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Three Little Words and Trump's Big Mistake

Mr. Trump's treatment of Heidi Cruz made an endorsement from Sen. Cruz impossible.

By Will Offensicht  |  July 21, 2016

In his convention speech, Sen. Cruz stirred up a tempest among the "Ever-Trump" faction when he did not endorse Mr. Trump for President of the United States.

This, despite the fact that he had long ago promised to support the eventual Republican nominee, as had Mr. Trump and the rest of the candidates, including several others who have since declined to keep their word by supporting Mr. Trump, the nominee.

In a minimalistic nod to his longstanding promise, Mr. Cruz indicated generic support for Mr. Trump's candidacy by hinting, in effect, that Mr. Trump is preferable to "Crooked Hillary," but he did not "endorse" him. The "Ever Trump" faction booed him off the stage and has been critical of his "disloyalty" ever since.

As we're fond of pointing out, words have meaning. Let's explore three words which apply to this situation:

The Duty To Support

The many Republican candidates were asked to "sign the pledge" which obligated them to support the eventual Republican nominee. Although he hesitated for some time, Mr. Trump eventually signed, but his signing didn't matter because he became the nominee.

Sen. Cruz's signing, and his clear anger at Mr. Trump's unnecessary attacks on Mrs. Cruz, made it an object of speculation whether he would keep the pledge he had made. Sen. Cruz's vivid reminder of our obligation to support someone who would nominate Supreme Court judges who support the Constitution suggests that he plans to keep his promise and vote for Mr. Trump.  But he couldn't bring himself to actually come out and say even that much.

The Stupidity of Mr.Trump

A lot of Republicans are angry at Sen. Cruz for weaseling out of his promise, but in fairness, this unfortunate situation can be laid at the feet of none other than Mr. Trump himself.

Midway through the campaign, and for no visible reason, Mr. Trump implicitly called Mrs. Cruz ugly by posting unflattering pictures of her online, in contrast to the all-too-apparent charms of his own wife Melania. Even at the time, we couldn't see how that furthered his campaign against Sen. Cruz.

Having conclusively defeated Sen. Cruz, it is incomprehensible to us why Mr. Trump has not apologized to him for this unnecessary personal insult. Legendary Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as was his practice, explained constructive leadership attitudes for all possible situations: 

In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill.

 - Sir Winston Churchill

Mr. Trump defeated Sen. Cruz in the competition for the nomination. At this point, Mr. Churchill advised him to show magnanimity, if only because Mr. Trump needs all the support against "Crooked Hillary" he can find, but Mr. Trump chose otherwise.

Most likely, Sen. Cruz would have accepted any form of public apology for Mr. Trump's clearly ill-considered attacks on his wife, and then both endorsed and supported Mr. Trump.  Having offered Mr. Cruz a prime speaking slot at the convention, Mr. Trump did not apologize. That made it it impossible for Sen. Cruz to go one iota beyond his prior pledge and "endorse" Mr. Trump.

The Fidelity of Mr. Cruz

Sen. Cruz is a strongly-declared Christian. The much-married Mr. Trump may not understand this, but sincere Christians believe that their marriage vows are made publicly before Almighty God, Who takes a dim view of people who don't keep promises to Him:

When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

 - Deuteronomy 23:21

A devout Christian who commits adultery or fails to support or uphold his or her spouse betrays the spouse and betrays sacred vows made to God Himself.  Sen. Cruz has made it plain that he holds to this point of view.  Whether you agree with him or not, he has generally attempted to live up to these standards throughout his career.

Having promised before God to defend and protect his wife, there was no way in which Sen. Cruz could possibly "endorse" Mr. Trump. How could such a man "declare one's public approval or support of" a man who had so publicly attacked his wife while keeping his vows to God?

Sen. Cruz may have caused an awkward situation in the party, but he did not create the breach, nor could he be the one to close it with honor.  Mr. Trump could have, but chose not to.  What does this mean?