Ted Cruz stood before the third night of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday with an entire convention center awaiting the answer to the question: Will he endorse Donald Trump or won't he? The answer came late in a speech that was well received until the end. "We stand here tonight a nation divided," Trump's final Republican rival opened, before congratulating Trump on winning the nomination. But as Cruz's prime-time speech, which focused on freedom, neared its finish, it became clear he would not endorse the GOP nominee, proclaiming that Republican voters should not stay home in November, but rather "vote your conscience."
As chants of "We want Trump!" broke out among the crowd, Cruz replied, per Politico, "I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation." Or as Andrew Sullivan put it at New York, "open war is breaking out, as the crowd is beginning to shout Cruz down." Trump himself appeared side-stage, seemingly to suck oxygen from Cruz's moment. Writes Sullivan: "Cruz leaves to a massive wall of hostile noise."