CLEVELAND, July 20 (UPI) -- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was booed off stage at the Republican National Convention after declining to endorse Donald Trump and instead encouraging Americans to "vote your conscience" during a speech to delegates.
Cruz was one of three former Trump rivals for the nomination to address the convention on Wednesday. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also spoke, with Rubio offering a video message to delegates.
Of them, Walker was the only one who referenced a pledge all candidates made in Cleveland nearly a year ago, when they were asked in a debate held inside Quicken Loans Arena, the same site as the convention, whether they would support the eventual nominee. Each agreed they would at the time, but in the wake of a bruising and at times deeply personal primary fight, Cruz and Rubio have both declined to make good on that promise so far.
"I want to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night. And like each of you, I want to see the principles our party believes prevail in November," Cruz said.
"After a long and spirited primary, the time for fighting each other is over. It's time to come together to fight for a new direction for America. It's time to win in November," Rubio said.
"Last August, right here in Cleveland, I said any of the Republicans running for office would be better than Hillary Clinton. I meant it then and I mean it now," Walker said. "A vote for anyone other than Donald Trump this November is a vote for Hillary Clinton. Make no mistake. We can't wait four more years to get 'em next time."
Cruz faced vocal, at points awkward opposition during his speech. Trump's home state New York, where Cruz earned no friends by disparaging "New York values" during the campaign, chanted "endorse Trump!" toward the end of Cruz's address, when it became clear the senator had no direct intention of doing so. The delegation, seated at the front of the stage, began booing loudly, as well.
Instead, Cruz said: "To those listening, don't stay home in November. If you love your country and love your children ... stand and speak your conscience and vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you believe to be faithful to the Constitution."
Afterward, Trump tweeted he had seen an advance copy of Cruz's speech and was aware the text did not contain an endorsement, but allowed him to go on anyway.
Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn't honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2016
Adding to the ruckus inside the hall, Trump himself was seen on a split screen on cable news waiting in the wings to enter the hall as Cruz finished speaking. As Cruz finished and the crowd became increasingly restless and hostile, it turned to see Trump walking into the arena and making his way to his family's box.
Cruz concluded his speech on a note of unification, even if that sentiment wasn't met by all delegates in attendance: "We will unite the party, we will unite the country by standing together for shared values, by standing for liberty," he said.