"LION TED CRUZ": Twitter reacts to Cruz's dramatic RNC non-endorsement of Trump

"In 2020, Cruz will be the only one able to credibly claim he's the conscience of the party," wrote Jon Favreau

Published July 21, 2016 2:36AM (EDT)

Ted Cruz   (Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)
Ted Cruz (Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)

The big story of three of the Republican National Convention is Ted Cruz, who shocked conventioneers by declining to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in his keynote speech, instead telling Americans, "Vote your conscience."

The pro-Trump convention crowd reacted swiftly and harshly as it realized that Cruz would leave the stage without issuing an endorsement:

Many observers immediately read Cruz's public refusal to endorse Trump as a dramatic gambit positioning the Texas senator for another run at the presidency in 2020.

Some anti-Trump conservatives took a measure of satisfaction in Cruz's effort to publicly embarrassment Trump, whom Cruz failed to overtake in a heated Republican primary race that devolved into insults and name-calling.

Before Cruz's speech hijacked the night's proceedings, the RNC agenda often focused on criticism of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, with speeches from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and a recorded message from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio attacking the former Secretary of State. The raucous convention crowd responded with persistent chants of "Lock her up!"

Undercard speakers earlier in the evening included Florida Gov. Rick Scott and talk radio host Laura Ingraham:

By Michael Garofalo

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Donald Trump Elections 2016 Rnc 2016 Ted Cruz