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Asian-American Delegates 'Disappointed' After Cruz's Non-Endorsement of Trump

Cruz drew boos from the crowd at the Quicken Loans Arena when he told the packed house to “vote your conscience."
Image: RNC in Cleveland 2016
Texas Senator and former Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz speaks during the third day of the 2016 Republican National Convention at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, July 20.SHAWN THEW / EPA

Disappointment and sadness were among the words some Asian American and Pacific Islander delegates used to describe their reaction to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s not endorsing GOP nominee Donald Trump Wednesday night.

“I have a lot respect for him, I think he’s a very smart guy,” incoming California national committeewoman and delegate Harmeet Dhillon told NBC News. “I think what he demonstrated was somebody concerned about his chances for 2020 and not somebody concerned about the future of this country.”

Indian-born Sikh Republican activist Harmeet Dhillon adjusts her scarf as she prepares to deliver the invocation at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016.BRIAN SNYDER / Reuters

Cruz drew boos from the crowd at the Quicken Loans Arena when he told the packed house to “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.”

Just after 11 p.m. ET, as Trump was leaving the arena, reporters shouted questions about the Cruz speech at him, and he simply replied, "I loved it."

Hawaii delegate and head of the delegation Nathan Paikai told NBC News he was saddened by Cruz’s remarks and said he thought the senator “committed political suicide.”

“To unify a people group, to want to love America, to do what is in the best interest of America, Senator Cruz did not make the most excellent choice that he could have,” said Paikai, who added that Cruz, as a Republican, should have made an endorsement.

Hawaii delegates cheer as they announce their nomination during the second day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016.John Locher / AP

If anything, the boos bounding about the arena Wednesday night suggested a growing unity around Trump.

“I think that the number of people who were disappointed with [Cruz] yesterday included many people who have supported him in the primaries,” said Dhillon, who added that she too was a Cruz supporter at times during the campaign. “In that sense, it is unifying.”

Meanwhile, Cruz addressed the Texas delegation in Cleveland Thursday morning to answer questions about his speech.

"What does it say when you stand up and you say 'vote your conscience' and rabid supporters of our nominee start screaming, 'what a horrible thing to say,'" Cruz said.

All eyes will be on Trump when he takes the stage Thursday night, the final day of the convention.

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