Donald Trump’s insults against Ted Cruz in the Republican primary race came back to haunt him Wednesday night.
Cruz was booed heavily by the crowd at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland when he failed to endorse Trump during his speech, as many had hoped.
During the long and contentious primary race Trump mocked Cruz’s wife over her looks, repeatedly referred to him as “Lying Ted,” questioned his citizenship and linked the senator’s father to the John F. Kennedy assassination.
Cruz’s speech started innocently enough with the Texas Senator congratulating Trump on his victory, but the cheers quickly turned to boos when Cruz left the stage without endorsing Trump.
Chants of “Trump!” and “USA!” rang out and continued through the rest of his address, drowning out Cruz’s voice.
“If you love our country and love your children as much as I know that you do, stand, and speak, and vote your conscience,” Cruz said. “Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”
At “vote your conscience,” the audience instantly began to boo and shout.
Cruz’s speech was the latest example of the chasm that exists in the Republican Party over Trump’s rise to prominence.
Trump didn’t take long to respond to Cruz’s address online. He tweeted Cruz didn’t honor the pledge GOP candidates had signed to back the eventual Republican nominee.
“Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!”
Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn't honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2016
Hillary Clinton’s campaign seized on Cruz’s speech as well, tweeting: “Vote your conscience” with a link to her website.
Vote your conscience. https://t.co/xahMq2sU1q
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 21, 2016
The lack of support from Trump’s old rivals, including pointed non-endorsements from Ohio Governor John Kasich and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, had been a source of tension even before Cruz spoke.
Many prominent Republicans have chosen not to attend this year’s convention including former President George W. Bush and his father George H. W. Bush, 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney and 2008 Republican nominee John McCain.
Newt Gingrich, who was in the running to be Trump’s running mate before Indiana Governor Mike Pence was chosen, took the stage soon after Cruz.
“Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the constitution,” Gingrich said. “In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the constitution. So, to paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the constitution of the United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump/Pence Republican ticket.”
Pence did what he could to promote unity when it came time for him to speak, but by that time, the damage was already done and Cruz had stolen the show.
“You have nominated a man for president who never quits, never backs down, a fighter, a winner,” Pence said, accepting the nomination. “Until now he’s done it all by himself, against all odds. But this week with this united party, he’s got backup!”
The four day convention is set to end Thursday with Donald Trump taking the stage where he will formally accept the nomination.
He will be introduced by his daughter Ivanka.
Trump has said his speech will be ”relatively long” and will touch on national security and domestic policy.