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After A Dramatic Non-Endorsement, What Does Ted Cruz's Political Future Hold?


Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine may have the media's attention today, but this past week, the Republican National Convention did. And it featured bickering, booze, balloons. I've run out of Bs. Of course, Donald Trump has nominated. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas dramatically declined to endorse him in his speech. He got booed from the floor, but also some cheers, and Donald Trump lashed out at Mr. Cruz again yesterday. Ken Cope was a Republican delegate for a Texas Congressional District Six. He supported Ted Cruz, then Donald Trump. He joins us from Dallas. Mr. Cope, thanks so much for being with us.

KEN COPE: Absolutely love being here, and thank you for having me.

SIMON: I have to ask you the high hard one first. What did you think of Donald Trump bringing up their quarrel yesterday on the campaign trail, including tying Ted Cruz's father to Lee Harvey Oswald?

COPE: I did not think that was very classy at all. Quite frankly, it was unnecessary. He has won the Republican nomination. I think he should be focusing on beating Hillary and Tim Kaine, as opposed to looking backward in his rearview mirror. You know, there is a line - when a man has his family attacked, whether we like it or not, if it's your family that is attacked, you're going to get to a point where you're not going to be able to stick the hand out without someone apologizing. And Mr. Trump seems not to have that in his character. Humility seems to be lacking. But I am supporting him. I only have two choices. It's a binary choice here.

SIMON: Well, you anticipate my question. You don't seem to be making much of a case for him so far.

COPE: Well, the case is the fact that he is our nominee. He received 1,725 of our delegate votes. And, you know, we are going forward. It isn't whether Ted Cruz supports or not. We're going to move on without him. I believe the speech that he gave was a wonderful speech to the convention. He laid out all 76 minutes, was full of the content. You know, everyone wants detail. And you give them detail, and they say, you talk too much.

So, you know, it's a double edged sword for you guys in the press, but I am in full support of the Republican platform. The platform came through clear for Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence. And his message shows that he's in support of those things. So I'm excited about the principles. We may have a few rough edges that we're going to have to sand off a little bit and clean up. You know Mr. Trump has never had to be on a world platform quite like this before. He's always been in charge of all the communication and dialogue.

SIMON: Forgive me. Hasn't he been on a world platform for 30 years?

COPE: He has, but he's been in a different capacity as a businessman and billionaire. It didn't matter what he really said to anyone. He'd take his chips and go home. In this particular environment, we have the American public that - they hang on every word he says. And I don't believe that he has fully grasped the intensity in which they do that and the impact it's having on our American society.

SIMON: He's, I believe, 70 years old, and he's been running for president for over a year.

COPE: Yes, that's true. But, you know, he's a very bright guy, as we've all seen, and he is certainly capable of learning. He has surrounded himself with some excellent people and Mike Pence. And I believe that we are going to have Donald Trump as the next president United States.

The American public loved his speech and that says a whole lot about the content and what we're looking for. We want security. We want economic development. We want to opportunities for our families. We don't want a race war in this country. That's why we're saying come home to the Republican Party. It was the Republican party that brought us out of slavery the first time. And it's going to be the Republican Party that brings us out of slavery this time - the slavery of the Democratic financial chains that we've got bound around us that have developed.

SIMON: Ken Cope, who is a Republican delegate from Texas, thanks so much for being with us, sir.

COPE: Absolutely my pleasure. I'll give you a warm Texas howdy, and thank you for having me on. And look forward to winning this election going forward in November. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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