Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tried to heal a rift on the Republican convention floor in his Wednesday night speech, saying Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who spoke shortly before him, really wanted them to vote for Donald Trump despite never saying he endorsed him.
"I'm also proud to be here as a Republican activist to see the extra effort Donald Trump has invested in bringing the Republican Party together," said Gingrich, leaving his prepared remarks. "With no requirement for endorsement, he encouraged his competitors to speak once again."
Though the crowd cheered early on in Cruz's speech, many began to boo and jeer, shouting, "We want Trump!" when it became clear he was wrapping up without making a formal endorsement.
Gingrich told the crowd they "misunderstood" one paragraph of Cruz's speech.
Calling Cruz a "superb orator," Gingrich said the senator "said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution. In this election there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution. To paraphrase Ted Cruz, the only possible candidate in the fall is the Pence/Trump Republican ticket."
CNN reported that Cruz's wife, Heidi, had to be escorted from the hall by security during her husband's speech as people shouted insults at her. Fox News reported that Cruz had people call Cruz a "disgrace" to his face as he left the convention hall.
As Gingrich returned to his prepared remarks, he attacked Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton and current President Barack Obama for failing to recognize the United States is at war with radical Islam.
"We are at war," he said. "We are sleepwalking through history as though this is all about politics. It is not. It is about our safety and our survival as a country."
Clinton would keep in place "the people and the systems that lie to us every single day about this threat," he said, because as Obama's secretary of state "she has been right at the center of this dishonesty."
Citing the Iran nuclear deal, the Benghazi terror attack and screening of Syrian refugees, Gingrich said the current White House lies about a long list of things that make America less safe.
"The cost of Hillary’s dishonesty could be the loss of America as we know it," Gingrich said, encouraging Republicans, Democrats and independents to "rise above our factions" and stand with Trump "for what he know is true."
"We CAN make America safe again. We CAN make America work again. We CAN make America first again. And together, we CAN make America great again – for all Americans," Gingrich said.
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