Sen. Ted Cruz showed "very bad judgment" by failing to endorse Donald Trump's presidential campaign during his prime time speech Wednesday night, the GOP nominee's campaign chairman said Thursday morning.
"He made a mistake," Paul Manafort told NBC's "Today"
show hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie. "He understood what the responsibilities are of somebody in his position. He didn't meet them."
not only would not endorse Trump during his speech, but on Thursday doubled down on his refusal. He insisted that he didn't say a "single negative word" against Trump and doesn't plan to, but admitted that in part there may be personal reasons behind his decision not to abide by a pledge to support the eventual nominee.
"That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander my wife that I am going to come like a servile puppy dog for maligning my wife and maligning my father," he told members of the Texas delegation.
On Wednesday, he used the prime time speaking spot to urge Republicans to "vote your conscience," and was soundly booed by delegates. Further, security guards had to escort his wife Heidi out of the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland after delegates were angered by her husband's words.
Manafort said Thursday that Cruz's speech did not hurt Trump's momentum, and that the Texas senator's invitation did not include conditions that he should endorse the candidate.
However, speakers understand their roles, he continued, but "Ted Cruz took a different path."
Manafort said that the party remains unified, and even though Cruz is holding out on endorsing Trump, "the party came together because they've seen Donald Trump is making an effort."
Also on Thursday, Manafort was asked about the news that a writer who works for Trump's corporation had come forward to take the responsibility for Melania Trump's Monday speech and its passages that matched first lady Michelle Obama's 2008 convention address.
"This was somebody who wasn't part of the campaign," Manafort said of the writer, Meredith McIver, who offered her resignation for her role in helping Trump's wife with her speech. "I didn't even know she was part of the process."
Initially, Manafort had blamed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for the controversy. On Thursday, he insisted that nobody, including Trump's wife, knew about the copied phrases.
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