On Wednesday night, former Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz spoke at the RNC convention in Cleveland, delivering a speech that deliberately avoided any mention of the nominee, Donald Trump. In effect, he failed to endorse the real estate mogul at his own convention.
That didn’t go over well with the overwhelmingly pro-Trump crowd on the convention floor. The crowd proceeded to boo Cruz off-stage with a ferocity usually reserved for Democratic opponents.
The backlash didn’t end there however. In an an impromptu interview with CNN’s Dana Bash following Cruz’s apparently controversial speech, Trump surrogate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed the senator from Texas for failing to fall in line with the new face of the Republican Party. Cruz’s speech was “awful” and “selfish” howled Christie in a tone that betrayed his utter disgust with the rogue conservative firebrand.
Ironically, Christie’s own Brutus moment came in 2012 when he launched his own semi-coup and backstabbed Republican nominee Mitt Romney at the party convention. In fact, Christie hardly mentioned Romney's name during his rambling “endorsement” speech, resorting instead to vague platitudes and generic rhetoric about party unity.
As Politico noted at the time, “16 was the number of minutes that passed as Christie talked about his personal history and New Jersey record before he mentioned Mitt Romney’s name. Seven was the total number of times he referred to Romney by name."
Fox News’ Chris Wallace was left in a state of a shock after listening to what appeared to be a setup speech for Christie’s own inevitable presidential run in 2016. It was “the most curious keynote speech I have ever heard. … For a moment, I forgot who was the nominee of the party,” said Wallace in 2012.
Here's the full speech:
Christie’s disloyal antics didn’t end there. Close political observers may remember the hug felt ‘round the world when the New Jersey governor went out of his way to hug a publicity-craving President Obama in the wake of the Hurricane Sandy disaster in front of a virtual army of reporters. To this day, some analysts (albeit those usually inclined to view the American political landscape through the prism of cynicism) argue that the photo-op may have pushed Obama ahead in the polls just weeks before the fateful election in November.
Fast Forward to 2016. The chickens have come home to roost.