Donald Trump got through his acceptance speech without riffing on Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement but you had to know it was coming. Friday morning Trump spent about six minutes commenting on the speech, calling Cruz’s decision to alter it after it was submitted for vetting “dishonorable.”
“He may have ruined his political career. I feel so badly,” Trump said. “And you know he’ll come and endorse over the next little while. He’ll come and endorse…But I don’t want his endorsement. what difference does it make? I don’t want his endorsement,” Trump said. He added, “Ted, stay home, relax, enjoy yourself.”
“They gave me his speech. I saw exactly what his speech was because when you go up to speak you have to give your speech, you know we don’t want surprises,” Trump said. “They came to me. They said, ‘It’s a boring speech, Mr. Trump, nothing good, nothing bad, he congratulates you on the victory and here’s the speech,'” Trump explained.
“Well he got up and the first two sentences…he added a sentence. In other words he got up and he added a sentence, which could have been viewed as a nasty thing in terms of what he said because it was implying something, which is wrong but that’s okay. So he took his speech, and you’re bound by that speech, just like you’re bound by the pledge…So Ted Cruz took his speech that was done. It was on the teleprompter, said hello, then made a statement that wasn’t on the speech and then went back to his speech. See, to me, that’s dishonorable.”
Trump also got in to the disagreement which Cruz said prompted his non-endorsement. From Politico:
Trump continued, “And I’m saying it just to clear it up. I didn’t do anything.”
Trump then referred to his retweet of an unflattering side-by-side image of Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz, calling Cruz’s wife on Friday “a very nice woman and a very beautiful woman.”
“I have to tell you, I think Heidi Cruz is a great person,” Trump said. “I think it’s the best thing he’s got going, and his kids, if you want to know the truth. In a certain way, although he’s got good intellect but he doesn’t know how to use it.”…
“So that takes care of the Heidi thing. Because Heidi is a terrific woman,” Trump said. “He said that was a PAC. We had nothing to do. A lot of us are political people, right. We’re not babies. His people were on the PAC. So he said we have nothing to do. We had — now, probably you could trace it down with emails but they’re pretty smart, probably it’s just phone calls.”
So Trump obviously still believes Cruz was directly responsible for sending a nude modeling photo of his wife to people in Utah. But the idea that he “didn’t do anything” is laughable. Here’s the tweet he RT’d with an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz and the message “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Also, the part about spilling the beans is a reference to Trump’s explicit threat (in an earlier tweet which he’d sent himself) to introduce an attack on Heidi Cruz’s mental health into the campaign:
Right after addressing the Heidi Cruz argument, Trump moved on to the allegations about Cruz’ father saying, “I don’t know his father, I met him once. I think he’s a lovely guy…All I did was was I pointed out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast. Now Ted never denied that it was his father…” He continues on this track for another minute, saying the National Enquirer has credibility, deserves Pulitzer prizes and claiming no one ever denied the story.
Trump has made this exact claim before, which is why there is already a fact-check at the Washington Post (from 2 1/2 months ago) giving the claim four Pinocchios. Here was the Post’s conclusion the last time Trump said this:
Trump is once again making a ridiculous claim. The story he touted was denied in print — and then repeatedly debunked. By claiming that it was not denied, he continues to suggest there is some possible truth to a claim that is flat-out false.
Here’s Trump’s complete riff on Cruz: