After a non-endorsement from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) drew persistent boos Wednesday night from an irritable Republican National Committee crowd, Newt Gingrich made an off-the-cuff effort to get the evening back on track.
Cruz inflamed attendees by not explicitly endorsing his former 2016 rival. Even though Gingrich took the stage amid residual boos, the former House speaker praised all the ex-2016 contenders for their role in the convention.
“With no requirement for endorsement, [Trump] encouraged his competitors to speak once again,” he said. “Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Scott Walker, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz have all responded to Donald comes generosity.”
Gingrich continued: “So, to paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the Constitution of the United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket.”
None of those statements were included in Gingrich’s prepared remarks supplied to reporters by the convention committee, giving the appearance that they were added last-minute as a response to Cruz.
The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza captured a shot of Gingrich’s TelePrompTer which suggested the former lawmaker was expecting Cruz to more forcefully back Trump.
“Senator Ted Cruz in particular made the key point that we need to elect the Trump-Pence Republican ticket,” the monitor read.
The Texas senator mentioned his party’s nominee by name just once during his lengthy address, and the crowd began loudly voicing their disapproval with chants of “We want Trump!” when Cruz urged delegates to “vote your conscience.”
This post has been updated.