Cruz aides made late push for Trump endorsement

Cruz aides made late push for Trump endorsement
© Moriah Ratner

CLEVELAND — Just hours before Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGroup aiming to draft Beto O’Rourke unveils first 2020 video Howard Dean looking for a 'younger, newer' Democratic nominee in 2020 Congress can stop the war on science MORE took the stage for his convention speech Wednesday night, senior members of Cruz's team were still pushing him to endorse Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE

Cruz never wanted to endorse Trump and is still furious about the personal attacks the GOP presidential nominee made on his family during the primary campaign, sources familiar with the speech preparations told The Hill. 
 
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But top aides had concluded he needed to formally endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention.  

For Cruz, it was always personal.  

During the primaries, Trump repeated a tabloid conspiracy theory linking Cruz's father to the man who assassinated President Kennedy, and he tweeted a picture that ridiculed the appearance of Cruz's wife, Heidi.
 
Trump has never expressed much contrition for those actions. 
 
Still, some aides to Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, were pushing him to endorse Trump for the sake of his own political future. 
 
Cruz has indicated intentions to run for president again in 2020, and he has a team forming behind him to execute that plan. 2020 was the unspoken undertone beneath the drafting Wednesday night's speech.
 
Allies of Cruz, a number of whom have spoken privately to The Hill throughout this week, have been worried about what effect not endorsing Trump would have on the senator's future.
 
A team of about eight or nine were involved in the drafting of Cruz's convention speech, sources said.
 
There was coordination with the Trump campaign, though the debate never ceased about whether and how to discuss the billionaire.
 
Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier declined to comment.