In fact, he was booed in the Quicken Loans Arena as he would up his speech without endorsing him. Shouts of “Endorse Trump!” and “Go home” could be heard as he neared the end of the speech, when he told voters to “vote their conscience” but made only one mention of the GOP nominee.
Trump entered the arena just as the delegates and gallery were continuing their boos of Cruz.
At points, what Cruz was saying was nearly drowned out out by the angry shouts.
“I congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night,” Cruz said, in the only time that he named Trump in his speech. “And like each of you, I want to see the principles that our party believes prevail in November.”
The boos contrasted to the extended ovation that greeted Cruz, as there were conflicting reports on whether he would give an endorsement.
Instead, he pointedly avoided it.
He devoted his speech to competing party visions for the country, framing them as matters of freedom and federalism.
He focused on national security, education and health care. He did talk of key Trump campaign themes, like building a wall along the border of Mexico and he attacked trade agreements.
“We stand here tonight a nation divided. Partisan rancor, anger, even hatred are tearing America apart,” he said. “And citizens are furious — rightly furious — at a political establishment that cynically breaks its promises and ignores the will of the people.”
He opened his speech by paying tribute to a Dallas police officer who was killed earlier this month.
“I have no idea who he voted for in the last election, or what he thought about this one,” Cruz said. “But his life was a testament to devotion. He protected the very protesters who mocked him because he loved his country and his fellow man. His work gave new meaning to that line from literature, ‘To die of love is to live by it.'”
He also cited the internet — Cruz opposed the FCC’s net neutrality rules. “Keep it free from taxes, free from regulation. And don’t give it away to Russia and China,” he said.
He also mentioned social issues. Cruz opposed the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage, but actually appeared to recognize that there were constitutional protections for gays and lesbians.
“Whether you are gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience.”
Cruz dropped out of the race in early May, shortly after he suffered a big loss in the Indiana primary. Earlier in the day, Trump had appeared on “Fox & Friends” and repeated a story that linked Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald.
CNN reported that Cruz’s wife, Heidi, had to be escorted out of the arena by security.