No sympathy for the right-wing devil: After months of hostile coverage of Donald Trump, the New York Times saved its most personal hostility toward the only candidate on the Republican side that truly challenged Trump’s rise: Sen. Ted Cruz.
The front of Friday’s New York Times (National Edition) featured a “political memo” by Jennifer Steinhauer and Matt Flegenheimer. “Cruz’s Gamble On Redefining Race for 2020 – Defiance May Backfire as Critics See Betrayal.” The jump-page headline: “Cruz Took The Stage For Role As Brutus.” The persoal insults came fast and furious. Flegenheimer, who last December cast Cruz as an unlikeable, socially awkward “bomb-thrower” ideologue and even held his facial features against him, helped penned more personal attacks on the conservative politician's "self-regard":
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas did not come here this week to unite Republicans around their presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump. Armed with his usual arsenal of florid oratory, self-regard and blunt force, he came instead to rally them, someday, around Ted Cruz.
He failed, at least for the moment. And in the process, he managed to do the unthinkable -- make Mr. Trump look like a victim.
Determined to be more than just another speaker and looking beyond the November election, Mr. Cruz worked with aides for weeks to fashion a speech that they hoped would define him beyond his failed 2016 quest for the White House and advance his image beyond Tea Party upstart to a modern version of his idol, Ronald Reagan.
The Times certainly becomes awfully sensitive toward Trump’s tender feelings when it’s Sen. Cruz on the attack.
But then he twisted the knife in Mr. Trump’s back, suggesting that the leadership of that America should not fall to the man his party had come to nominate.
But for now, it appears that Mr. Cruz’s raw ambition -- which fueled his audacious 2012 Senate primary victory over his state’s lieutenant governor, the disastrous government shutdown he led a year later and his subsequent attacks on the Republicans who did not support it -- has backfired.
In the cold light of morning Thursday, Mr. Cruz found himself facing down furious delegates from his own state at a public breakfast, who told him he needed to back Mr. Trump now.
Former admirers and his congressional colleagues took to television to criticize him, at times with profane language, the way his Senate colleagues have been doing for years behind closed doors. “Lucifer is back,” cracked the former House speaker, John A. Boehner, who was watching the convention with his wife and friends, according to an aide.
Even the verb choices were anti-Cruz:
As Mr. Cruz slunk from the stage and Mr. Trump’s son Eric took the lectern, Mr. Trump’s aides sought out Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, who was slated to speak after Mr. Trump’s son.
The reporters seemed to enjoy Cruz’s shunning way too much.
Mr. Cruz tried to repair to the luxury convention suite of the Las Vegas casino magnate and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, but he was turned away like a freshman tossed out of a senior keg party. Andy Abboud, a top aide to Mr. Adelson, told Mr. Cruz he was not welcome there, according to two people in the suite who witnessed the exchange.