The Big Conversation
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz failed to endorse Donald Trump for president in a controversial primetime speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Wednesday night — angering delegates enough that some booed him before he left the stage.
As the Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reported from Cleveland, “Cruz’s remarks amounted to a decisive non-endorsement of his party’s standard-bearer, with whom the Texas senator bitterly clashed during the primaries. By the time Cruz was done speaking, delegates appeared to be in uniform revolt.”
At the start of the speech, Cruz congratulated his former primary opponent for receiving the Republican nomination, but otherwise avoided mentioning him, opting instead to praise his party and criticize the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama. Cruz also, Svitek writes, “provided a general criteria for whom should lead the country”: “Leaders who stand for principle. Unite us all behind shared values. Cast aside anger for love.”
Reactions to the speech were mixed. Politico called it an “act of defiance promises to be a defining moment in Cruz’s political career” and reported that Texas delegate Shaun Ireland said it worked against party unity: “There was so much good feeling and unity at this convention for three days, and Ted Cruz just came in and cravenly threw it against a brick wall just so he could set himself up for 2020.”
The Tribune’s Ross Ramsey, meanwhile, suggests that if Cruz runs in the next presidential election, “voters will look back at this week as the start of the campaign.”
Trib Must Reads
Texas Voter ID Law Violates Voting Rights Act, Court Rules, by Jim Malewitz — Texas’ voter identification law violates the U.S. law prohibiting racial discrimination in elections, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Declares Support For Donald Trump, by Patrick Svitek — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Wednesday he supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and that is is "not a close call" between the billionaire and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Fort Worth Revises Transgender Student Guidelines, by Isabelle Taft — The Fort Worth Independent School District issued new guidelines on Wednesday for accommodating transgender students, pleasing Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Education Officials Point Fingers over College Readiness, by Kiah Collier — The strained relationship between the state’s higher and public education leaders were on full display Wednesday as Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes told the State Board of Education it isn't doing enough to prepare students for college.
Rural Landowners May Sue TxDOT Over Toll Road Plan, by Madlin Mekelburg — Bill Voss said he is prepared to sue the Texas Department of Transportation over the agency's handling of proposed routes for a toll road that would cut across his land in Grimes County. Several frustrated neighbors may join him.
Dan Patrick Wants "Full Tape" of Town Hall Appearance Released, by Patrick Svitek — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants ABC to release video of his full appearance at a town hall last week with President Barack Obama, saying the video was deceptively edited by the news network.
Donald Trump Jr. Coming to Texas to Raise Money for Father, by Patrick Svitek — Donald Trump Jr., the son of the Republican presidential nominee, is coming to Texas to raise money for his dad following the GOP national convention.
Ted Cruz Thanks Supporters as Donald Trump Looms — Literally, by Patrick Svitek — Ted Cruz convened hundreds of supporters Wednesday morning on the Lake Erie waterfront in Cleveland with the goal of simply thanking them but could not avoiding being overshadowed by presidential politics — literally.
Louie Gohmert: I Convinced Trump to Meet with Ted Cruz, by Abby Livingston — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, said Wednesday that he played a key role in arranging a meeting earlier this month with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Republican nominee Donald Trump in Washington, D.C.
"Chachi Loves Trump" and Other RNC Searches (Podcast), by Ben Philpott and Jay Root — This week on The Ticket: KUT’s Ben Philpott talks with a couple of people on the ground in Cleveland at the GOP national convention including a Data Editor at Google who is tracking real-time reaction to the speeches.
Texas Capitol's Main Entrance Closed Due to Unspecified "Recent Events," by Aneri Pattani — The state Department of Public Safety has closed the main entrance to the Capitol, citing a "current threat environment" and "recent events."
Agency Staff: Texas Doesn't Need Any More Traditional Veterinary Schools, by Matthew Watkins — The staff of Texas' higher education oversight agency sees no need for a new traditional veterinary school in the state, according to a draft report on the issue.
Texplainer: Julián Castro’s Hatch Act Violation, by Madeline Conway — Our Texplainer runs down Julián Castro’s Hatch Act violation, and why the White House got to decide whether to punish a member of its own Cabinet.
The Day Ahead
• Every morning of this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the Texas Tribune is livestreaming on Facebook the Texas delegation's daily breakfast meeting, which is set to draw a who's who of Republican leaders. Check out the Tribune's Facebook page at 7 a.m., CT, to catch Thursday's headline guests. Currently scheduled to appear is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, fresh off his controversial convention speech.
• The Joint Legislative Committee on Government Facilities meets at 10 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to hear testimony on deferred maintenance and building projects in the Capitol Complex and North Austin Complex.
• The House Committee on County Affairs meets at 12:30 p.m. at Blinn College in Brenham to discuss interim charges including evaluating county cybersecurity policies, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and Child Protective Services.
• A new report, Texas Pre-K: Looking Ahead to the 2017 Legislative Session, is being released today from the Center for Public Policy Priorities. The report contains an overview of how pre-K is funded along with recommendations for improving the state’s pre-K program.
(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)
Trump on Cruz snub: 'No big deal!,' Politico
GOP precinct chair resigns over Trump, Houston Chronicle
Texans not excited by Pence, but they think he's safe, which may be even better, The Dallas Morning News
Court finds Texas voter ID law 'discriminatory.' What now?, The Associated Press
Republicans ramp up attacks on Black Lives Matter, Houston Chronicle
Texas GOP delegates sport $30K worth of donated cowboy hats, Lone Star flag shirts, The Dallas Morning News
Quote to Note
“To those listening, please don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
— U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in his highly anticipated and controversial speech to the Republican National Convention
Today in TribTalk
Words do matter, Dan Patrick — yours included, by Chuck Smith — At a time when this state and nation need leaders who can bring us together to help build our way out of darkness, Patrick has been ready to blame those caught in the fire.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• Life on the Border: Rhetoric or Reality? on Aug. 4 at The Centennial Club in McAllen
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin
• TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center