WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz maintained his resolve Tuesday to not endorse Donald Trump, despite meeting with the GOP nominee's running mate near the U.S. Capitol.
Cruz spoke to reporters outside of the Senate GOP campaign headquarters, where Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence met with GOP senators. Pence endorsed Cruz in the crucial Indiana primary, where he serves as governor.
Many thought Pence, who served several years in Congress before becoming governor, might persuade Cruz to come over to the Trump side. That was not to be on Tuesday.
"We had a very good meeting. Mike Pence is a good man — he's a friend," Cruz said, according to multiple news reports. "He’s a strong conservative. I was grateful for his strong leadership and his strong support, and we had a good and productive conversation."
Asked if he would endorse Trump, Cruz shifted his comments to the Democratic presidential nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"I will say this: Recent weeks have made clear that Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States," Cruz said. "When you see Hillary Clinton stand up and describe tens of millions of Americans as 'deplorables,' that level of contempt from a candidate for the people is really disappointing."
"It’s a level of condescension, Hillary has admitted that she views much of the country essentially as flyover country," he added. "That is not the respect for the American people we expect from our president."
Cruz, a former 2016 presidential candidate, incited anger throughout the GOP when he spoke at the Republican National Convention in July and did not endorse Trump.
It was not always icy between the two men: Only one year and one week ago, Cruz and Trump appeared together as the headline speakers at a rally in Washington held in opposition to President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.
But in the time since, Trump insulted Cruz's wife and father. The Texas senator cited that as a reason for withholding his endorsement at the GOP convention.
Read related coverage from the Tribune:
- U.S. Sen. John Cornyn declines to endorse Cruz for re-election.
- As Ted Cruz returns to the U.S. Capitol and the job he was working so hard to transcend — rank-and-file senator — he will likely be in hostile territory.
- The Trump family is scheduled to make a major fundraising swing through Texas next week.