There was quite a bit of political theatre here in Cleveland Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention — and at the center of it was Senator Ted Cruz.
He was either a hero or a villain or both -- depending on your political leanings.
As you know by now -- Senator Cruz did not endorse Donald Trump in his convention speech — instead he urged Republicans to vote their conscience.
He only mentioned Trump’s name once.
And a pretty good argument could be made that Cruz launched his 2020 presidential bid on Wednesday night.
A large number of delegates tried to shout down the senator - and there were more boos than applause as he left the stage.
The RNC and the Trump Campaign expressed shock and outrage – they feigned indignation. And it was all a great big act — because they had a copy of the senator’s speech hours before.
They knew exactly what the senator was going to do. They could’ve pulled the plug. But they did not.
Now, I understand why Senator Cruz did what he did. I understand why he would not give Trump his endorsement.
Trump maligned his character and attacked the man’s family He was called “Lyin’ Ted.” The campaign went after his wife and accused his father of being involved in the JFK assassination.
Trump and his campaign minions did everything but accuse Cruz of hating puppies.
So, I can understand why Cruz would not endorse a candidate who engaged in gutter politics and campaign thuggery.
I get that.
But Senator Cruz also signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee. He even reaffirmed that pledge during the GOP debate in Detroit last March.
“Senator Cruz, yes or no – you will support Donald Trump if he is the nominee,” asked moderate Bret Baier.
“Yes, because I gave my word that I would,” Cruz replied.
Sen. Cruz broke that pledge while standing before thousands of delegates and millions of television viewers.
He spoke of unifying the Republican Party Wednesday night – but his speech may have in fact damaged that effort.
But not only did Sen. Cruz break the pledge, he also broke his word. And in my estimation – that’s worse than being a loud-mouthed blockhead.
Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.