Ted Cruz's campaign manager responded on Thursday to Chris Christie's criticism of Cruz's convention speech, saying that the New Jersey governor had "turned over his political testicles long ago."
After Cruz declined to endorse Republican nominee Donald Trump in his speech on Wednesday, which was met with boos, Christie called Cruz's speech "selfish."
“That guy turned over his political testicles long ago," Jeff Roe said on the Chris Stigall Show on Philadelphia radio. "So I don’t take what he has to say with any meaning. You know, he embarrassed himself pretty quickly in this.”
In the interview, Roe said that the booing began after an "active whip operation got active."
“Mr. Trump made a call two days ago to Ted and wished him luck at the convention and on his speech, asking him for an endorsement and Ted directly declined," Roe said. "And Mr. Trump heard that. And then we submitted the speech at 6:31 and there was some back and forth, they clearly would’ve liked us to go further and there was discussions had as recently as walking on the stage and we delivered the speech and 95% of the way through the speech the active whip operation got active and started demanding to endorse and booing and it obviously got sideways at the end.”
Asked if he meant that the Trump campaign was spurring delegates to boo, Roe replied, "“I don’t know. There were certainly people being ginned up to boo. But this isn’t a whining moment at all. This isn’t a whining moment at all. It was their convention. Do I think they laid some perfectly executed trap? I think, you know, because the standing ovation at the beginning was so long. We had a 12 minute slot. You know, I think the speech went 21 minutes, a full 6 of that was applause , both unknown that there would be that much standing ovation at the beginning for that long and then of course the end was not anticipated.”
Later in the interview, Roe further defended Cruz's decision not to endorse his party's nominee, including from Christie's argument that Cruz pledged to do so.
“Let’s just go through history here and time. Ted didn’t sign a pledge," Roe said. "He didn’t sign a pledge to support a nominee by convention. You know, this speech went further than Ronald Reagan went on Gerald Ford. It went further than Kennedy did for Carter."
"Look, there’s a couple outs here," he continued. "The outs are that Donald Trump wins. I think he can. I actually think he should, as far as the political dynamics of this go, how bad Hillary Clinton is. I don’t know if he will. I don’t know if the campaign’s coming together in a way to pull that effort off but he should. He’ll either win and be a great president or lose.”
Roe said that Cruz's refusal to endorse Trump was about upholding his principles not positioning himself for a future presidential.
“Ted Cruz is running for reelection in 2018," Roe said. "If this was a 2020 power move by Ted Cruz, this would be the easiest speech to give, is to endorse. So this is, it shouldn’t be lost on any of your listeners that this is not in defiance. We’re not gonna speak ill of the nominee. That’s not what this is about. We’re not gonna rub anybody’s noses in it. He didn’t do press all week leading up to this. We didn’t participate in our delegates’ fight to unbind and free the delegates. This is a guy that has a core set of principles and he’s not willing to waver those in the face of intense pressure.”
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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