Remember when Clint Eastwood speaking to a chair was the most shocking thing that happened at a Republican Convention? Well, those days are long gone.
First Wednesday night, retired NASA astronaut Eileen Collins skipped over her planned endorsement of Donald Trump during her speech. She never mentioned his name during her seven minute remarks about rebuilding the space program. It was in the teleprompter, but she did not read it out loud.
As the Trump campaign scrambled to find out why, Senator Ted Cruz rocked the convention, refusing, after a twenty minute speech, to endorse his one time rival.
Instead Cruz encouraged Republicans to “vote your conscience” in November and was booed off the stage for his refusal to offer an endorsement of Trump. His wife Heidi Cruz left the hall surrounded by security, as angry delegates chanted “Goldman Sachs!” the Wall Street bank where she has worked.
Donald Trump took to Twitter to respond to Cruz’s remarkable prime-time rebuff.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2016
The Trump team learned about Cruz’s decision just moments after the speech had been loaded into the teleprompter. The decision was made by Trump to enter the convention hall before Cruz finished speaking in order to upstage his remarks.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wasted no time in blasting Cruz saying, “I think it was awful and I think it was selfish.”
Trump’s political team also weighed in.
“I think that Ted Cruz committed political suicide tonight,” said Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s special counsel. “Ted Cruz was never looking to honor the pledge to support the nominee. I think the RNC should refuse to back him for reelection in 2018. He should not be allowed to run for dog catcher.”
Hillary Clinton wasted no time picking up Cruz’s theme.
Vote your conscience. https://t.co/xahMq2sU1q
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 21, 2016
Cruz joins the last two Republican presidents, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, the last Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and Ohio Governor John Kasich in refusing to support the billionaire reality TV host.
One thing is certain: Republicans may blame the media for their trouble throughout this campaign, but history will show the decision to blowup the establishment was a self-inflicted wound.