Cruz sparks civil war among Republicans
Published 22/07/2016 | 02:30
Ted Cruz struck at the heart of the Republican Party yesterday as he refused to back its nominee Donald Trump, threatening to divide the party for years to come.
As Mr Trump was last night due to accept the presidential nomination, Mr Cruz was solidifying his support ahead of a possible run in 2020. A senior Republican official said it was now expected that, even if Mr Trump wins the presidency in 2016, Mr Cruz would try to unseat him in four years time.
The senator launched a blistering assault on Mr Trump as he defended his decision not to endorse him in his prominent speech at the convention on Wednesday. Mr Cruz refused to say whether he would even vote for the nominee, adding that Mr Trump's "maligning" of his family forced him to take a stand.
"I'm not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," Mr Cruz said, angrily declaring that he was not some "servile puppy dog" at Mr Trump's feet. His instruction to his supporters to "vote your conscience" could see a crucial contingent of grassroots Republicans desert Mr Trump.
Irate at what some were calling a betrayal of the party, Mr Trump's inner circle rounded on Mr Cruz yesterday.
"No one likes him. He's so unlikeable," Donald Trump Jr told CNN of Mr Cruz. "Literally no friends. No friends."
"I think it was awful, and quite frankly I think it was selfish," Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor and Trump confidante, said.
"Ted Cruz talks about the Constitution but doesn't say that if the Democrats win the Presidency, the new justices appointed will destroy us all," Mr Trump himself pronounced.
Mr Cruz, the runner-up for the nomination, was given a prime speaking slot on Wednesday in the hope he would help heal the wounds from the bitter campaign.
Instead, he undermined the Trump campaign's plans, exiting to jeers but with a wry smile on his face. (©Daily Telegraph, London)