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Cruz Camp Denies Talks of Speaking Role at Republican Convention

Three sources, including one close to the Trump campaign, tell NBC News that Cruz is in negotiations for a speaking spot at the convention.
Image: Ted Cruz ends presidential campaign
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, walks off the stage following a primary night campaign event, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Indianapolis.Darron Cummings / AP

A spokesperson for Sen. Ted Cruz says there are no negotiations underway to include the former presidential candidate on the list of speakers at the Republican National Convention that Donald Trump said he plans to release on Thursday.

Three sources, including one close to the Trump campaign, tell NBC News that there have been talks for a speaking spot at the convention but Cruz spokesperson says none are underway. It would be a notable shift for Trump, who previously said his former opponents who haven’t yet endorsed him wouldn’t be invited to speak. In response to those comments from Trump, a Cruz spokeswoman said at the time that the Texas senator wasn’t expecting to receive any time on the schedule.

If Cruz were to speak at the convention, it would be a boon for both the senator and the presumptive GOP nominee, who is still struggling to unite the party behind his candidacy with less than two weeks to go until the convention kicks off in Cleveland. Cruz is widely expected to make another White House run in the future, and his appearance at the convention would further elevate him within the party. It could also help convince his former supporters to back Trump, many of whom remain skeptical of the presumptive nominee — and a small cohort of whom are trying to force a contested convention to oust Trump.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced this week he’ll be speaking at the convention and suggested in a tweet he’d be backing Trump, though Walker didn’t name the presumptive nominee. That was a change for the Wisconsin governor, who last month offered support for the idea that bound delegates should be able to vote their conscience and thus oppose Trump at the convention.

"Last August, I said I'd support the GOP nominee. It's now clear who the RNC delegates will vote to nominate. And he is better than she is," Walker tweeted.

The field of Trump’s former competitors in the Republican primary are split over the convention. Ben Carson will have a speaking role and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to as well. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he wouldn’t be attending and Gov. John Kasich, whose state is hosting the convention, said he won’t be attending and has no plans to endorse Trump. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in May that he’d be open to a speaking slot.