Donald Trump has one regret about walking in on the final moments of Ted Cruz’s Republican National Convention speech: He wishes he had allowed delegates to boo his one-time primary opponent off the stage.
The Republican nominee, in an interview with Mark Halperin for Showtime’s “The Circus,” said he did Cruz “a big favor” by coming in when he did.
“In retrospect, I wish I would have waited another minute. Because he was being booed right off the stage,” he said of Cruz’s speech.
Cruz, whose wife and father Trump had scorned during the primary process, was given a primetime speaking slot on the third night of the convention, preceding Eric Trump and vice presidential nominee, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. The speech started with delegates clapping wildly and cheering for the conservative principles Cruz outlined, but the mood in the room soured as it became apparent that there was no endorsement coming, and Cruz was urging delegates to vote their conscience.
Trump had entered the convention hall as Cruz wrapped up his speech, turning some of the boos for Cruz into applause for the nominee, in a memorable convention moment.
“I walked in and the arena went crazy,” Trump said. “Because there’s great unity in the Republican Party, and people don’t know it. Had I not walked in, I think that audience would have ripped him off the stage. I think I did him a big favor.”
Trump also told Halperin that he told Cruz his speech wasn’t “very good” upon reading it for the first time. He apparently considered taking him out of the lineup before deciding, “that’ll be a bigger deal if we throw him out than if he reads it and doesn’t endorse, what difference does it make?”