Things got tense on the floor of the Republican National Convention Wednesday night as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz used his coveted prime-time speech to pointedly not endorse the delegates’ nominee, Donald Trump.
Instead, Cruz told his fellow Republicans voters: “To those listening, please, don t stay home in November. Stand and speak and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
Cruz had felt increased pressure in the past few weeks to endorse Trump, but couldn’t bring himself to do so after so much bad blood between the two candidates during the primary season. So he spoke the name Trump just once, when he said at the top of his speech: “I congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night.”
Booing, the crowd responded by shouting Trump’s name over and over: “We want Trump! We want Trump!”
Always a showman, Cruz cracked back, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation” – a reference to the famously hostile reception he got during the primary season from New York City voters resentful of his disparagement of what he called Trump’s “New York values.”
Cruz carried on with his speech, elaborating on his strict conservative ideology. But the tension on the floor made security officials nervous enough that they hustled Cruz’s wife, Heidi, out of the arena, according to CNN reporter Manu Raju who Tweeted from the floor: “HEIDI CRUZ escorted out by security as crowd gets angry at Cruz for his speech. One Trump supporter shouting “Goldman Sachs!” at her.”
As Cruz wrapped up describing the freedoms he believes America needs to flourish as a powerhouse nation, news cameras turned to Trump who entered the arena.
According to the Huffington Post, Cruz wasn’t the only who didn’t explicitly endorse Trump during the night. Retired astronaut Eileen Collins was reportedly prepped to include Trump in her speech but didn’t.
Instead, she seemingly implied an endorsement as she said, “We need leadership that will ask Americans, Americans will ask again, ‘What’s next?’ We need leadership that will make America’s space program first again. We need leadership that will make American great again.”
Before giving her speech, Collins told Mashable that her appearance was not meant as a nod to either party as much as it was an attempt at raising awareness about the importance of U.S. space exploration.
She added: “My message is meant to NOT be political.”