Ted Cruz and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump started the 2016 presidential primary fast friends — but their political alliance quickly descended into a fierce rivalry.
Cruz’s supporters have spent the Republican National Convention attempting a coup designed to give Cruz the nomination, and trying to force through rules changes for Cruz’s long-term benefit.
Now, with Cruz set to deliver a speech today, some are left wondering — will Cruz put aside his own political ambitions, heed calls for party unity, and formally endorse Trump on the big stage?
Not likely, according to political experts, who have hinted that Cruz may instead have a last-minute ambush planned to embarrass Trump in front of a national audience.
The conservative senator repeatedly clashed with Trump during a bitter primary fight, with the New York billionaire repeatedly mocking the lawmaker as “Lyin’ Ted.”
If rumors are true, Cruz has his own mockery planned.
With an eye toward 2020, early reports indicate that Cruz’s team drafted his convention speech to focus on adherence to the Constitution, with some political backhands at Trump thrown in.
Cruz has not endorsed Trump despite pleas for party unity from the campaign and party officials. Nor is he expected to in his speech, the senator’s aides admit.
And Cruz’s refusal to endorse Trump will be the biggest story line to come out of Cruz’s speech, no matter what else he says.
Cruz only seems interested in setting himself up for another future run at president.
Before Trump even accepts the nomination, Cruz’s supporters as well as critics say undercurrents in Cleveland are emboldening the senator’s band of believers and stoking his 2020 prospects, should Trump lose in November.
So what Cruz says Wednesday during his prime-time convention speech will be closely watched for clues about his presidential aspirations.
I truly hope this is not what Cruz does. I would hate to see him embarrass himself this bad. He would only get booed and his aspirations would be finished. He needs to step outside of himself and join with the unification that most Republicans have accepted.