Cruz's Day-After Explanation: Not a 'Servile Puppy Dog'

Susan Jones | July 21, 2016 | 10:09am EDT
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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., addresses the delegates during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

( - Addressing Texas Republican delegates Thursday morning, the day after he was booed in prime time, Sen. Ted Cruz blasted the media for playing up Republican divisions; explained that he addressed the Republican National Convention because Trump asked him to; and said that Trump knew ahead of time that Cruz would not endorse him Wednesday night.

Cruz on Thursday once again passed up a chance to endorse Trump.

He said his pledge to support the Republican nominee "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 he "assumed" the Trump organization wanted him to speak at the convention because they believed it would encourage people to come out and vote and they believed it would help.

He admitted to being "somewhat dismayed" that Donald Trump's "biggest partisans right down front" were quick to boo when they heard Cruz say people should vote their conscience.

"What I wanted to do last night was lay out the principles I believe we should stand for as Republicans," Cruz said. He noted that he has not and will not say "a single negative word" about Donald Trump.

Later, when Cruz opened the floor to questions, the first one was, "Are you going to vote for Trump?"

"I am watching. I am listening. And as I told you last night, the standard I intend to apply is which candidate I trust to defend our freedom and be faithful to the Constitution. I can tell you, I'm not voting for Hillary," said Cruz.

Cruz said he's "hopeful." "I'm going to be listening (to Trump's speech) tonight. I'm going to be listening to how he and the campaign conduct themselves every day from now to November. And that's what I believe the American people are going to be doing also."

Cruz said the way to win is "not to just scream and yell and attack as a traitor anyone who would dare question our candidate."

Cruz began his talk with a swipe at the media:

"Understand that these folks holding cameras are not our friends. They're not here because they want to have a beer with you. They're not here because they're planning to vote Republican in November. And so, there's no story they want to write more than Republicans in disarray, convention on fire, everything going bad. That's what they're going to write."

Cruz said it' "up to us" to determine whether it's true or not.

Chants of "Trump, Trump, Trump" broke out at one point as Cruz spoke Thursday morning.

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