U.S. Senator Ted Cruz staunchly defended his decision not to endorse Donald Trump, saying on Thursday he was not the Republican presidential candidate’s “servile puppy dog” in a damaging rift at the party’s convention ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
Cruz, who came in second to Trump in the race for the Republican nomination after a bitter and personal campaign, was booed by delegates at the gathering in Cleveland on Wednesday night when he gave a speech but did not endorse Trump.
The conservative senator from Texas stood his ground on Thursday. He refused to say whether he would vote for Trump, who had maligned Cruz’s wife for her physical appearance and had suggested that his father was linked to late President John F. Kennedy’s assassin.
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“I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” he told a meeting of the Texas delegation in Cleveland.
Republican candidates had pledged during the primary process to support the party’s eventual nominee.
“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,’” Cruz said. He did say he would not vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.