DALLAS (AP) - The Texas Republican Convention began under a “Unite to Win” banner but ended with many delegates still standoffish toward Donald Trump and mourning Ted Cruz’s exit from the Republican presidential race. A rundown of one of the biggest state Republican conventions in the U.S. that wrapped up Saturday:
CRUZ STAYS SILENT ON TRUMP
Cruz didn’t mention Trump and barely alluded to November in his first public event back home since suspending his campaign. He continues to withhold endorsing his former rival even as Gov. Greg Abbott and most other state officials urged delegates to get behind the billionaire businessman. Cruz told a convention hall of hardcore supporters that he didn’t know “what the future holds.”
TRUMP SENDS A SURROGATE
The job of winning over Trump-bashing Texas delegates fell to U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, who snubbed Cruz and backed Trump long before his Senate colleague dropped out. Sessions got big applause upon recalling Trump’s promise for another border wall, saying “Isn’t that conservative?” to a crowd largely skeptical of Trump’s faithfulness to Republican principles. Before Sessions took the stage, the party chairman implored delegates heading for the exits following Cruz’s speech to stick around.
ANOTHER FIGHT WITH FEDS
The disappointed air over the convention turned fiery after the Obama administration this week delivered new directives on transgender rights in public schools. Texas’ lieutenant governor said the state was ready to forego $10 billion in federal education dollars instead of complying and the state attorney general signaled a possible lawsuit ahead.
TOUGH ANTI-GAY PLATFORM STAYS
Widely rebuked “reparative therapy” for gays is no longer recognized as legitimate and effective by the Texas GOP. But the party platform still opposes “self-motivated youth and adults” from being denied access to counseling that seeks to turn gay people straight. Efforts to scrub decades-old opposition to homosexuality as a “chosen behavior” that “must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle” also failed.
SECEDE DOESN’T SUCCEED
Texas remains part of the United States, much to the chagrin of secessionists who came closer than ever to a full convention vote on their fringe cause joining the party platform. Their “Texas Independence” shirts were a more prevalent sight than handguns holstered on the hips of delegates - who won’t be allowed to carry firearms into the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.
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