Cariacature of Ted Cruz
Cariacature of Ted Cruz by DonkeyHotey

So much for par­ty uni­ty:

Repub­li­can lead­ers attempt­ed Wednes­day to steer their nation­al con­ven­tion in a more sub­stan­tive and uni­fied direc­tion behind GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, but their efforts came up against an erup­tion of lin­ger­ing bit­ter­ness from the bru­tal pri­ma­ry cam­paign season.

The cap­stone of the evening was sup­posed to be a speech by Indi­ana Gov. Mike Pence, the new­ly named vice-pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee. But the more riv­et­ing moment came ear­li­er, when Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) point­ed­ly refused to endorse Trump, who had best­ed him in the race for the nom­i­na­tion, and urged Repub­li­cans to “vote your conscience.”

Cruz’s deci­sion not to get behind Trump angered Trump’s loy­al del­e­gates, who began loud­ly boo­ing and shout­ing at him as he attempt­ed to wrap up his speech.

You can see the spec­ta­cle for your­self cour­tesy of C‑SPAN (at around the twen­ty minute mark, Trump’s back­ers begin to make their dis­plea­sure known):

Trump him­self made his dis­plea­sure known by delib­er­ate­ly walk­ing out into the hall just as Cruz was deliv­er­ing the final lines of his speech, wav­ing to his back­ers and giv­ing them the thumbs up sign. The net­works imme­di­ate­ly piv­ot­ed away from Cruz to Trump’s planned ret­ribu­tive inter­rup­tion, and while Cruz could still be heard speak­ing, view­ers were see­ing Trump onscreen instead.

Trump also belit­tled Cruz on Twitter.

“Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, did­n’t hon­or the pledge! I saw his speech two hours ear­ly but let him speak any­way. No big deal!” Trump tweet­ed.

Uh huh.

The Clin­ton cam­paign, mean­while, sent out an email neat­ly sum­ma­riz­ing all of Cruz’s denun­ci­a­tions of Trump from ear­li­er this year, say­ing it’s under­stand­able that Cruz would­n’t want to make an endorsement.

[T]o be fair, would you want to endorse a guy who threat­ened to “spill the beans” on your wife and accused your dad of maybe killing JFK? No, you’d prob­a­bly say things like this:

  • Cruz: “Don­ald, you’re a snivel­ing coward.”
  • Cruz: “Don­ald does seem to have an issue with women. Don­ald does­n’t like strong women.”
  • Cruz: “Don­ald doesn’t do very well in for­eign pol­i­cy [because] he doesn’t have even a basic mod­icum of knowledge.”
  • Cruz: “Don­ald has had a long career of using great wealth and pow­er try­ing to bul­ly others.”
  • Cruz said Trump was “engag­ing in demagoguery.”
  • Cruz: “Of course it’s inap­pro­pri­ate to be attack­ing a fed­er­al judge’s race or ethnicity”
  • Cruz: “Don­ald’s cam­paign, his entire cam­paign is built on a lie.”


The Seat­tle Times’ Jim Brun­ner reports that after Cruz’s speech, he had an encounter with Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair Susan Hutchi­son, who has inglo­ri­ous­ly turned into one of Trump’s biggest local boosters:

Hutchi­son ran into Cruz, the for­mer Trump rival for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, near an ele­va­tor at the Quick­en Loans Arena.

She said she told him his speech was “inex­cus­able” and called him a “trai­tor to the party.”

The encounter was awk­ward giv­en that Washington’s del­e­ga­tion is stacked with Cruz supporters.

It was­n’t all that long ago that Susan Hutchi­son want­ed to lead King Coun­ty, the state’s largest juris­dic­tion. Nowa­days, though, Hutchi­son feels con­tempt for King Coun­ty — and Seat­tle in par­tic­u­lar — because it’s a Demo­c­ra­t­ic bastion:

When state GOP chair­man Susan Hutchi­son announced Washington’s votes for Trump in the tra­di­tion­al roll call of the states Tues­day, she talked about wheat fields, vol­ca­noes and Boe­ing planes.

She didn’t men­tion the Space Nee­dle, the Sea­hawks or any oth­er ref­er­ence to the state’s biggest city.

That was no acci­dent, Hutchi­son told del­e­gates at Wednesday’s break­fast meeting.

“I specif­i­cal­ly left out Seat­tle this year,” she said, cit­ing the state’s “mas­sive Demo­c­ra­t­ic votes” year after year. “It’s just time for the peo­ple of the rest of the state to rec­og­nize how impor­tant they are.”


It’s iron­ic that Hutchi­son has been engag­ing in so much Seat­tle-bash­ing late­ly, con­sid­er­ing it’s the place she calls home. She and her fam­i­ly live in Lau­rel­hurst, which is one of the more afflu­ent neigh­bor­hoods in the city. They evi­dent­ly like our state’s largest city enough to live there in spite of its pro­gres­sive politics.

Hutchison’s pet­ty, sil­ly dia­tribes against Seat­tle are mis­placed. Seat­tle and King Coun­ty aren’t the rea­son why Democ­rats con­sis­tent­ly win statewide con­tests, for they can be out­vot­ed. It’s coun­ties like Sno­homish, cities like Belling­ham, and coastal com­mu­ni­ties like Port Townsend or Aberdeen that have deliv­ered Wash­ing­ton for Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates time and again.

King Coun­ty’s turnout as a whole has actu­al­ly been known to lag behind the statewide aver­age, espe­cial­ly in midterm and odd num­bered years.

How­ev­er, it picks up in pres­i­den­tial years (as does turnout in many swing coun­ties west of the Cas­cades), dri­ven in part by Demo­c­ra­t­ic get out the vote efforts.

Seat­tle trash talk may feel ther­a­peu­tic for the mil­i­tant right wing Repub­li­cans who view the city as an obsta­cle in the way of their schemes to turn Wash­ing­ton into the next Wis­con­sin, but it’s not going to broad­en their par­ty’s appeal.

The things Seat­telites want are the same things that Wash­ing­to­ni­ans from every cor­ner of the state want: great pub­lic schools, equal­i­ty for all, safe neigh­bor­hoods, broad pros­per­i­ty, fair tax­es, clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and the pro­tec­tion of our wild and majes­tic places for future generations.

Repub­li­cans’ past attempts to pit sub­ur­ban and rur­al vot­ers against Seat­tle vot­ers have end­ed in fail­ure, but they haven’t seem to have learned much of any­thing from those expe­ri­ences. Their bit­ter­ness is showing.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “More chaos at RNC as Ted Cruz refuses to endorse Donald Trump, gets booed off stage”

  1. We have not won this bat­tle yet, with our con­ven­tion com­ing up the ques­tion is are we going to jump into the mud pud­dle with Trump or are we going to lay down a vision? If we learned any­thing from 1980 Carter vs Rea­gan, scare tac­tics (how­ev­er real they can be) will only solid­i­fy the oppo­si­tion. We are on very tricky ground. This elec­tion is very winnable, but also very loseable. It’s up to us.

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