Cleveland — Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of Donald J.Trump in his speech to the Republican National Convention was only the first of his two messages that infuriated GOP delegates in the space of five hours late Wednesday and early Thursday.
The second came at 1:28 a.m. Thursday in an email promoting elements of his speech — and making a pitch for contributions supporting his re-election to the U.S. Senate. The subject line: “Our fight goes on.”
One of the recipients was the Connecticut GOP chairman, J.R. Romano, one of the delegates who say Cruz’s performance will haunt him.
“I just think it was unfortunate, because Sen. Cruz, he just demonstrated to me that he thinks that he’s more important than the party. He s more important than stopping Hillary Clinton,” said Romano. “I think this is going to mar his political career, his political ambition.”
Connecticut House GOP Leader Themis Klarides of Derby, who didn’t arrive here until Thursday morning, watched the speech on television, wondering if she had just witnessed the death of the Texas senator’s chances to make a second run for president in 2020.
“I certainly hope so. I never liked him,” Klarides said. “I just got a bad feeling about him, and I know I wasn’t the only one, something creepy about the guy. But put all that aside, you decide to come here? I don’t care that he didn’t say, ‘I support Donald Trump. But don’t stand up there and clearly make everybody understand you are there for your own self-serving purposes.”
Klarides said the Cruz non-endorsement may have been a distraction, but it reflected on him, not the party.
“It made it very clear who he is and what he is about,” she said. “And I hope he is sufficiently embarrassed. Nobody else is.”
Cruz was hardly embarrassed, nor was he apologetic.
“I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” Cruz said, according to a CNN account of a meeting the senator had Thursday morning with constituents.
Cruz said in his email solicitation seeking $5, $10, $25 or $50 that it is part of a larger cause:
“This fight has never been about a particular candidate or campaign, but because each of us wants to be able to tell our kids and grandkids, that we did our best for their future, and for our country.”
Cruz finished a distant third in the Connecticut primary behind Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.