CLEVELAND — Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort criticized Sen. Ted Cruz late Wednesday for the Texan’s decision withhold a formal endorsement of Trump in his speech at the Republican National Convention.
What follows is Manafort’s exchange with reporters about Cruz as he left the Quicken Loans Arena.
Reporter: Paul, could you offer some clarity on Cruz and the timeline of his speech? Did Cruz submit the speech to the RNC and the Trump campaign for vetting?
Paul Manafort: We got it about 6:30 p.m.
Reporter: Where you unhappy with it, some of the lines?
Manafort: It is what it is.
Reporter: The Trump family as they left, Eric Trump was saying on the record that he was disappointed with the senator.
Manafort: Well, we were disappointed that he didn’t say something more positive. But we didn’t have any commitments. We didn’t ask for any commitments. And Donald Trump felt that all of the candidates who ran for president should have an opportunity to speak. We gave all of them, Walker, Rubio — who couldn’t make but we still said send a video — and so the others as well.
Reporter: [Former] Cruz campaign [associates] say Cruz made the call to Trump two days ago about not endorsing. Is that accurate?
Manafort: That’s not quite accurate.
Reporter: Could you clarify the decision to give him such a coveted prime time slot? Was that a mistake?
Manafort: Mr. Trump felt he finished second, he should have a good spot and he did. Donald Trump was trying to unify the party and he’s done that. I think, notwithstanding what Senator Cruz said tonight, the party came together.
Reporter: Why did [Trump] come into the box during Cruz’s speech? A lot of people are wondering.
Manafort: Because we had to move him there in time for Eric, and Eric was the next speaker so the logistics would have been hard to do.
Reporter: Did they exchange words, Mr. Manafort? Did Mr. Trump and Sen. Cruz …
Manafort: They didn’t see each other.
Reporter: Are they about to?
Manafort: Donald Trump made the offer to speak without any conditions. He thought something might — that Senator Cruz might have been a little more politically smart. But, uh …
Reporter: Do you think Sen. Cruz owes Mr. Trump an apology?
Manafort: That’s up to Senator Cruz to decide.
Reporter: Did the RNC and the Trump campaign approve Senator Cruz’s speech?
Manafort: We got it very late in the evening and we didn’t make any judgment on it.
A few minutes later, Manafort was asked more questions about Cruz.
Reporter: Did you all do anything to foster that booing? Or [was] that organic?
Manafort: It must have been organic. [Manafort grins.]
Reporter: You didn’t have people on the floor leading that?
Manafort: Some people think that?
Reporter: Well, you might.
Manafort: [chuckles] No! That’s not the person I know.
Reporter: That’s a pretty big smile, sir.
Manafort: Look, I think the delegates were very disappointed.