Wednesday night, late into prime time, the Texas senator and former presidential aspirant Ted Cruz will take the stage at the Republican National Convention. He’ll give a speech right before a scheduled video package from the Trump family titled, “My Father,” that seeks to define the character of GOP nominee Donald Trump. But lots of people are wondering whether Cruz might get there first.
It’s not for nothing. While Cruz spent the early part of the primary season attempting to restrain his criticism of Trump in the hopes that he might draft behind his celebrity and pick up Trump’s supporters on the cheap after he flamed out. But the flame-out never happened. And so, in his most desperate hour, at a May press conference in Evansville, Indiana, Cruz finally went in on Trump, promising “to do something I haven’t done for the entire campaign.” That something? “I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump.”
A lot of what Cruz had to say falls into the category of “really, really hard to take back, man, good luck.” Let’s review.
Trump is a liar: “This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth.”
Also, a narcissist: “The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist ― a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen.”
How amoral is Donald Trump? “The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him.”
Trump is also very insecure: “Bullies come from a deep yawning cavern of insecurity. There is a reason Donald builds giant buildings and puts his name on them wherever he goes.”
Something for the ladies: “Donald has a real problem with women. People who are insecure, people who are insecure about who they are, Donald is terrified of strong women. He lashes out at them.”
But will he betray his supporters? “Donald will betray his supporters on every issue. ... He will betray you on every issue across the board.”
Are we staring at the abyss, by any chance? “We are staring at the abyss.”
Combine all of that with the fact that Donald Trump very specifically sought to dishonor both Cruz’s father and his wife, and it’s no wonder that political wags are looking to Wednesday night’s speech and wondering: “Will Ted Cruz refrain from criticizing the nominee tonight, let alone endorse him?”
Of course, there’s no better example of how cynical and divorced from basic humanity our politics has become that this remains an open question.
Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.