Initially, Cruz was a fan of Donald Trump. Then, right at the end of his campaign, he criticized him at every turn. But, despite what Cruz said about the soon-to-be Republican Presidential nominee, Trump asked Cruz to speak at the convention. While some, especially Democrats, call it hypocritical, it’s exactly what just about every nominee from every political party has done for some of their opponents.
“Any candidate who would be unwilling to bring former opponents into the fold to help build the tent would be foolish,” said Deidre Delisi, partner and political strategist with Delisi Communications. “And it’s a smart move by Donald Trump.”
Smart, because Cruz’s appearance could help bring some of his supporters, especially Evangelicals, to Trump.
“The Republicans right now are not in an enviable position,” said St. Edward’s University Professor Brian Smith. “The Electoral College doesn’t favor them. So for Ted Cruz, him supporting Donald Trump is something the Republicans certainly need, if they’re going to make it competitive.”
While Cruz is considered by many to be the Republican standard-bearer in Texas, Delisi said he may not be the most important Texas speaker in Cleveland this week.
“In my mind, this is the big news for Texas in this convention: It’s Michael McCaul getting a primetime speaking spot,” she said.
The Austin congressman heads up the House Homeland Security Committee, and Delisi said McCaul’s expertise will be key for the GOP to hammer home their message on terrorism and security.
“Because not only is he the most knowledgeable person in our party on these issues, he’s also been a leading voice for Republicans in attacking Hillary Clinton and her policies and approach to counter-terrorism and homeland security.”
Still, neither Cruz nor McCaul have formally endorsed Trump – although that could happen at the convention. Or, maybe not.
Delisi said it looks like the convention is shaping up to be focused more on attacking Hillary Clinton and less on promoting Donald Trump – which could let those Texans and other speakers off the hook.