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'Rude' Cruz non-endorsement is talk of Florida delegation's GOP convention breakfast

@PatriciaMazzei

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday night it was "no big deal" that primary runner-up Ted Cruz refused to endorse him on the convention floor.

Perhaps not for Trump. But Cruz was all Florida delegates could talk about Thursday at an early-morning breakfast.

"It was unfortunate that he made those statements and he did what he did," Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said. "I do not know if that was the intended outcome of his speech, but if it was, it was an extremely unstatesmanlike, and he probably should have declined the invitation to speak."

At a buffet line, one delegate was overheard telling another Cruz was plain "rude."

The top-billed breakfast speakers also couldn't avoid reflecting on Cruz the day after.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott tried to stay above the fray without referencing Cruz directly. "This is a time to be unified," he told reporters.

Other speakers took Cruz's speech head on.

"I'm a friend of Ted's, and I think he made a mistake last night," U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said, though he also struck a note of empathy for his Texas colleague. "It's just hard for us, who've been in the center of it, to get along."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich posited that "part of what's going is the kind of normal turmoil when something historic has occurred."

Cruz, Gingrich added, is "a brilliant Princeton debater and a brilliant Harvard debater" who could "give you a wonderful speech on the theory of kicking over tables." About two-thirds of the way in, he added, "Donald Trump would walk into the room and kick over the table."

"In all fairness to Ted, he has always had this challenge of being sensitive to people," Gingrich continued, drawing laughs. He said a reporter asked him Wednesday night, "Isn’t this a sign of division?"

"Well, there were 5,000 people on one side," Gingrich said. "And Ted."

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But not all the delegates felt rancor toward Cruz.

“I liked it,” Miami-Dade County alternate delegate Rey Lastre said of the speech. “It’s important to have diversity of opinion. The Republican Party is supposed to be a big tent. I was clapping for Ted. Other people were too."

 

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