“We deserve leaders who stand for principle, who unite us all behind shared values, who cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect from everybody.”
These are the words Ted Cruz uttered yesterday only to be met by boos and upset convention goers, angry that he did not endorse the Republican nominee and call for party unity. Many Donald Trump supporters considered it an ungracious act and a poor show of sportsmanship.
Sam Clovis, Trump’s campaign manager, referenced a Republican legend to show how important coming together was. “And I think what a lot of people don’t realize, Ronald Reagan gave one of the most gracious speeches ever in a political environment where he came up and endorsed Gerald Ford,” Clovis said.
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Many pundits echoed the same sentiments, implying that Reagan put aside his ego for the greater good. But the fact that he “endorsed” Ford is more theory and speculation than it is truth.
Craig Shirley, a well-known Reagan historian, documented the 1976 campaign extensively. “He spoke of many things, about freedom and tyranny and the future,” Shirley wrote in a blog post in March. “He did not speak of, or even endorse the candidacy of, Gerald R. Ford for president of the United States.”
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The situation was obviously much different back then. Ford and Reagan were civil with one another, while Cruz and Trump have had a dicey couple of months. When The Texas senator addressed his state’s delegation Thursday, he said, “I am not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and attacks my father.”
Cruz was adamant in an ABC interview that he wouldn’t speak negatively about the Republican nominee, and that standing on solid principles was the most important thing.
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