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Sandy Chiong, South Carolina delegate

Cruz delegates say they were threatened on RNC floor


Cruz delegates say they were threatened on RNC floor

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said "vote your conscience"  while speaking at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, shying away from explicitly endorsing the star of the show: Donald Trump. 

"Don't stay home in November! Vote your conscience!"

Cruz only mentioned Trump once in his speech to congratulate him on getting the nomination, which sent Trump supporters into a tailspin. Cruz's wife Heidi had to be escorted out of the arena as crowds booed Cruz.

But earlier in the day, many of Cruz's 559 delegates were fuming about how the convention is going so far.  Some of them told Circa they felt cheated by the nomination process this year, which virtually guaranteed Trump the party nomination.

The anger stemmed from a failed roll call vote on convention rules earlier in the week. Anti-Trump delegates had tried to force a floor vote to change current convention rules that require delegates to vote in line with their state's primary or caucus results.

Cruz delegates told Circa that the vote failed, in part, because of "dirty tricks" from Trump delegates.

South Carolina delegate Sandy Choing was still fuming about the vote outside Cruz's event on Wednesday.

"Donald Trump is famous for saying the system is rigged," she said. "Well, from the things I've seen on the floor, dirty tricks were pulled to get those rules ram-rodded down the throats of the people."

Choing said she was threatened by one of her own delegates from South Carolina when she said she wanted to vote for the rule change. Specifically, she said she was threatened with getting her credentials revoked. 

"I'm not the only delegate whose gotten threatened either," she said. "There have been delegates in other delegations who have either been physically removed from the floor, or they've been threatened with losing their credentials if they don't support Donald Trump."

Kera Birkeland, a Utah delegate who supports Cruz, also said she was threatened by Trump supporters after she called for a roll call vote on convention rules.  

According to WKYC, Birkeland "went to the women's restroom and when she emerged from a stall, a group of Trump supporters surrounded her and threatened to kill her, urging her to leave the party and the state."

Doug Brubaker, a Pennsylvania delegate and the only member of the Pennsylvania delegation who voted for Ted Cruz, said he also experienced hostility on the convention floor. 

"The Trump Organization and the state leadership in Pennsylvania have been very professional, absolutely so," he said. "Unfortunately, I can't say that about specifically four individuals in our Pennsylvania delegation."

"They were very negative, they tried to exert considerable pressure on me," Brubaker said.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to Circa's request for comment about these incidents.

Anger from Cruz supporters at the RNC wasn't just limited to Trump delegates.

Minnesota state Rep. Cindy Pugh, a delegate, and a member of the RNC rules committee said she felt Republican National Committee members intentionally didn't give her delegation enough information to file their petition to force a full state-by-state roll call vote on the rules of the convention.

"We were never told who to hand [the petitions] into, where to hand them in, by what time certain to hand them in, we weren't given any rules," Pugh said. "It was just very amazing, the well-orchestrating silencing of the voices."

An RNC spokesperson did not immediately respond to Circa's request for comment.

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