During his primetime Wednesday night speech, Ted Cruz didn't endorse Donald Trump, and the crowd seriously did not like it. When telling people to head to the polls in November, instead of screaming "And vote for Donald Trump!" like the majority of speakers have done, he told people to vote their conscience, which, well, understandably seemed like a direct dig at the GOP nominee as well as a dismissal of the unity the GOP has called for, according to convention attendees.
Specifically, Cruz said, "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." That could assumably mean Trump, but Cruz only said the word "Trump" exactly once — when he congratulated him on the nomination. He never endorsed him, never said how great he is. He did the opposite of what he's basically supposed to do.
This led the room to begin booing, yelling, and chanting a mix between "We want Trump!", "Endorse Trump!", and "This is torture!" But he continued his speech — and soon Trump himself walked in the room, only adding to the cacophony. And there might have been a bigger reason that people were booing, even more than the fact that he never indicated he supports Trump. People might be booing because his speech read like a 2020 presidential campaign play.
But why do people care so much whether he specifically says "vote for Trump?" Ty Turner, an alternate delegate for North Carolina who was one of the people who joined in booing Cruz, tells Bustle, "I think we all know why I booed. I mean, it's just, at the end of the day, he knows he should have... If he's talking about unity, talking about freedom and bringing everybody together and having everybody come out, he knows he should have made a strong statement and supported Donald Trump. And obviously he didn't. And that's, basically, like, a childish move for me."
More than that, Turner says, "You basically just told the Republican party to kiss your behind, and you walked out," Turner says. "So that's why I booed him."
Turner claims Cruz just ended his political career because no one who was in the convention on Wednesday would ever stand behind him again. Whether the rest of the crowd agrees with him or not is hard to tell, but the amount of boos seemed to indicate that there was, at least for a moment, some unity within the party.
Additional reporting by Emily Shire