Defiant Cruz drives home new attack on Republican Trump

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Donald Trump's plane interrupts Ted Cruz rally; crowd boos

CLEVELAND, July 21 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday staunchly defended his decision not to endorse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in a damaging rift at the party's convention ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Cruz, who came in second to Trump in the race for the Republican nomination after a bitter and personal campaign, was booed by delegates at the gathering in Cleveland on Wednesday night when he gave a speech but did not endorse Trump.

SEE ALSO: Hundreds of Republicans boo Cruz as he refuses to endorse Trump in RNC speech

The conservative senator from Texas stood his ground on Thursday. He refused to say whether he would vote for Trump, who dubbed him a liar and attacked his father and wife during the primary campaign, although he did say he would not vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

"I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," Cruz told a meeting of the Texas delegation in Cleveland.

See how the audience inside the convention hall reacted to Cruz's speech:

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Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican National Convention
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Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican National Convention
People react to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., as Cruz addresses the delegate during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Delegates shout as Ted Cruz speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. The cost of the convention for the Republican Party will run some $64 million. The number of visitors expected in Cleveland is 50,000, including 15,000 journalists and 2,472 delegates (there are also 2,302 alternate delegates.) / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
People react to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., as Cruz addresses the delegate during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: (L-R) Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Tiffany Trump stand as they listen to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speak during the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Delegates hold up signs as Ted Cruz speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. The cost of the convention for the Republican Party will run some $64 million. The number of visitors expected in Cleveland is 50,000, including 15,000 journalists and 2,472 delegates (there are also 2,302 alternate delegates.) / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) delivers a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
People react to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., as Cruz addresses the delegate during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Attendees stand as they listens to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) delivering a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: People boo Senator Ted Cruz as he addresses the crowd, during the third day of the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
People react to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., as Cruz addresses the delegate during the third day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A Ted Cruz supporter holds a sign during his speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Delegates stand as they listens to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) deliver a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Texas Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
UNITED STATES - JULY 20: A woman in the upper seating area yells 'say it' and 'I don't believe you' as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday July 20, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Texas Senator Ted Cruz waves at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Delegates cheer former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz as he speaks during the third night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Former Republican U.S. presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz speaks during the third night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
US Senetor Ted Cruz speaks on stage at the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. The cost of the convention for the Republican Party will run some $64 million. The number of visitors expected in Cleveland is 50,000, including 15,000 journalists and 2,472 delegates (there are also 2,302 alternate delegates.) / AFP / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Ted Cruz speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. The cost of the convention for the Republican Party will run some $64 million. The number of visitors expected in Cleveland is 50,000, including 15,000 journalists and 2,472 delegates (there are also 2,302 alternate delegates.) / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks on the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 20, 2016. / AFP / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gestures as he walks on stage to deliver a speech on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
US Senetor Ted Cruz waves as he arrives on stage at the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. The cost of the convention for the Republican Party will run some $64 million. The number of visitors expected in Cleveland is 50,000, including 15,000 journalists and 2,472 delegates (there are also 2,302 alternate delegates.) / AFP / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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"What I wanted to do last night was lay out the principles I believe we should stand for as Republicans," Cruz said.

The fight was the latest misstep at the four-day party meeting, which was meant to be an occasion showing Republicans rallying behind Trump, an New York businessman who has never been elected to public office but who saw off 16 rivals in the primary contests.

SEE ALSO: RNC crowd erupts in cheers as Laura Ingraham challenges 'bruised' former rivals who haven't backed Trump

The convention began on Monday but the highlight of the first day, a speech by Trump's wife, Melania, became a controversial talking point because it used some lines that were similar to passages in an address by first lady Michelle Obama in 2008.

Susan Hutchison, chair of the Washington delegation, said she confronted Cruz after his speech and called him a "traitor to the party."

Watch as hundreds boo Cruz:
              Ted Cruz booed as he refuses to endorse Donald Trump

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