Last night in Cleveland, Ted Cruz stated
We deserve leaders who stand for principle who unite us all behind shared values, who cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect from everybody.... If you love our country and love your children as much as I know you do, stand and speak and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.
That had Governor Chris Christie fuming, or at least pretending to. While the word "incredible" is used promiscuously and rarely to mean, "not credible," Christie's reaction truly was incredible as he maintained
It was an awful, selfish speech by someone who tonight, through the words he said on that stage, showed everybody why he has richly earned the reputation that he has on Capitol Hill.... I think it was too cute and I think you saw at the end of the speech that the crowd was waiting for him to do the right thing and realized that he wasn't going to do it
You can be forgiven for suspecting this was not the same Chris Christie, about whom it was written following his keynote speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention
Several political figures close to Mitt Romney made acerbic comments to reporters, making clear they thought Christie laid an egg while also saying they didn’t much care since Ann Romney was generally perceived as performing well. Several made eye-rolling references to what they regard as signs of the New Jersey governor’s considerable ego: The number of self-references in his address and an entourage of aides who they believe is too obviously trying to promote Christie fever for the future rather than help Republicans in 2012.
Sources close to Christie noted that Mitt Romney’s team saw the speech text about two weeks ago and barely changed a word, and thus had no standing to second-guess now....
In one prominent example of the poor reviews for Christie, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace noted how long it took for the speech to mention Romney and called it “the most curious keynote speech I have ever heard. … For a moment, I forgot who was the nominee of the party.”
Of course, Christie then was applying to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2016. This week, he was applying to be President Trump's Attorney General and the prosecutor, judge, and hanging jury of Hillary Clinton.
Yet, it is Ted Cruz who is "selfish." During the campaign, Donald Trump threatened to "spill the beans" on the Senator's wife as he posted an extraorinarily unflattering photo of her, after which Ted labeled Trump "a sniveling coward." Later, the eventual nominee would suggest Cruz's father had a hand in the (John) Kennedy assassination; when he left the race, Cruz recognized Trump as "utterly immoral," as well as a "serial philander" and "pathological liar,"
Cruz's decision not to endorse Trump, however, strikes Chris Christie as selfish. The Governor added “I don’t understand how someone can present themselves as a person of integrity and then come into this room tonight and give that cute speech." Earlier Wednesday, I had argued
Tonight we will discover whether Ted Cruz, under mounting pressure from individuals who believe ideology and family must give way to the need to nominate a man the leader of his party publicly called out for racism, will support Donald Trump for President. We will learn whether Ted Cruz endorses an utterly amoral, sniveling coward.
Ted Cruz's ideological philosophy is as wrong as that of almost anyone. (Scott Walker accounts for the "almost.") But as for integrity, he showed a lot more than the other politicians in Cleveland. As Charlie Pierce puts it
Cruz left the stage with no little dignity. (According to CNN's Dana Bash, he got confronted several times in the hallway by outraged Trump supporters.) He is one of the few people who have spoken here who can honestly say that. And I most emphatically include the candidate himself.