- The Washington Times - Friday, September 23, 2016

Sen. Ted Cruz announced Friday he will vote for Donald Trump for president, ending months of speculation as to whether the Texas Republican, who was Mr. Trump’s top rival in the 2016 GOP primary, would formally back Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

“After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,” Mr. Cruz said in a statement posted to his Facebook page.

“A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment,” Mr. Cruz said. “And if you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him.”

In addition to the pledge, Mr. Cruz called Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic nominee, “wholly unacceptable.”

Mr. Cruz also cited Mr. Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court justice — a list that included close Cruz friend and ally Sen. Mike Lee — as well as the differences between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton on Obamacare, energy, immigration, national security, and internet freedom.

“If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country,” Mr. Cruz said. “My conscience tells me I must do whatever I can to stop that.”

Mr. Trump said in a statement he is “greatly honored” to have Mr. Cruz’s endorsement.

“We have fought the battle and he was a tough and brilliant opponent,” Mr. Trump said. “I look forward to working with him for many years to come in order to make America great again.”

Mr. Cruz had been one of the remaining 2016 Republican presidential candidates who hadn’t formally announced support for Mr. Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Sen. Lindsey Graham have yet to do so.

During a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention in July, Mr. Cruz had encouraged delegates to vote their “conscience” and was booed once it became clear he was not going to offer a formal endorsement of Mr. Trump in the speech.

In keeping his powder dry, Mr. Cruz made a bet that the bottom might fall out, or at least that a Trump loss would be assured by this point, said Liam Donovan, a conservative writer and “never Trump” adherent.

“He is recalibrating based on the very real possibility that Trump could win, as well as a degree of blowback at home and nationally that I don’t think he fully anticipated,” Mr. Donovan said. “So he is selling off his short position at a political loss- the only question now is how long he goes, and whether the bet pays off.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican, was asked about possibly mounting a primary challenge to Mr. Cruz in 2018, when the senator faces re-election.

“Look, there’s been a lot of talk and buzz about that,” Mr. McCaul told radio host Laura Ingraham, while also saying he’s focused on getting Mr. Trump elected. “I think what he did at the convention turned off a lot of people. I mean, he pledged to support him. He broke his word.”

The day after his RNC speech, Mr. Cruz told members of the Texas delegation at the convention that the pledge he took to support the eventual GOP nominee was voided when Mr. Trump started attacking his family on the trail.

“I’m not going to get into criticizing or attacking Donald Trump, but I’ll just give you this response: I am not in the habit of supporting people that attack my wife and attack my father,” Mr. Cruz said then, repeating a similar line he had used on the campaign trail.

“And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say ‘thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father,’” he said.

On the morning of the May 3 Indiana primary, Mr. Trump had pointed out a National Enquirer story that drew a connection between Mr. Cruz’s father, Rafael, and JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Donald Trump alleges that my dad was involved in assassinating JFK,” Mr. Cruz said then in response. “Let’s be clear: this is nuts.”

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Cruz also called Mr. Trump a “pathological liar,” a “bully,” a “serial philanderer,” a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen,” and “utterly amoral.”

Ahead of the April 5 Wisconsin primary, Mr. Trump also had retweeted an unflattering image of Mr. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, next to an image of his own wife, Melania.

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