CLEVELAND – Sen. Ted Cruz addressed GOP delegates from Texas Thursday morning in Cleveland, nearly 12 hours after being booed off the stage of the Republican National Convention for failing to endorse Donald Trump.
Cruz told delegates that part of the reason for his lack of support for Trump is due to Trump’s personal attacks on his family during the primary season.
"I'm not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," Cruz said Thursday.
Cruz told the audience at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday evening to “vote your conscience” during a 20-minute address. Cruz left the stage to a chorus of boos while his wife Heidi needed security's help leaving the arena as Trump supporters heckled.
“What does it say when you stand up and say, ‘Vote your conscience,’ and rabid supporters of our nominee scream, ‘What a horrible thing to say,’” Cruz said Thursday. “If we can’t make the case to the American people that voting for our party’s nominee is consistent with voting your conscience… then we are not going to win and we don’t deserve to win.”
Cruz is one of a number of former 2016 GOP presidential nominee hopefuls to not get behind Trump. Other former candidates such as John Kasich and Jeb Bush also have not offered endorsements of Trump. Kasich and Bush are not attending the RNC.
Unlike Bush and Kasich, Cruz opted to come to Trump's party, and crash it.
"He choked, some of colleagues said he basically committed political suicide," South Carolina delegate Jim Ulmer said.
A delegate Thursday heckled at Cruz saying, “This is politics.” Cruz responded to the criticism.
“This is not politics, I will tell the truth, I will not malign, I will not insult, I will not attack,” Cruz told the delegation. “It is not politics, right and wrong matters.”
Despite the anger from some delegates, Cruz had his share of supporters as well.
"We will never be cheerleaders for Donald Trump," Sondra Ziegler, a delegate from Texas said. "I can not see how Ted Cruz could have given any stronger speech and not dishonor his wife and father."
Cruz left the meeting with Texas delegates to a standing ovation.
TMJ4 reporter Charles Benson contributed to this report.