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Cruz Invited to Ride on Air Force One to Dallas Memorial

Also, Gov. Greg Abbott forced to skip the Republican National Convention as he receives treatment for severe burns and Donald Trump Jr. holds a Dallas fundraiser July 25.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings shakes Chief of Police David Brown's hand as former President Bush, President Obama, their wives,…

President Barack Obama had an unlikely companion as he flew Tuesday to Dallas: Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who has fought the Obama administration at every turn.

Cruz joined Obama on Air Force One for a ride from Washington, D.C., to Dallas, where the two attended the memorial service for five Dallas police officers killed last week by a sniper at the conclusion of a protest against police-involved shootings elsewhere in the country.

"Senator Cruz was invited by the White House to accompany the President on Air Force One as we travel to his home state for this memorial service," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard the plane, according to a transcript. "At the time that our country is feeling so divided, I think it is important that the country's leaders are coming together across party lines despite significant political differences to emphasize a shared desire to unify the country."

Earnest added that he believed Cruz and Obama would "have a conversation on the flight." He did not say what the two were expected to discuss.

When Air Force One landed at Love Field in Dallas, Obama emerged from the plane, followed by Cruz and three other lawmakers: U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as Democratic Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas and Marc Veasey of Fort Worth.

The attack on the Dallas police officers took place in Johnson’s congressional district.

Obama spoke at the ceremony, urging Americans to reject despair as they grapple with the aftermath of the police shooting, which also left seven officers wounded. Cruz did not speak but was among the dignitaries seated behind Obama on the stage.

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will not attend the Republican National Convention as a result of severe burns he suffered on a family vacation in Wyoming, spokesman Matt Hirsch said.

Abbott was accidentally scalded with hot water last week during a vacation in Jackson Hole. A spokesman said he suffered "second- and third-degree burns" to his feet and legs.

The incident caused Abbott to miss the memorial service this week in Dallas where the president honored the five police officers killed in last week's shooting.

Abbott may be skipping the Republican National Convention, but his absence will have a minimal effect on the Texas delegation.

Abbott is neither stepping down as an at-large delegate nor chairman of the delegation, Texas GOP spokesman Michael Joyce said Thursday. That means the only real variable is who now does the roll call for Texas delegates on the floor of the convention, which is usually handled by the chairman. 

Doctors performed skin-graft surgery on Abbott on Monday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where he has remained since. He was scheduled to spend Thursday night at the hospital, according to a spokesman, John Wittman.

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Days after his father is set to accept the Republican nomination for the presidency, Donald Trump Jr. will head to Dallas on a fundraising swing.

The son of the real estate magnate and presumptive GOP nominee will headline a lunch fundraiser on Monday, July 25, in Dallas. 

"Our country is at a crossroads – America needs a new direction of leadership. As we have seen in recent weeks, our country is in dire need of a renewed trust," wrote James Van Lare, a fundraiser for the Dallas-based McIntosh Company, in an email invitation obtained by the Texas Tribune.

"This luncheon will be a unique opportunity to hear from Donald J. Trump’s eldest son in a private setting on how we can rebuild our nation’s trust in government," he added.

Requested donations and bundling range from $1,000 to $25,000 and will benefit Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee comprised of the Trump presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee and an assortment of state Republican parties.

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Ash Wright, the campaign political director for Texas Land Commissioner and Texas Republican Victory Chairman George P. Bush, is moving to state Republican Party to serve as its Texas victory director for 2016.

"I am excited to be working alongside the experienced staff at the Republican Party of Texas to reach millions of voters across our diverse state," Wright said in a statement, highlighting party goals to "make Republican gains for the next legislative session and reach deep into the African-American, Hispanic and Asian communities to expand our Party’s base."

Wright was Bush's political director over the 2014 election cycle.

Ann Marie-Birdwell, formerly statewide field director for the Texas Republicans, will be deputy victory director.

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