-- Donald Trump was unaware that his former GOP rival Ted Cruz was not going to endorse him at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, told ABC News.
“We didn’t know he wasn’t going to endorse Trump, but that wasn’t the point. I said Mr. Trump made no conditions on it,” Manafort said in an interview today with ABC News’ Tom Llamas. “The reason he spoke is because Mr. Trump believes Ted Cruz was one of the candidates that ran for president, he should be allowed the opportunity to help bring the party together again.”
Cruz’s convention speech was met with loud boos in the Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. The Texas senator, whom Trump derided as “lyin’ Ted” throughout the primary contest, also told voters to “vote your conscience.”
Cruz’s address contrasted with those of Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker and other erstwhile GOP candidates who have urged party unity and thrown their support behind Trump on stage — whether enthusiastically or reluctantly.
“[Trump] assumed that Ted Cruz would bring the party together, giving a speech just like Walker did, Rubio did and Christie did. Cruz took a different path,” Manafort said.
Manafort’s remarks conflicted with comments made by the Trump family as well as Cruz.
In an interview today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Donald Trump Jr. said his father’s campaign had been notified that Cruz would not be making an endorsement Wednesday night.
“We knew that wasn’t coming. Again, my father wanted all the guys who wanted to be here, he wanted to give them a platform,” he said. “He knew that was happening. He was a better man about it.”
Donald Trump Jr. said there’s been some “back and forth” between both camps about an endorsement from Cruz, who dropped out of the presidential race in early May.
“There’s been a lot of people speaking from the campaign with the Cruz camp,” he said on “Morning Joe.” “So there have been some conversations back and forth about seeing what we could do. I don’t think anything too serious.”
He added, “We would love to be able to do it.”
Donald Trump Sr. said he saw Cruz’s speech two hours before Cruz took the stage but allowed him to speak anyway, calling it “no big deal.”
Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn't honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2016
According to Cruz, Trump never even asked for his endorsement. While addressing the Texas delegation at a breakfast in Cleveland this morning, Cruz said he told the real estate mogul days earlier that he wasn’t going to back him.
“He didn’t ask me to endorse and, indeed, three days ago I talked on the phone with him and told him, ‘I’m not going to endorse you,’” Cruz said.
ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.