The Corner

Cruz’s Speech

Trump promised an unusual convention, and we sure got one tonight. But let’s be clear about what happened. A lot of Republicans wanted Cruz (an old friend of mine) to endorse Trump and are mad that he didn’t. But neither Trump nor his campaign ever said that Cruz had to endorse him to get a speaking slot. The lines that most offended the crowd were Cruz’s advice to “vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.” That they booed him for saying that is an indictment of them, not him.

It’s true that Cruz took a pledge, along with the other presidential candidates, to support the eventual nominee. I think he was wrong to take that pledge. But the pledge pre-dated Trump’s attacks on Cruz’s family; Trump long ago denied that he would be bound by the pledge; and Trump didn’t insist that Cruz be bound by it either. The moral force of that pledge, given all of that, seems to me to be approximately zero.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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