Glenn Beck nervously paced back and forth through his TV studio designed to look like the Oval Office.
“He’s gonna call?” the conservative stalwart sheepishly asked. Beck was a lovesick puppy questioning whether his wayward one-and-only, Ted Cruz, will call him as scheduled on Monday morning.
“He’s gonna call,” co-host and longtime confidant Stu Burguiere reassured him.
“Alright,” Beck muttered before reminding viewers that the Texan senator was late for his scheduled interview—one which will involve awkward questions about why Cruz abandoned his rogue status to endorse Donald Trump on Friday.
Beck invested a great deal in his admiration for Cruz. During the Republican primaries, the 52-year-old radio host was so genuinely disgusted by the rise of Trump, he fasted in prayer for Cruz to win the nomination. So deep was his love that he reportedly sank $500,000 in traveling around the country with Cruz to stump for his failed candidacy.
And when Cruz finally appeared, via telephone, on the The Glenn Beck Radio Program, it was clear that Beck was wondering: What had I just wasted a year of my life on?
Wistfully comparing the senator’s infamous RNC speech—in which he refused to endorse Trump, instead imploring voters to “vote their conscience”—to a speech from legendary orator Charles Sumner, Beck pointedly asked: “Am I supposed to now vote for him or am I supposed to vote for my conscience?”
Cruz stumbled to comfort his old friend.
“What I was trying to do in Cleveland was lay out a path to uniting Republicans,” he claimed. “This is about principle, about ideas. That’s the test I’m applying. What I do know is that Hillary Clinton fails that test profoundly.”
Unwilling to let his buddy steamroll him, Beck charged forward: “We’ve known that for 25 years. However, this weekend, you wouldn’t answer the question whether Donald Trump is fit to be President of the United States.”
“I’ve tried very, very hard to prevent it from being a binary choice between Hillary and Donald Trump,” the senator fired back.
But Beck wasn’t done.
“So a man, who you cannot come on [the show] and say, ‘Yes, Glenn, he is fit to be President of the United States,’ I still am encouraged by you to abandon my principles and vote [for him] because it’s a binary choice?”
Cruz then laid out a stump speech’s worth of Hillary Clinton problems (she will “destroy America,” he said; she will nominate liberal Supreme Court justices to shred the Second Amendment; she will continue to endanger Americans abroad with her policies) that ought to make any conservative firebrand fall into Trump’s arms.
None of it worked on Beck.
“This is all the information you had in Cleveland,” he said. “You had this information the day you dropped out of the race, and said that Donald Trump is a ‘sociopathic liar.’ You had all this information. Do you have new information that has made you say, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s now not a sociopathic liar. He is not the guy that I very eloquently spelled out, for over a year, and now there’s suddenly a reason to believe him’?”
“We are in an election with a binary choice,” Cruz meekly replied.
“I’m asking you for new information,” Beck said. “You knew all the things you are saying today. The time to do that would’ve been the day you gave the speech, so eloquently. Why now?”
Cruz never provided a sufficient answer.
After nearly 20 minutes of back and forth, with Beck at one point pushing back a commercial break to continue the grilling, he finally told his buddy: “Ted, I disagree with you, I disagree with you strongly. But I still respect you as a man.”
Following the interview, Beck joined Burgiere and Pat Gray on the “Oval Office” couch, and poured out his heart.
“For the very first time I heard Ted Cruz calculate. And when that happened, the whole thing fell apart for me,” he lamented. “It’s my fault for believing men can actually be George Washington. It’s my fault.”
And then made a jaw-dropping admission: Maybe Marco Rubio would’ve been better.
“I should have said, 'You know who can win, you know who could beat Hillary Clinton? Marco Rubio,'” he said, seemingly unaware that just moments before he spoke of the futility of supporting politicians. “‘He's a different kind of politician, he's young politician, he's a Hispanic, he can win. Let's go for it.’” (Oddly enough, Marco Rubio capitulated and endorsed Trump months before Cruz ever did.)
And then his regrets turned to anger. He suggested Cruz would now attempt to shame him and others for refusing to vote for either major-party nominee. “Why don’t you just cover me in a bucket of blood?” he shouted.
“The interview pissed me off,” he later asserted. “That was so calculated that it was stunning to me.
“I think I have to apologize and say, maybe, perhaps, those of you who said Ted Cruz is calculating and a smarmy politician, I think I may have to slightly agree with you and apologize for saying, ‘No, he wasn’t.’”