Cruz Draws Boos for 'You Choose' Speech

Sen. Ted Cruz endorsed voting your conscience. He endorsed building a wall. He endorsed myriad conservative values. He even endorsed keeping the internet free from taxes, free from regulations, and out of the hands of Russia and China. What he didn't endorse was Donald Trump.

For all the "we're uniting" lipstick that preceded him, Cruz was the boar in the China shop, dashing the hopes of some conventiongoers who began to boo loudly, led by the New York delegation, as they realized he had no intention of backing their candidate publicly.

The first sign that Cruz was not on the bandwagon came early in the speech, when he said: "We’re fighting, not for one particular candidate or one campaign...."

It was a made-for-TV and social media moment but not the one Republican convention organizers had hoped for.

Related: Melania Echoes Michelle, News Networks All Over It

Candidate Donald Trump entered the hall toward the end of the speech, perhaps hoping, as some TV pundits posited, to steal some of Cruz's thunder given that the Texas senator's speech was sounding more like an acceptance speech from the winning candidate basking in the spotlight.

Cruz had always been a long-shot endorsement as a conservative who lambasted his opponent as a Donkey in Elephant's clothing and after Trump suggested Cruz's father may have plotted to kill Kennedy and unfavorably compared Cruz's wife to Trump's own ex-model spouse.

Then came the moment, late in the speech, when the lack of an endorsement would ring like a denouncement, and Cruz delivered the blow: "And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution."

The rest of the speech was punctuated by boos from angry crowd members, which Cruz attributed to the New York delegation.

So far, the RNC's most memorable TV moments have arguably been ones Republican's would probably rather forget—the cable news post mortem on Melania Trump's plagiarized speech passages, which dominated the news cycle after an otherwise commendable public speaking outing on the convention's first day, and the cascade of boos for Cruz.

But candidate Trump gets to leave the last impression with his acceptance speech, and if one gambling site's bettors are correct, he should have a big audience. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.