Trump extends olive branch, and speaking slot, to former rival Cruz

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Ted Cruz said Thursday he's accepted an invitation from Donald Trump to speak at the Republican National Convention, in a sign the two former rivals are moving to bury the hatchet after a brutal primary battle.

“Donald asked me to speak at the Republican Convention and I told him I'd be happy to do so," the Texas senator told reporters after a meeting between Trump and Republican senators.

Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier confirmed in a statement that Trump asked Cruz to speak, and Cruz said he would be "happy to do so."

His camp stressed there was no discussion of an endorsement. The fact Trump extended an offer to speak without a commitment of support marks a break from Trump’s recent practice.

"If there's no endorsement, then I would not invite them to speak," the presumptive Republican nominee told The New York Times last week.

But an endorsement may have been too much to seek at this stage. For months, Trump offered Cruz a daily dose of insults, most notably the moniker "Lyin’ Ted," as Cruz fired back with equal vigor.

Another of Trump’s former rivals, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, had indicated he’d be willing to speak but changed his mind in order to stay in the Sunshine State to campaign for re-election. After remaining silent for weeks, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, another primary foe, confirmed to CNN affiliate WKOW that he would speak.

A prime-time speech from Cruz may not exactly fall in line with Trump’s promise to put “some showbiz” into the convention, but his presence on stage could help ease the concerns of conservatives.

With only a few weeks remaining before the July 18 kickoff in Cleveland, the air of mystery surrounding the list of speakers was beginning to clear.

Over the weekend, Trump tweeted “the speakers slots at the Republican Convention are totally filled, with a long waiting list of those that want to speak - Wednesday release,” though no list has been released yet.

But he later confirmed Indiana Hoosiers basketball coach Bobby Knight is set to speak. Trump also announced that his children Ivanka, Tiffany, Don, and Eric will have speaking roles and his wife, Melania, also will take to the stage at the Quicken Loans Arena.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst has landed a prime-time slot, even though she backed out of consideration earlier this week to be Trump’s running mate.