While things went smoothly – even enthusiastically – during the first half of the session, things quickly deteriorated at the end of Senator Ted Cruz’s speech at the Republican National Convention.
First, the video ribbon around the arena began flickering, then went out. Then, the New York delegation, which was seated directly in front of the teleprompter, turned around and read Cruz’s script – and noticed that it did not include an endorsement of Trump.
“Endorse!” they chanted. And “Endorse Trump!”
“He signed the pledge – all of the candidates did,” said John Antoniello of Staten Island, New York, who said he was irritated Cruz did not endorse Trump. “No I get why Donald Trump meant when he called him Lyin’ Ted.”
Some of the Texas delegates, sitting in the back, responded with a chant for Cruz.
Then, things got really crazy.
As the arena was blowing up with chants, Trump himself entered the VIP session, provoking boisterous cheers – and stepping on the final lines of Cruz’s speech.
Those cheers turned into boos from the pro-Trump crowd as Cruz ended his speech without having endorsed Trump.
On the floor, one woman walked off in a huff. “He told people vote your conscience,” she said to her husband.
Adolpho Telles of El Paso, a Texas delegate, said he did not think Trump stepped on Cruz’s speech on purpose.
“I don’t think it was intentional,” he said, saying Trump most likely came down to listen to his son Eric speak. He said he wished Cruz had endorsed. “When you lose, you’ve gotta go forward, keep your head up,” he said.
“Some people wanted to hear him say the phrase,” said Brian McAuliffe, of San Marcos, Texas. “I wouldn’t have minded if he had.”
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