A few days ago, not many people would have bet on the GOP convention's most controversial moment coming from Ted Cruz instead of Donald Trump, but Trump will have to work hard to outdo what analysts are calling a stunning snub from his not-so-vanquished rival. Angry Republicans yelled "Endorse Trump," then booed loudly as Cruz reached the end of his Wednesday night RNC speech with no endorsement given, just a call to "vote your conscience." A roundup of coverage:
- The snub crushed hopes of party unity and was "a jarring demonstration of just how divided Republicans remain and a stunning departure from modern political conventions," the New York Times reports.
- Should Trump have expected some payback from Cruz? "Turns out that when you bully a guy for months, suggest his wife is unattractive, insinuate that his dad participated in the JFK assassination, call him Lyin' Ted, dispatch your bouncer-like emissaries to coerce an endorsement—then give him a prime-time speaking spot on the third night of your nominating convention—well, you get the picture," writes Glenn Thrush at Politico.
- Trump adviser Roger Stone seemed to speak for many Republicans when he called Cruz a "despicable human being" soon after the speech ended, per the Hill. "Ted Cruz thinks he's Ronald Reagan. The problem is he's not anything near Reagan in terms of being an inspiring, likable figure," Stone said. "He's a dumb son of a bitch who thinks he's smarter than everybody else."
- The Times notes that the Cruz snub completely overshadowed VP nominee Mike Pence's speech, with the enduring image of the convention now likely to be the split screen "of Mr. Cruz, seemingly stunned on the stage as the boos grew, and a scowling Mr. Trump dramatically entering the arena to wrest back control of his convention."
- Pence was the "stable, trusted conservative politician who was supposed to rally unsure Republicans behind their new standard-bearer," writes Anthony Zurcher at the BBC. "Instead, Mr Cruz revealed a party still sharply divided."
- Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post looks at the huge gamble Cruz has made. The speech "cements Cruz as the leading anti-Trump politician in the Republican Party," he writes, which will be a great position to be in if Trump loses in November—but if Trump wins, Cruz's political career is over.
- The uproar may have seemed out of place to people used to modern, heavily stage-managed conventions, but it would have seemed familiar to earlier generations, writes David Firestone at FiveThirtyEight, looking back to 1976, when rival Ford and Reagan delegates even booed the candidates' spouses. "We just got a taste of the rancor that still underlies a good political feud," he writes.
- Trump tried to downplay the moment. "Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn't honor the pledge!" he tweeted. "I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!"
- Cruz's speech—the full text of which can be seen here—appears to have provided Hillary Clinton with a new campaign slogan. "Vote your conscience," she tweeted soon after his speech ended with the crowd jeering Cruz and security escorting his wife out of the arena.
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