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Four months ago, Donald Trump threatened to “spill the beans” on primary opponent Ted Cruz’s wife. The following day, he tweeted a professional headshot of his own wife, Melania, side by side with an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi—by all appearances, it was a screenshot of her face stuck in mid-speech.
Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2016
On Wednesday night, speaking before the Republican National Convention crowd at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Cruz could not bring himself to endorse the “pathological liar” and “narcissist” he had once called out for being a “sniveling coward.”
Cruz, whom Trump had branded “Lyin’ Ted,” congratulated the Republican nominee on his victory. Then he tore into President Obama and Hillary Clinton. “We stand here tonight a nation divided,” he said, while endorsing Trump’s wall along the Mexican border. He attacked the “political establishment” over broken promises and for ignoring “the will of the people.”
If Ted Cruz wasn’t personally and ideologically repellent I would be very pro Ted Cruz right now.
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) July 21, 2016
This is pretty stunning. Cruz is making his 2020 pitch into the camera as audience screams and jeers at him
— Melanie Mason (@melmason) July 21, 2016
“What if this, right now, is our last time?” Cruz asked the crowd. “Our last moment to do something for our families and our country?”
“Don’t stay in home in November,” he said. “Stand and speak and vote your conscience.”
An already frustrated crowd turned on Cruz as it became clear he had no intention of endorsing Trump’s candidacy. Livid, some booed while others chanted in unison over Cruz’s own words: “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
“I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation,” Cruz replied, mocking them, unfazed. Adding an extra layer to the drama, Trump suddenly appeared as Cruz’s speech came to an end. The nominee waded into the crowd before joining his family.
Trump appears in the hall during Cruz’s speech WWE-style.
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) July 21, 2016
Felt legitimately frightening being in a room watching that much hate directed at one person inside. Unreal.
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) July 21, 2016
HEIDI CRUZ escorted out by security as crowd gets angry at Cruz for his speech. One Trump supporter shouting “Goldman Sachs!” at her
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 21, 2016
“The case we have to make to the American people,” added Cruz, “the case each person in this room has to make to the American people is to commit to each of them that we will defend freedom and be faithful to the Constitution.
“We will unite the party. We will unite the country by standing together for shared values, by standing for liberty.”
Unity wasn’t the word that came to mind after Cruz was finished speaking. But Trump didn’t seem to mind.
Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2016
Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.