Will Ted Cruz Flip-Flop on Donald Trump?

Late in the U.S. Republican primary, the Texas senator denounced his then-rival in strong moral terms. He may not hold his ground during the convention.

The GOP nominee and the Texas senator have had a love-hate relationship during the election this year. (Aaron Bernstein / Reuters)

CLEVELAND––Earlier this year, on the day when Indiana held its Republican primary, Senator Ted Cruz, who spent the early part of the GOP contest refusing to criticize Donald Trump, unloaded on his rival in the strongest possible language. “I’m going to do something that I haven’t done for the entire campaign for those of you who’ve traveled with me across the country,” the candidate declared, visibly angry at his rival. “I'm going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump.”

With Cruz scheduled to take the stage tonight at the RNC, one day after Donald Trump officially secured victory, it is worth remembering his last significant assessment of the GOP’s nominee. Here is some of what Cruz emphatically told Americans:

  • “This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.”
  • “The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist––a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen. Donald Trump is such a narcissist that Barack Obama looks at him and thinks, Dude, what's your problem?"
  • “The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him. It’s why he went after Heidi directly and smeared my wife and attacked her. Apparently she’s not pretty enough for Donald Trump. I may be biased but I think if he’s making that allegation he’s also legally blind.”
  • “Donald is a bully. Every one of us knew bullies in elementary school. Bullies don’t come from strength, bullies come from weakness. Bullies come from a deep yawning cavern of insecurity. There is a reason Donald builds giant buildings and puts his name on them wherever he goes.”
  • “There are millions of people in this country who are angry... and I share that anger. But Donald is exploiting that anger. He is lying to his supporters. Donald will betray his supporters on every issue. If you care about immigration, Donald is laughing at you and he is telling the moneyed elites that he doesn’t believe what he’s saying, that he’s not going to build a wall, that’s what he told The New York Times. He will betray you on every issue across the board.”
  • “His strategy of being a bully in particular is directed at women. Donald has a real problem with women. People who are insecure, people who are insecure about who they are, Donald is terrified of strong women. He lashes out at them. Remember that this is the same Donald Trump who last week in Indiana proudly touted the endorsement of Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist who served three years in prison for raping a 17-year-old girl. And he said Mike Tyson is a tough guy. I don’t think rapists are tough guys. I spent years in law enforcement fighting rapists. Rapists are weak, they are bullies, and anyone who thinks they’re a tough guy, that reveals everything about Donald Trump’s character.”
  • “The president has a bully pulpit like no other. He affects the culture ... think about the next five years if this man were to become president. Think about the boasting, the pathological lying ... The bullying. Think about your kids coming back and emulating this ... Listen, Donald Trump is a serial philanderer, and he boasts about it! This is not a secret, he is proud of being a serial philanderer. I want everyone to think about your teenage kids. The president of the United States talking about how great it is to commit adultery, how proud he is. That’s a quote by the way on the Howard Stern show. Do you want him to spend the next five years with your kids bragging about infidelity?”
  • “I’ll tell you as the father of two young girls, the idea of them coming home and repeating any word that man says horrifies me. That is not who America is. We are staring at the abyss.”

Does Senator Cruz really intend to help this same man when he gives his speech tonight at the RNC? If he does so, after all he’s said, can he possible retain his image as a man of principle who says and does what he believes, partisan pressure be damned? Wednesday night will be a moral test for Ted Cruz, and he is widely expected to fail—to get in line and to help Trump win. Any other outcome would be something to see.

Stay tuned.