Wednesday night was because of the GOP nominee’s past attacks on Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and father, Rafael.

Cruz, Trump’s toughest rival in the primary election, was booed off stage and later criticized by GOP leaders after he told Republican voters at the convention to “vote your conscience.” But the Texas senator stood by his remarks Thursday morning when he spoke to his home state delegation to the Republican National Convention.

“I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” Cruz said, adding, “That pledge [to endorse the eventual nominee] was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a puppy dog and say, ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.’ ”

During the primary, Trump retweeted a meme showing an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife next to one of Trump’s own spouse, ex-model Melania Trump. The billionaire businessman included as a caption this quote from a Twitter user: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Trump also accused Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, of being involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Trump’s son Donald Jr. later said that the campaign knew in advance that Cruz wasn’t going to endorse Trump at the convention but that they let him speak anyway because “we were the better man.”