Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said Thursday that his pledge to support the Republican nominee went out the window when his primary battle with Donald Trump got personal and he endured personal attacks on his wife and father.
A day after getting booed off stage because he did not endorse Trump in his primetime address at the Republican National Convention and said to "vote your conscience," Cruz answered a Texas delegate’s question about the pledge to support the nominee by harkening back to Trump’s attacks on his wife Heidi and father Rafael.
The Trump campaign maligned Heidi Cruz’s looks and suggested that Cruz’s father was connected with the assassination of John F. Kennedy during the GOP primary, and Cruz at the time castigated Trump as a "pathological liar."
"I’ll tell you the day that pledge was abrogated," Cruz said. "The day that was abrogated was the day this became personal … I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father."
The crowd cheered loudly.
"And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father," Cruz said.
Cruz told one of the onlookers he might have a similar view if his wife had been attacked in such a manner. Someone yelled out that Cruz needed to get over it, but he responded angrily.
"No, this is not politics," Cruz said. "I will tell the truth. I will not malign, I will not insult, I will not attack, I will tell the truth. This is not a game. It is not politics. Right and wrong matters. We have not abandoned who we are in this country. No, sir, I do not believe that is correct."
He also said that he was troubled by getting booed by Trump’s rabid supporters for saying one should vote their conscience in November.
"If we can’t make the case to the American people that voting for our party’s nominee is consistent with voting your conscience, is consistent with defending freedom and being faithful to the Constitution, then we are not going to win and we don’t deserve to win," Cruz said.