CLEVELAND – Wednesday night was easily the most interesting so far at the Republican convention. Texas senator Ted Cruz stole the show with his conspicuous non-endorsement of Donald Trump. The reactions have been mixed. Cruz's intransigence didn't play well in the room, but some, like The New Republic's Brian Beutler, think it was a smart tactical move by Cruz. If it pays off and Trump loses badly in November, Cruz will look like the smart guy in the room who was playing the long game by refusing to fall in line behind a dangerous pseudo-conservative.
Needless to say, the Trump campaign was not impressed by Cruz's bold stand. This photo of the Trump family taken during Cruz's speech says it all. I reached out to Roger Stone, longtime political operative and vocal surrogate for the Trump campaign, to gauge his reaction to Cruz's rebelliousness. It was a “huge mistake,” Stone said. “He [Cruz] could have set himself up for a future run as Nixon did by endorsing Goldwater. Instead he exempts himself from the future nomination by acting like Nelson Rockefeller and refusing to endorse.”
Naturally, Stone didn't leave it there. Never afraid to speak his mind, he told me what he really thinks of Cruz: “Lyin' Ted's a duplicitous prick who signed a pledge to endorse the nominee.” You won't hear anyone officially affiliated with the Trump campaign say this, but I'd wager this captures their feelings rather well.