CLEVELAND—Principled stand, or career-ending mistake?
It’s a question that has followed Ted Cruz throughout his relatively brief time on the national stage. And the debate erupted again on Wednesday night on the floor of the Republican National Convention after Cruz’s latest brazen move to withhold an endorsement from Donald Trump and instead use his primetime address to urge Americans to “vote their conscience” in November.
Allegedly whipped up by Trump supporters, the crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena booed Cruz off the stage.
“It was a mistake,” Representative Bill Huizenga of Michigan said immediately after Cruz finished speaking. Huizenga is a former Marco Rubio supporter who has also refused to endorse Trump. But he isn’t addressing an audience of millions at the convention, and as he stood on the floor, he argued that if Cruz couldn’t throw his support behind the nominee, he should have stayed off the stage. Cruz, the congressman said, had an opportunity to help bring the party together with a unifying speech.
“He missed. He whiffed,” Huizenga said.
As Huizenga was speaking to me, a Cruz supporter from Washington State interjected. “That took a lot of cojones,” Selena Coppa, an alternate delegate, told us. “He put principle over tactics, and that endeared him to me even more.”