It’s unclear as of yet how far Ted Cruz will go in offering his support, though it’s unlikely to be a full-throated endorsement of his former primary rival.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Friday, September 23, 2016, 3:54 PM
WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz will Donald Trump after all, reversing course after telling the Republican National Convention to “vote your conscience” last July.
“After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,” Cruz announced in a Friday afternoon Facebook post seemingly timed to get the least amount of attention.
Cruz says his promise to vote for Trump — which Cruz allies sought to characterize as something less than a full endorsement — was made because he’d promised to back the nominee, because of Supreme Court control, and because while he’s “had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable.”
The tepid endorsement of his former primary rival focuses nearly exclusively on Clinton and Trump’s promise to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court, though he said in recent weeks Trump’s campaign has focused “more and more on freedom.”
The Texas senator’s decision to vote for Trump is already being viewed by some Cruz backers and anti-Trump Republicans as a capitulation made to please donors ahead of the 2020 campaign — and a betrayal.
“Politically I believe it’s a disastrous decision for reasons that are too numerous to mention on Twitter,” Steve Deave, a prominent Iowa conservative radio host and big 2016 Cruz backer, tweeted Friday afternoon. “Ted is still one of the best senators we have. And I hope he’s happy there, because odds he’ll be president [are now] severely diminished.”
The decision comes after Cruz gave a very visual snub of Trump at the Cleveland convention, refusing to back him while sticking his finger in the eye of Trump supporters. He was booed offstage, but cheered by hardline conservatives wary of Trump’s brand of unpredictable populism. The two began the primary as allies, with Cruz pumping up Trump’s standing with the party — but grew increasingly nasty, as the two warred viciously as the months wore on. Trump even accused Cruz’s father of playing a role in assassinating President John F. Kennedy.
Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally on Sept. 21, 2016.
Cruz is widely viewed as a likely 2020 presidential candidate. His move comes just days after Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus that Trump’s primary opponents who haven’t endorsed better “get on board” — or face consequences from the party if they want to run again.