Sen. Ted Cruz addressed the Texas Republican Convention in Dallas over the weekend. It was Cruz's first major speech since he ended his quest for the presidency.
Cruz said he will return to the Senate and focus on advancing conservative principles and upholding the Constitution. He singled out President Barack Obama's directive protecting transgender rights in schools, an action he described as "politically correct lunacy."
"This is an embodiment of just how off track we've gotten that the President believes he could decree to every public school in America, ‘I, Barack Obama, am in charge of bathroom policies in your elementary school,'" he said.
Cruz then said the country needs a strong, conservative president to eliminate the Department of Education. He did not say who that president should be, nor did he endorse – or even mention – the party's apparent nominee, Donald Trump.
Vlad Davidiuk, a delegate from Houston and a Cruz supporter, said he wasn't surprised.
"At this point, Donald Trump does not represent the conservative values or the principles that the majority of the people who are here at this convention hold. So it would not have helped Ted Cruz's speech to have mentioned the name ‘Donald Trump,'" he said.
Delegates wearing stickers saying "Cruz Crew" far outnumbered those wearing pro-Trump stickers, at least on the convention's last day. That might have been simply a show of support for the senator. But Davidiuk said it reflects a deeper split.
"There hasn't been a lot of infighting. There has not been a lot of confrontation. But I would say the majority of the people I've interacted with are very hardcore Cruz supporters and interested in only that aspect of the Republican nomination process. Really don't want anything to do with Trump," he said.
Davidiuk said that could wind up hurting Trump in November. He said conservative activists are likely to focus on helping Republican candidates in down-ballot races, while ignoring the top of the ticket.