From The Associated Press:
CLEVELAND (AP) — It’s Donald Trump’s big moment to make his case to the country – and to the many rattled doubters in his own party. The most important speech of his presidential campaign will bring down the balloons on a convention marked by divided loyalties and unwanted distractions as well as full-throated roars against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Competing passions were sharply on display Wednesday night in a hall that echoed first with cheers for Trump’s fiercest opponent in the primaries, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, from his supporters, then thunderous boos from the pro-Trump masses when Cruz wrapped up his speech without endorsing the nominee.
Mike Pence’s acceptance speech as Trump’s running mate was overshadowed as a result, one more missed opportunity at a convention with a daily drip of them. That raised the stakes even higher for what is intended to be Trump’s triumphant turn on the stage Thursday night as he accepts the Republican nomination.
“No big deal!” Trump tweeted afterward about Cruz’s speech. He said Cruz did not honor the pledge that Republican primary candidates had made to support the eventual nominee.
He said he saw the text of Cruz’s speech two hours before it was delivered but thought, “let him speak anyway.”
The convention ceded the prime-time stage on its third night to Cruz, who mentioned Trump only once, congratulating him for winning the nomination but coming no closer than that to rallying behind him. Trump allies were furious. One of them, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, called Cruz “totally selfish.”
After that episode, Pence, the Indiana governor and a favorite of conservatives who have decidedly mixed feelings about Trump, tried to make his mark to a …