Ted Cruz took to his home state on Saturday to suggest times ahead for the Republican Party will be "challenging," continuing to distance himself from backing Donald Trump ahead of this summer's GOP national convention.
"We may face some challenging days ahead," Cruz told the Texas GOP Convention in Dallas. "But I am convinced that movement — the men and women gathered here — will be the remnant, will be the core of pulling this country back from the abyss."
Two months from the national convention, Cruz has presented little evidence to suggest he will back Trump, the GOP's presumptive nominee, in a general election square-off against Hillary Clinton.
Cruz said in February, when he was still in the race, that he was "not willing to gamble my daughters' futures with Donald Trump." Since then he has shown little inclination to fulfilling the pledge he took last year to support his party's eventual nominee, calling his rival amoral, a narcissist and a sniveling coward.
Texas Republican party elder and former chairman Steve Munisteri said on Saturday the party needs Cruz and his supporters to rally behind Trump.
"We do need [Cruz] here in Texas — this state is more competitive than people think it is," Munisteri told NBC News. "But more importantly, Ted Cruz has led a national movement, a conservative movement. We certainly need solid conservatives to be behind our nominee."
A defeat in Texas, where Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama by 16 percentage points in 2012, would likely be a serious blow to Trump. But the hesitancy among some Cruz supporters poses a more distinct threat in potential swing states crucial to giving Trump any chance at entering the White House.
Last month on the campaign trail, Cruz suggested the GOP would lose the Senate and potentially the House in what would end in a "bloodbath" for Republicans if Trump becomes the nominee.
This week, Cruz shifted his focus to pushing forward the "conservative movement," as he called it.
"My commitment is to principles that matter," Cruz said in Washington, D.C.
Cruz acquired more than seven million votes in the three months since his Iowa caucus victory. But among Cruz's Texas fleet of supporters, there is a stark divide in whether Cruz loyalists should hand their allegiances to Trump, even begrudgingly.