So when Ted Cruz came out last night I wanted him to do well. I really did. What happened could not have been expected. We should’ve. But we didn’t.
The immovable pieces were there. Cruz is still Cruz. He’s not malleable. He’s hard as steel and willing to stand alone against anyone and everyone. That is both his strength and his shortcoming. And then you had Trump who has, as Inigo Montoya is said to have, “an overdeveloped sense of vengeance.” And he is more than willing to make a mockery of anything and anyone if he feels wronged.
Let’s face it, when Cruz started talking he was awesome. The thought crossed my mind that this might be one of those moments where people thought about what might have been if they’d gone with Cruz. He was pitch perfect in his speech and the folks were eating it up.
And then you had this first inkling that strange things were afoot at the Circle K when Trump entered the bowels of the convention hall and the cameras went to him for about 15 seconds while Cruz was still talking. It was weird. And I didn’t understand it at that moment.
And then you had the screen behind Cruz going crazy with technical malfunctions for a few minutes. It didn’t happen to any other candidate during the night that I saw. I know they’ll say it was just a technical malfunction but whether it was intentional or not it contributed to the surreal nature of the event.
And then Cruz got all Cruz-y. At just the part of the speech where the endorsement was supposed to go, Cruz veered around it. And Trump was not having any of it.
When the boos first started, I thought it was organic. I thought it was an honest reaction. But it wasn’t. It was Trump’s people whooping and hollering and booing to get the crowd going. Because here’s the thing. Trump knew that Cruz wasn’t endorsing and he wasn’t happy about it. So he got the crowd rollicking against Cruz, attempting to boo him off the stage. And at the denouement of the speech, Trump actually entered the hall while Cruz was still attempting to deliver his speech. It was nuts.
It was pure WWE. All the cameras panned to Trump and you didn’t even see Cruz leave the stage. It was all staged for effect.
I can’t for the life of me understand why Trump would do this except for the fact that he’s Trump and believes that all publicity is good publicity. As far as Cruz goes, I absolutely understand why he wouldn’t endorse. Trump called his wife ugly and accused his father of killing JFK. And he called him a liar every day for a month. And Cruz doesn’t believe that Trump is a good man who’s a fit leader. So the question is why would he endorse?
This was the craziest moment I’ve ever seen at a convention but it was revealing of who these two men were. One man who lives to rile up a crowd. And the other who seems to live to stand up to them. On second thought, how could this not happen?
My first thought is that it was amateur hour and that this is what happens when you don’t plan things out. Until you realize that it was all planned out. It was immature. Not amateur.