Ted Cruz on Saturday vowed to attendees at the Texas Republican convention here that he will continue fighting for conservative values — but he notably avoided weighing in on the 2016 race.
In his first speech since ending his presidential bid earlier this month, the Texas senator didn’t mention presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, instead devoting much of his time to thanking his supporters.
“Let me tell you, it is great to be home,” he told the state delegates in attendance. “This afternoon, more than anything else, what I want to convey to each of you is thank you.”
Cruz’s remarks were received enthusiastically — delegates often got up from their seats and waved “Thank you Ted!” signs during his speech, cheering repeatedly throughout his speech.
Cruz weighed in on the transgender bathroom issue, saying the White House doesn’t have a right to decide the country’s bathroom policy.
“There is no decree clause to the Constitution,” he said. “We have entered the world of politically correct lunacy. And there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the President the power to be the bathroom police in this country.”
His only mention of the 2016 race was to say that the United States needs a strong conservative president.
“We need a president who will have your back,” said Cruz, who, aside from not mentioning Trump’s name, also didn’t address the issue of unifying the Republican Party following the bruising primary fight.
Cruz told his supporters he’ll continue fighting for them in the U.S. Senate. Many delegates and top Texas GOP leaders, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, hope that he’ll be nominated to the Supreme Court. But Cruz, a former solicitor general of Texas, shot that down on Friday, telling Dallas radio station WBAP that it’s “not a desire of my heart.”
Some state delegates attending the convention said they were disappointed that Cruz dropped out of the race. Jeff Puryear, a state delegate from Bryan, Texas, told CNN he’s not sure he’ll vote for Trump.
“Frankly, I haven’t decided who I am going to vote for,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m going to support Trump or not. I think it’s up to Trump to court conservatives.”