CLEVELAND, July 21 (UPI) -- Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday he would not vote for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, despite withholding an endorsement of Donald Trump in his speech to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.
Unlike other invited speakers, Cruz, who was defeated by Trump in the Republican primary, did not endorse Trump, the GOP's candidate for president, in his convention speech. He was booed off the stage as Trump entered during the speech and watched from the audience.
"I told you last night the standard I intend to apply is, which candidate I trust to defend our freedom, be faithful to the Constitution," Cruz told a Texas convention delegation Thursday. "But I can tell you I'm not voting for Hillary. What I wanted to do last night was lay out principles I believe we should stand for as Republicans. In that speech last night I did not say a single negative word about Donald Trump."
When asked about a pledge he and other Republican candidates made to support whichever candidate became the GOP nominee, Cruz answered: "The day that became abrogated was the day that became personal. I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father. And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you [attack] Heidi I'm going to nonetheless go like a servile puppy dog."
Cruz referred to Trump's retweet of an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz during the primary campaign, and to his comments, referencing a story in The National Enquirer, that Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, was with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans shortly before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
At the delegation meeting Thursday he said Trump was advised, early this week, that Cruz would not formally endorse him. Chaos broke out in the room after Cruz left, the newspaper the Guardian reported, as Cruz supporters argued about the position their candidate had taken. Texas Republicans called each other traitors and cowards, while across the street Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, noted, "The party is definitely more unified. There are a number of Cruz delegates who were on the floor today ... who disagree with what Mr. Cruz said," Manafort said.