Doubling down on his refusal to endorse Donald Trump, Ted Cruz said Thursday morning that he will not "come like a servile puppy dog" to the help of the Republican nominee.
"I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," Cruz said at a press conference, his voice rising. "That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go ahead and attack Heidi that I’m going to come like a servile puppy dog and say, ‘Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.’"
On Wednesday night, Cruz stunned the Republican National Convention by not endorsing Trump during his primetime speech. Party delegates booed Cruz as he spoke on stage, and Republican leaders later lashed out at him for the remarkable display of party infighting.
Cruz’s speech digging at Trump on Wednesday was widely interpreted as an effort to position himself as a frontrunner for the 2020 presidential election. As Vox’s Dara Lind argued, Cruz appeared to be gambling that Trump will "lose disastrously in November" and that Cruz will be well-positioned to pick up the pieces.
Cruz’s remarks this morning don’t contradict that. But with his bitter characterization of the primary fighting, Cruz is also suggesting something else: that his beef with Trump is as personal as it is political.
Over the course of the primary, Trump called Cruz "Lyin’ Ted," insulted his wife’s looks, and suggested his father was connected to JFK’s assassination. And Cruz isn’t about to forget it.