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CNN NEWSROOM

Cruz Faces Texas Delegates After Trump Snub; Cruz: Won't Support Those Who Attack My Wife & Father. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired July 21, 2016 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:00:00] CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: It is the day after the major diss on the convention stage. You see Texas Senator Ted Cruz, he's speaking to his home state delegation.

Let's listen.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: What's it about? What are you fighting for? One of the things I love -- one of the things I love -- thank you, sir. God bless you.

One of the things I love about this Texas delegation is these are women and men of principle.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: It has been the greatest privilege of my life to represent each of you in the United States Senate. When I was sworn in as a senator, I took an oath. An oath to defend the constitution.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: That's an obligation I take very seriously. That is an oath I intend to honor every single day.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: In addition to the Constitution, I have an obligation to every man and woman here, every man and woman in the state of Texas, I work for you. I work for you and you have every right, and I would say even a duty to hold me accountable. That's I'm here this morning. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to turn tail and run, but that ain't going to happen.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Now I suspect most if not all of you all understand that these folks holding cameras are not our friends.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?

CRUZ: They're not here because they want to have a beer with you. They're not here because they're planning to vote Republican in November. And so there is no story they want to write more than Republicans in disarray, convention on fire. Everything going bad. That's what they're going to write. If you notice that every night, that's going to be the story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen. Not true.

CRUZ: Well, it's up to us to determine whether it's true or not. I do think the American people are watching what we do and not what they say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And I can tell you last night, when I addressed the convention, I addressed the convention because Donald Trump asked me to. And when Donald asked me to, he didn't ask me to endorse, and indeed three days ago I talked on the phone with him and told him I'm not going to endorse you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

CRUZ: Well, let me answer that. Sir, I'm -- sir, I'm happy to answer that, but I'm not going to engage in a screaming fight. And indeed I'm going to do questions and answers right now. What I wanted to do last night was lay out the principles I believe we should stand for as Republicans.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: In that speech last night, I did not say a single negative word about Donald Trump.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

CRUZ: And I'll tell you this morning and going forward, I don't intend to say negative things about Donald Trump.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: The media would love me to. I promise you, every question, when I step off this stage, is going to please say something horrible about Donald Trump. Come on. It makes good news. What I did say is what all of us should believe and why all of us got into politics in the first place. I started the speech by congratulating Donald on winning the nomination, by name.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And then I encouraged folks here and at home that we deserve leaders who will stand for principle, who will do what they say. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And I made a particular point to address conservatives at home. Listen, I assume there is a reason the Trump campaign wanted me to speak. They saw my speech several hours before I gave it. But they knew exactly what I was going to say.

[09:05:04] I assume the reason they wanted me to speak is they believed my delivering that message would encourage people to come out and vote, and they believed it would help. If they didn't, I was perfectly happy to get on a plane and go home. But in that speech last night, I asked conservatives at home, I asked Americans at home, do not stay home in November.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And I laid out a standard. I said we should vote for candidates that you trust to defend our freedom, and to be faithful to the Constitution.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Now I'm going to tell you right that's a standard I expect to be applied to me. I expect to be applied to every candidate on the ballot from president down to dogcatcher.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: This isn't just a team sport. We don't just put on red jerseys or blue jerseys and yehey. This is about principles and ideals. This is about standing for what we believe in.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And you know, listen, I have to say, it was somewhat dismay that apparently some of Donald's biggest partisans, right down front, when they heard that people should vote for someone you can trust to defend our freedom and defend our conscience, defend the Constitution, immediately they began booing. I've got to say that's a little bit troubling what they're saying.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And I'm reminded of an old story of a man who's in the middle of a huge lawsuit, bet the company case that means everything to him. His lawyer calls at the end of the trial, and he said justice prevailed. The client immediately says appeal immediately.

(LAUGHTER) CRUZ: Listen, I actually thought later last night Newt had it exactly right. We want to win this race. Newt stood up and said you know what, the standard Ted laid out, who will defend freedom, who will be faithful to the Constitution, Newt said Donald Trump is the only candidate that meets that standard.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: I'll tell you this. If we want to win this election, that's the only way we're winning this election.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CROWD: Trump. Trump. Trump. Trump.

CRUZ: And we're going to win this election by making the case to the American people. We're not going to win this election by yelling and screaming and attacking people.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And so with that, I'm happy to answer any and all of your questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to vote for Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His vote is private.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Well, thank you, sir, for your question. And I'll answer it the same way I've answered it many, many times when our friends in the press have asked which is that I am doing what millions of Americans are doing. I am watching. I am listening. And as I told you last night, the standard that I intend to apply is which candidate I trust to defend our freedom and be faithful to the Constitution.

I can tell you, I'm not voting for Hillary.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Hillary failed that test profoundly and I will note a significant part of my speech last night was laying out the incredible damage of Hillary Clinton's vision. But you know, some of you all may recall when I ran for Senate, a lot of people here worked very hard in that race.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: And there were a lot of folks in that race that said, you know what, you've got to vote for the lieutenant governor. [09:10:03] He is next in line. It's his turn. This is a party. Be a

team player. He is the one who is next in line. And an awful lot of Texans took a different view.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

CRUZ: This, I've laid out the standard I'm looking for and I am hopeful. I'm going to be listening tonight. I'm going to be listening to Donald's speech, I'm going to be listening to how he and the campaign conducts themselves every day from now until November. And that's what I believe the American are going to be doing also. And the way to win as I tried with all my might to lay out last night is not to just scream and yell and attack as a traitor anyone that would dare question our candidates.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Yes, sir?

(INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question about Donald Trump, do you feel anyone else meets that criteria?

CRUZ: So I answered it with as much as I'm going to say which is that I am watching and listening to make that decision. And when I talked about holding people accountable, I think that applies to all of us. That is what I'm doing. I am watching and listening. The election isn't today. And I am listening to the candidate. Now what I don't intend to do is go out and throw rocks at Donald. I don't intend to criticize Donald.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: I intend, like a voter, like all of us, just to listen and make the best judgment I can. And everyone of us I think has to follow our conscience. When friends of mine, when supporters of mine are asking what to do, the answer I give to everyone is follow your conscience, do what you believe is right. Do what you believe defends your children and defends this country.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can unite this party by no other man in this party? Even more than our candidate by you using a few words and we need to do it now. We cannot do it in November.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unite. And we need to stand with you and you need to stand with us.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: So, sir, I appreciate your comments. And I have to confess, what you said would be easy to do. How many people here are frustrated with politicians who say anything?

Let me -- I'm going to answer your question. Listen, there are a lot of options that I could have taken. That politically would have been a heck of a lot easier. There is option number one, which a whole bunch of people took, which is turn tail and run, and don't come to the convention. A bunch of people that did that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

CRUZ: I ain't one of them.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: There is another option. Let me tell you the politically easy option is to stand up and pledge your allegiance to whoever the party nominee might be no matter what. If you are an elected official, that's the right political outcome. And I'm going to tell you something, sir, I'm not going to lie to you. Whether you want me to or not, I'm not going to lie to you. And what I said last night is what I believe. So yes.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't say to support Donald Trump. I said support the party. The party.

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: You know I -- OK, so your point was support the party. The Republican Party, and I will point --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The party has spoken.

CRUZ: Sir, sir, I'm happy to answer questions, but I'm not going to engage in a screaming match. I actually believe in treating people with civility and respect.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

[09:15:02] CRUZ: When it comes to supporting the party, number one, the four years I've been in office, there were an awful lot of elected officials in this room and across the party and across the country that I have traveled the country, I traveled the state of Texas campaigning for, raising money for, fighting to help elect Republicans.

But let me be very clear. This isn't a social club. It is not simply Reagan gave a powerful year 40 years ago where he said the Republican Party is not a fraternal order. It's not just my club. We either stand for shared principles, or we're not worth anything.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me ask folks here a related question. How many of you all would like to see more leaders stand up to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell?

(APPLAUSE)

I want to point out to folks here, you're saying and you saw last night, why so few elected leaders do. Because any time you stand up to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, leadership screams support the team, you're Republican. We are the leadership. Sit down, shut up. Just support the team.

Damn it, if that's the price, I I'm going to honor the commitments to the voters, instead.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Cruz, thank you for putting your hat in the ring. Now, you were asked to give a piece of advice to our nominee, Donald Trump, what would you tell him to woo and draw and attack the conscience, the principles the hard constitutionalists to rally around his banner?

CRUZ: I think that's a fabulous question. I'll tell you, that is what I endeavor to do in every word of that speech last night. That was the speech last night.

You want to know another way to look at the speech last night. An outline, my very best effort, as an outline to Donald Trump and their campaign, this is how you win.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, I was up last night on Twitter, reading through different articles online, and one of them, I read had a word cloud of last night versus prior nights of the convention. If you look at the speech I gave, the word, the dominant word, about 50 times bigger, is the word freedom.

The prior night's work clouds, the dominant word, anyone guess what it was?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump.

CRUZ: Trump. You know what, if we go to November and the dominant word, the voters here is Trump or for that matter, if the dominant word is Hillary or e-mails server, we're going to lose.

(APPLAUSE)

Do you want to know how we win? We will win if the dominant message the voters hear is freedom. This is about your life and your kids. That's how you win an election, by deserving to win an election.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Ted.

You are the voice of the conservatives, and I want to ask you a question about a issue we had earlier this week that is very difficult for a lot of us, and that's the rules of the party. The problem is, our rules have evolved in principle conservative candidates, we need to change in the future. Do you agree this party must get back to the founding principles, like changing the rules if every candidate had a chance to win the nomination?

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Well, thank you for that question. You know, I will point out the rules we have are not an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

CRUZ: We have those rules, because people in power want those rules.

[09:20:02] And unsurprisingly when people in power write rules, they are designed to protect and perpetuate those in power.

Now, on the rules fights that happened on the rules committee, I very consciously stayed out of there. I wasn't in Cleveland. I was out of town. I didn't arrive until the fight was over.

(VIDEO GAP)

Grassroots, the one comment I made, I said, you know, it seems to me that Republicans ought to be picking the Republican nominee.

(APPLAUSE)

And as a voter, I think reforms that enhance the ability of Republicans to choose the Republican nominee, I think reforms that enhance the grassroots are beneficial reforms.

And so, any particular rules issue, I didn't get engaged. I trust the delegates. I trust you to make those determinations. I will say when those in power use raw power to try to stifle and silence dissent, that's not conduct befitting of a party that was founded by Abraham Lincoln.

Two more questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you senator for standing with Israel.

Are your delegates and alternates -- we are so upset that the Trump people booed you when we are cheering for Trump at this point, at this convention. So I want to apologize for what they did to you.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The never Trump people say that we should write your name in, and I'm saying I think that's a vote for Hillary. What is your opinion on that? We will take direction from you.

CRUZ: Well, thank you. Thank you for the question. Thank you for the encouragement.

Let me say to you, thank you for standing for Israel as well.

Listen, I am not encouraging anybody to write my name in. That is not something I'm suggesting that anybody do.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm not a candidate in this race. We suspended our race on May 3rd. I was very clear. We didn't prevail. I wanted to prevail. We worked hard to, but we didn't.

And we lost the race. I recognize that. I respect the democratic process. I respect the will of the people.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning. I supported you and we are (INAUDIBLE) we can agree to disagree, and that's okay. But you signed a pledge that said you would support the party nominee. (INAUDIBLE) said that your word is your bond and if you didn't believe that you we're going (INAUDIBLE) do it at the time, then you shouldn't have said it, because your word is your bond. (INAUDIBLE) delegates here.

I supported you too, I expect you to keep your word and say that your word is your bond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here here!

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You shouldn't have said it.

CRUZ: Well, thank you, ma'am. And thank you for speaking and speaking from your heart.

I will tell you, when I stood on that debate stage, and they asked every candidate there, if you don't win, will you support the nominee. I raised my hand and raised my hand enthusiastically, with full intention of doing exactly that.

And I'll tell you the day that pledge was abrogated. The day that was abrogated was the day this became personal. I said at the time, and 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 who attack my wife and attack my father.

(APPLAUSE)

[09:25:04] 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.

(APPLAUSE) And I will note, I will note, sir, you're making crying signs in the back. I will note, sir, that you might have a similar view if someone were attacking your wife. In fact, I hope you would. I hope you would.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is politics.

CRUZ: No, this is not politics. I will tell the truth. I will not malign. I will not insult. I will not attack. I will tell the truth.

This is not a game. It is not politics. Right and wrong matters. We have not abandoned who we are in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

No, sir, I do not believe that is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

And let me say this also. If anyone here thinks that I was eager to come to this convention --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vote for Hillary.

CRUZ: Thank you, sir.

If anyone thinks I was eager to come to this convention, and give a speech laying out, supporting a great many of the policy positions laid out by Donald Trump, laying out why Hillary Clinton is utterly unfit to be president, despite the fact that neither he nor his campaign has ever taken back a word have said about my family. I promise you, I was not eager to do that. That was not something I was happy to do. It was something that I thought I had an obligation to do.

I had an obligation to go and stand and speak, and I will say what does it say when you stand up and say vote your conscience? And rabid supporters of our nominee begin screaming what a horrible thing to say.

(APPLAUSE)

If we can't make the case for the American people that voting for our party's nominee is consistent with voting your conscience, it is consistent with defending freedom and being faithful to the Constitution, then we don't deserve to win. That's how you win elections.

(APPLAUSE)

All right, one final question. Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I met you at the church of the king while you were running for senator. My husband was running for Congress. I asked you, are you a man of your word? You said yes, ma'am, I am. I asked you if you don't keep your word, and I addressed you whenever.

CRUZ: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said that I could.

I know that many things were campaign. Ugly things. Terrible thing that should not have taken pledge. I believe what you said, you defend your family, your wife, your marriage, your father, and I voted for you, I love you dearly and I have great respect for you.

However --

CRUZ: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: However, however, I happen to say that this is not about Ted Cruz or Heidi Cruz or Rafael Cruz. It is about the United States!

(APPLAUSE)

CROWD: USA, USA, USA!

CRUZ: Ma'am, ma'am, I agree with you emphatically. It is about the United States. I will point out that everyday in the Senate, I have spent every waking moment fighting for this country, fighting for you, fighting to honor the promises I made.

And by the way, there is a reason why others don't, because the reaction in Washington, you get screened and hollered down when you follow your commitments. My speech, you do it any way, yes, and that's what I did last night.

Because last night, what I laid out last night was not a speech that was focused on me. Last night was a speech that was focused entirely on the United States of America on a path forward.