Former Republican candidate Ted Cruz was booed off the stage at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night after he failed to endorse Donald Trump during his primetime speech.
Cruz urged Republicans to vote in in the general election, and at one point seemed like he might actually endorse his former rival, but then didn’t.
Instead, he told thousands of gathered delegates to “stand and speak and vote your conscience” — a comment that elicited loud boos from the audience.
Earlier in the day, news networks speculated that Cruz might not actually endorse Trump during his speech, an unusual move during a time when the party is attempting to radiate an image of unity ahead of the general election.
After it became clear that Cruz was not intending to endorse the party’s newly-named nominee, the crowd at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio, broke into chants of: “Endorse Trump!”
Cruz tried to laugh off the awkward moment saying jokingly, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegates.”
More boos could be heard on the floor of the convention as Cruz left the stage.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich took to the stage minutes later and attempted to minimize the damage, telling delegates to vote their conscience but added, “There is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution.” And that of course, he believes, is Trump.
In typical Trump fashion, Donald blew off the snub from Cruz, tweeting later in the night that it was “no big deal!”
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