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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Ginger Gibson and Steve Holland

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz refused to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the party’s convention on Wednesday, sparking an eruption of angry jeers from Trump supporters and shattering the facade of party unity that has been carefully built up in Cleveland this week.

Anti-Trump Republican delegate Ken Cuccinelli told Reuters he escorted Cruz‘s wife, Heidi, off the floor of the Republican National Convention out of concern for her safety.

Cruz, who came in a distant second behind Trump in the race for the nomination, stopped short of endorsing Trump after a bitter and personal campaign and mentioned him only once, drawing boos and repeated chants of “We want Trump.”

Cuccinelli said: “During the course of the speech, more and more people were coming down closer and closer to Heidi and (Ted Cruz‘s father) Rafael. … When the speech ended, there was an ugly crowd behind us. … She was trying to leave.”

A witness said one person shouted: “Goldman Sachs” at Heidi Cruz in reference to her employment at the investment bank.

Cruz began his speech saying: “I want to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night.”

Later in the speech, he urged: “Please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

Trump, who will represent the party in the Nov. 8 election against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, made his entrance to the convention hall near the end of Cruz‘s speech, applauding Cruz‘s remarks but, by his appearance, distracting the crowd from his former rival.

EXCHANGE OF INSULTS

During the campaign for the party’s nomination, Trump insulted Cruz‘s wife’s looks and suggested the Texan’s father was with John F. Kennedy’s assassin just before the president was shot in Dallas in 1963.

Cruz, who as a Tea Party conservative in the U.S. Senate spearheaded tactics that led to a government shutdown over the federal budget, called the New York real estate developer a “serial philanderer” and a “narcissist” during the campaign.

A Cruz adviser who asked to remain anonymous said Cruz had anticipated a backlash from the crowd if he did not endorse Trump.

“We knew people were going to be mad if he didn’t say the words, but he congratulated him and called for unity behind common values. He expected people to not be thrilled about this” the adviser said.

Trump won the nomination on Tuesday with 1,725 delegates, followed by Cruz with 475 delegates.

In a speech a few moments after Cruz finished, former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich veered from his prepared text to defend Cruz.

“I think you misunderstood one paragraph that Ted Cruz, who is a superb orator, said. And I just want to point it out to you. Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution. In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution,” Gingrich said.

“To paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the Constitution of the United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket,” Gingrich said.

Another Trump rival vanquished in the race for the party nomination, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, spoke by video and praised Trump for his commitments to safeguarding national security, lowering taxes and appointing conservative Supreme Court justices.

“The time for fighting each other is over. It’s time to fight for a new direction for America. It’s time to win in November,” Rubio said.

The drama did not prevent Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, from receiving a raucous welcome inside the convention hall. Accepting the convention’s nomination, Pence spoke of Trump as a friend of the working class who has persevered in the business world. “He’s a doer in a game usually reserved for talkers,” Pence said.

 

(Writing by Howard Goller; Editing by Ross Colvin and Peter Cooney)

Photo: Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.