Exclusive: Cruz to Endorse Trump Friday

Former rival will lay speculation to rest and get behind the Republican nominee

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is slated to end his opposition to Donald Trump’s candidacy and officially back the Republican nominee Friday.

According to sources familiar with the discussions, Cruz has agreed to go ahead with the endorsement but it will not include a public appearance with Trump.

The endorsement from Cruz will be seen by many as a major step for Trump to seal the deal with remaining skeptical conservative voters.

Earlier reporting from LifeZette confirmed the talks were in their final stages, with the Cruz campaign going over final logistics with the Trump camp before giving final approval. Subsequent reports from Politico and other outlets confirmed the talks were happening and that an endorsement could come as early as Friday.

With the green light now given Cruz is expected to make the announcement Friday afternoon, though it remained unclear exactly what format the endorsement would be delivered in.

The backing from Cruz comes on the heels of seeming olive branches from Trump.

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Earlier this week Trump backed a major policy priority for Cruz in Congress — stopping the administration’s transfer of internet oversight from the federal government to a private, multinational organization.

On Friday Trump announced an expanded list of potential Supreme Court nominees he would consider if elected. Among the potential picks was Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a close friend and political ally of Cruz.

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The endorsement from Cruz will be seen by many as a major step for Trump to seal the deal with remaining skeptical conservative voters.

A recent poll conducted by Fox News indicates Trump has largely unified the party already, earning the backing of 80 percent of likely Republican voters. The announcement from the GOP candidate who received the second-most votes in the 2016 primaries will no doubt continue to help Trump solidify the Republican base.

Those involved with the effort to convert Cruz pointed to the senator’s concern for the future of the Supreme Court, the Constitution and conservative priorities should Hillary Clinton ascend to the White House. Those appeals to issues larger than personality and even Trump’s candidacy itself appear to have won the reluctant Cruz over.

The increasing tightness of the race and the potential for Trump to defeat Clinton also reportedly factored into Cruz’s final decision.

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