Hours after Ted Cruz was booed off the stage at the Republican National Convention Wednesday, the senator was back on his feet Thursday, defending to the Texas delegation his non-endorsement of GOP nominee Donald Trump.
"I did not say a single negative word about Donald Trump," Cruz said at a breakfast hosted by the delegates of his home state. "And I'll tell you this morning and going forward: I don't intend to say negative things about Donald Trump."
Instead, what he sought to do Wednesday evening was "lay out the principles I believe we should stand for as Republicans."
Cruz explained too why he turned his back on the loyalty pledge he signed last year, which had been pushed by the Republican National Committee (RNC) and which stated that candidates would support the eventual Republican nominee and would not seek a third-party run.
"The day that [pledge] was abrogated was the day this became personal," he said, referring to the heated primary battle between the two. "And I'm not going to get into criticizing or attacking Donald Trump but I'll just give you this response: I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and who attack my father."
Trump, who gave Cruz the moniker "Lyin' Ted" throughout his campaign, dragged Cruz's family members into the primary spotlight several times over the last months the Texas senator remained in the race. On Twitter, the billionaire once threatened to "spill the beans" on Cruz's wife Heidi and retweeted an insulting message on her appearance. Trump even repeatedly surfaced National Enquirer claims that Cruz's father, Rafael, was involved with Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
Cruz, at the delegation breakfast, went on to loud applause: "That was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi that I'm going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say, "Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father."
He added, however, that he still has no intention of casting his vote for Trump's general election rival Hillary Clinton.
"I am doing what millions of Americans are doing. I'm watching, I'm listening. As I told you last night, the standard that I intend to apply is which candidate I trust to defend our freedom and be faithful to the Constitution," Cruz said. "I can tell you I'm not voting for Hillary. Hillary fails that test profoundly."