Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) did not hold back on his thoughts about Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) remarks at the Republican National Convention. The conservative firebrand entered the Quicken Loans Arena to applause and standing ovations only to be booed off the stage after refusing to endorse Donald Trump. He told Republicans to vote their conscience, which turned his address into a total fiasco. Collins, who was the first sitting member of Congress to endorse Trump in February, was asked by Fox News’ Bill Hemmer what does this internal drama mean for the party, especially when it comes to fostering unity:
Let’s start with Ted Cruz that we know in Washington D.C., who is a self-absorbed, narcissistic individual that’s all about Ted Cruz–America now knows that. He’s now a small man, who’s not with the Republican Party. Who has not lived up to his promise to support our nominee. The Cruz supporters are now done with Ted Cruz, or many of them. So, I agree with Paul Manafort [Trump campaign manager], this is a uniting factor that the Cruz faction is Donald Trump was so magnanimous in allowing him to speak and what did he do. He did a typical Ted Cruz move–self-absorbed—and as I’ve said earlier, he asked America to vote their conscience–they did. They did not vote for Ted Cruz.
Ouch. Collins continued to hammer Cruz as a self-serving narcissist, which is why he feels divisions will mend since the Cruz faction saw that explicitly last night. Hemmer told Collins that no one could be happy about the fact that media coverage is less on Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and Trump’s address later tonight—and more on Cruz’s antics last night.
Collins said that there isn’t much you can do about the speed bumps in these matters, but he added that Cruz’s political future is pretty much over (a bit early for that projection), and that Cruz supporters are going to have an easier time jumping on the Trump train after seeing him renege on the GOP pledge to support the eventual nominee.
Collins’ colleague in the House, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), straight up called Cruz an “a**hole” for pulling what he did last night. The Republican National Committee’s communications director, Sean Spicer, agreed with the “verbiage“ used by King. Again, if Cruz found it difficult in going all-out in supporting Trump, then stay away. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other prominent Republicans have done so. Cruz has built himself as a consistent, principled conservative. He addressed the Texas delegation earlier today, where he promised that he wouldn’t be speaking negatively about Trump going forward. Yet, he also said that he wasn’t going to endorse a man who attacked his wife and accused his father of being part of the plot to assassinate President Kennedy. Fine—I totally understand that. But, again, then stay away.
Another side to this story is that the Trump camp seemed to have known that Cruz wasn’t going to endorse the billionaire real estate magnate. Donald Trump Jr. said that they said that they saw Cruz’s address ahead of time, adding that they decided to let the Texas senator address the convention in the interests of party unity. With Cruz falling on his face, maybe it did. Trump, Jr. seems to thinks so, with Katie writing that he felt Cruz’s address only further consolidated support around his father. As for an eventual endorsement, Trump. Jr. was blunt, “I don't care, we don't need it.”
As for divisions, the delegations might be due to the results of the primaries in some contests, but the overall Republican voter base is rallying around Trump. He won the primary contest. He’s the official Republican nominee. They may not like him, but he’s now the only candidate the Right has to defeat Hillary Clinton in November. Unlike Cruz, no one was thinking about 2020. They’re focused on beating Hillary in 2016, so please get out of the way.
Some die-hard Cruz supporters may have liked the Texas senator creating a ruckus last night. It’s fine to stand on principle, but he lost. You should know when (and how) to bow out gracefully and not look like the guy who doesn’t get that it’s over. If Cruz was trying to lay down his 2020 run, it was a mess. If he was trying to show delegates that they should have buyer’s remorse, well that was answered by the endless boos that were hurled at him as he exited the limelight. We’re back to the simple truth that maybe Trump could’ve been beaten, but it took the anti-Trump wing of the GOP far too long to get their act together in time to stop him.
These candidates are far from perfect. In fact, they’re weak. But for those in the anti-Trump camp—the question now is whether they want to deal with a Clinton presidency working the a Democratic Congress that will put left wing jurists on the Supreme Court and deliver another four years of Obamanomics, or roll the dice with a Trump presidency working with a Republican Congress (hopefully we can hold the line here?) I think the answer to this question is pretty straightforward.
*Hey, I'm not happy about the choices either, but alas here we are ...