RNC Day 1: Many Notable Republicans Skip the Convention
As Never-Trump Republicans tried to force a floor vote on rules for running the convention, the Trump faction swiftly and effectively twisted arms to take away the group’s standing—whipping three state delegations back in line. Then there was the prospective candidate’s wife’s speech, which was well received. . .except that some claim that Melania plagiarized it from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech.
Who would want to miss such fun? Well, nobody, of course, but for some, “something came up,” according to Reuters.
As Republicans spilled into Cleveland on Monday to nominate Donald Trump as their presidential candidate, 2012 nominee Mitt Romney had an equally crucial task: Entertaining his grandchildren at his lakeside summer house in New Hampshire.
U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 Republican nominee who has endorsed Trump despite the latter’s insults, attended an ice cream party with his wife, Cindy, and volunteers in his re-election campaign in Prescott, Arizona. He also took part in a veterans’ gathering.
“Working out of my office in Miami this week,” former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the Republican presidential race in February, said in an email to Reuters. Bush had been the most active in attacking Trump on the campaign trail and has said he will not be voting for either Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8.
His brother, former President George W. Bush and father, former President George H.W. Bush, were also not at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. . .
As Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gaveled the convention to order, Rubio was in Fort Myers, Florida, talking about how to tackle toxic algae polluting some of the state’s waterways. . .
Former Vice President Dick Cheney was in Wyoming helping the congressional campaign of his daughter, Liz Cheney, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was talked about as a possible vice presidential running mate for Trump, was at home in Palo Alto, California. “Writing her book about democracy!” said her chief of staff, Georgia Godfrey. . .
U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, an eye doctor, was providing free eye care in Paducah, Kentucky. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham was in his home state of South Carolina for the week.
The most surprising no-show was the state’s governor.
Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. . .criticized Ohio Governor John Kasich for not participating in an event in his own backyard. . . Kasich adviser John Weaver shot back: “Governor Kasich has made it clear why he hasn’t endorsed Mr. Trump. They share a different world view in how to move the country forward.”
Of course, Kasich could change his mind, and speak. He told NBC that it would be a matter of Trump simply making a change.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich told NBC News’ Lester Holt that Donald Trump would “have to change everything that he says” in order for him to speak at the Republican convention taking place in his home state. . .
“I don’t hold any personal animus towards Donald Trump,” Kasich said. “We just are two companies that have different values, different directions, and different philosophies.”
Meanwhile, Ohio’s embattled senator, Rob Portman, is also missing in action.
Rather than take the stage on behalf of Trump and assume a home-state starring role at Quicken Loans Arena, Portman is swinging a hammer at a Habitat for Humanity site, kayaking with wounded veterans on the Cuyahoga River and shaking hands with hundreds of millennial volunteers from around Ohio. Instead of defending Trump’s vision for America, the first-term senator is talking up his push to pass a sweeping anti-opioid measure.
At a volunteer appreciation event at Cuyahoga Community College on Monday, Portman was surrounded by raucous volunteers wearing matching blue T-shirts and introduced by a flashy campaign testimonial video in an atmosphere that could’ve easily been mistaken for a major party convention.
The Trump forces are not taking this lying down. Ohio is being punished, according to the Daily Caller.
So much for host state favoritism. Ohio’s state delegation will not be seated in the front row at the Republican convention at the Quicken Loans Center this coming week.
Instead, the Buckeye State delegates will be seated in the second row from the podium, to the stage’s left wing, behind the Pennsylvania delegation.
Ohio is not happy, according to Politico, saying such pettiness could cost Trump the state in November.
Donald Trump’s team came to Ohio and declared war on Gov. John Kasich — an approach top-ranking state GOP officials say hurts Trump’s chances of beating Hillary Clinton in this crucial swing state in November. . .
In an interview with POLITICO, Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges sharply rebuked Manafort, suggesting that such comments make it less likely that Trump will carry Ohio, a critical swing state where Trump’s contest with Clinton is very tight so far, according to the polling averages.
“He’ll need to do better if we’re going to carry Ohio in the fall,” Borges said. . .
Asked whether Trump could win without the support of the Ohio GOP, Borges continued, “Could he win without the governor’s support? I certainly think that is possible. If they choose to continue on this divisive type of message, it’s going to make things more difficult.”
It’s not all pettiness. Seating seems to be one sign of how the Trump campaign values the states. They want to attack “Blue” and “Purple” states, while taking “Red” states for granted, according to the Daily Caller lineup.
State delegations with front row seating are New York, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Alabama and Pennsylvania. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California are in the prime center areas of the stage.
Where is the massive Texas delegation? Toward the back of the convention floor with Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, Puerto Rico, Delaware and Maine.
The Utah delegation is far up on the other side of the convention floor with Guam, Nebraska, Virginia, Arizona, Washington State, Michigan, and Minnesota.
It’s showmanship. As the cameras send the message home, mom and pop will see signs for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California waving enthusiastically. Pop turns to Mom and says, “gosh, I thought them states were sure Dem wins—must be this Trump feller is more popular than we thought!”