Tim Bryce: A very in-depth look at what happened day one in Cleveland
After much anticipation, the 41st Republican National Convention got underway at 1:00pm on Monday, under a cloak of security featuring over 4,000 law enforcement personnel.
As Day 1 began, the negativity of the main street media became more pronounced, with the New York Times claiming, “Hard Feelings on Day 1.” The Washington Post was more visceral with such editorials as, “Donald Trump is not qualified to be president. And the American people know it,” “The GOP is picking an incompetent candidate,” “GOP, RIP?,” and “Trump vows to run the country the way he runs his businesses. Poor us.”
Despite the media’s spin though, the latest Rasmussen Poll reports, “21% Say U.S. Heading in Right Direction,” representing a three year low and bad news for the Obama administration, not to mention the perceived transitioning to a Clinton regime.
The four day event was preceded by other dramatic news events from over the weekend which heightened interest in the convention.
On Saturday, July 16th, candidate Donald J. Trump officially introduced his selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his Vice Presidential running mate. On Sunday’s edition of CBS 60 Minutes, Leslie Stahl was the first to interview the ticket, and set the tone of the main street media where she was more interested in probing for cracks in the candidates’ relationship as opposed to discussing policy.
On Sunday, July 17th, Baton Rouge, LA police officers were ambushed and shot by Gavin Long, a black man and Marine who had posted videos online seemingly endorsing violence as a way to push back against law enforcement. Long was shot and killed by the police. Three officers were slain, and three others shot and injured. The suspect had lived in Kansas City and last year sought to change his name from Gavin Eugene Long to Cosmo Ausar Setepenra. In a document, filed in the Jackson County Recorder’s office, Long claimed his nationality was “Washitaw,” referring to the Washitaw Nation is a black nationalist movement once targeted by the FBI.
In a brief statement following the incident, the president asked for restrained rhetoric, particularly at the party conventions over the next two weeks.
One has to wonder if we Will ever raise our flag again to full-staff at public buildings.
Just prior to the start of the convention, disgruntled Republicans to Trump’s nomination staged a coup to change the rules to allow delegates to vote their conscious, and not in accordance with primary voting. This was easily defeated as not enough states supported the resolution (only nine voted for it, while twelve states were needed), they simply didn’t have the necessary votes needed to cause a delay. Nonetheless, the frustrated delegates of Iowa and Colorado staged a walk-out of the convention area.
Noticeably missing from the convention is John Kasich, the governor of the hosting state, and former political rival of Donald Trump. Other notable names missing include the last two Republican presidential nominees, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Arizona Sen. John McCain. Former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are also sitting out, as they did in 2012, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush is also staying away as he intensely dislikes his former rival.
Chairman of the RNC Reince Priebus welcomed the delegates to the Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland and called the meeting to order on schedule (1:00pm). Priebus began with a moment of silence to recognize the fallen law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas. This was followed by the customary presentation of the colors by Republican veterans, the Pledge of Allegiance by local school children, the National Anthem presented by “The Singing Angels,” and the invocation as performed by Rabbi Ari wolf, a Cleveland police chaplain.
Aside from routine committee reports requiring approval, perhaps the most noteworthy motion passed was to accept the Republican platform and rules.
The four day event is broken into four themes:
Monday: Make America Safe Again
Tuesday: Make America Work Again
Wednesday: Make America First Again
Thursday: Make America One Again
Numerous speakers are planned over the next four days, including the Trump family and Donald Trump, the candidate. Delegates are scheduled to vote Trump as their nominee on Tuesday.
The prime time list of speakers was a long one. Most spoke for no more than five minutes. As mentioned, the theme for tonight was on national safety. This included numerous discussions on illegal immigration and failed foreign policy regarding ISIS and extreme Muslim terrorists. The following is a brief summary of the key speakers:
Willie Robertson of TV’s “Duck Dynasty” opened the session with a message that the media has gotten it wrong for so long; that they have been misrepresenting the facts.
Actor Scott Baio made the observation that being an American doesn’t mean you are entitled to “free stuff.” It means sacrifices, hard work and responsibility. He also compared the differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry made a brief presentation on the necessity for taking care of America’s military veterans.
This was closely followed by a presentation by Marcus Luttrell, a former Navy Seal and author of the book, “Service: A Navy Seal at War.” He too pushed for veterans rights, and challenged the next generation that the battle is theirs now and it is here in America.
Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith, told a touching story of how she lost her son in Benghazi. She claimed the government didn’t listen or care. “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son!” This was a very powerful and moving session. She ended by saying,“Trump is everything Hillary is not.”
This was followed by a brief film, “What Really Happened in Benghazi?”
John Tiegen and Mark Geist, the co-authors of “13 Hours,” gave perhaps the longest talk of the evening by providing their first-hand account of what happened in Benghazi. Their story was dramatic and held the audience’s attention.
Another short film was shown explaining the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in the “Fast and Furious” incident, as told by his brother and sister.
Actor Antonio Sabata, Jr. claimed he was concerned about his children’s future in this country. He came to America legally from Italy and became a naturalized citizen. “Everyone should follow the rules,” he claimed. He also warned of the dangers of Socialism.
Three people came forward to describe the deaths of their offspring to illegal aliens. This included Mary Ann Mendoza for her son Sgt. Brandon Mendoza; Sabine Durden for her son Dominic, and; Jamiel Shaw for his son “Jazz.” This too touched the audience deeply.
Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, chairman of the Congressional Homeland Security Committee asked, “Haven’t we had enough?”
Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke began his talk stating, “Blue Lives matter!” which generated considerable applause. He gave a short yet stirring speech on the importance of law enforcement.
Senate candidate Darryl Glenn (R-CO) claimed “Hillary Clinton is unfit to be president.” He then joked she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit.
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas claimed, “No, we shouldn’t lead from behind.” He also said it will be nice to have a commander-in-chief who will not mishandle classified information, an obvious reference to Mrs. Clinton.
Karen Vaughn of the Concerned Veterans for America discussed the need for presidential leadership.
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama discussed our weak immigration policies and how it is affecting the country economically.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Guilliani gave a passionate speech discussing how to make America safe. He claimed people fear for their family’s safety as well as Law Enforcement Officers. He has known Trump for 30 years and told of some of the deeds he has quietly done to support others. He said he was tired of the media attacking Trump, and claimed the real problem is Islamic Extreme Terrorism, not all Muslims, but extremists. He encouraged people to watch the new movie by Dinesh D’Souza, “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party.”
Melania Trump, the wife of the candidate, was introduced by the Donald. The couple has been married for 18 years. She was born in Slovenia, but became a naturalize American citizen in 2006. Melania briefly discussed her background and values. She also recognized former Senator Bob Dole as a veteran. Her presentation also discussed what kind of man her husband is, “Donald thinks big. Donald gets things done.” She closed by saying her projects as First Lady would involve women issues, children, and education.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, began by asking Americans to “Wake up!”; that we have to change how we lead the world, not from behind, but out front. The Obama/Clinton style of leadership has failed the country because it failed to embrace exceptionalism and our history. “War is not about political correctness; it is about winning.” What is truly remarkable of Flynn, is that he is a life-long Democrat.
The evening was wrapped up by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA); Sgt. Jason Beardsley, advisor for Concerned Veterans of America, and; Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT). Ernst asked, “Where is America’s leadership?” She also claimed ISIS is already represented in all 50 states.
This was my 13th GOP convention I have watched, and in those 42 years, this was unlike any convention I have seen before. It wasn’t just rhetoric from political talking heads. Instead, it included stories from everyday people, powerful messages which appeared to hit a nerve with the delegates.
The ratings of the convention will be interesting. According to Nielson, 30.3 million people watched the final night of the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa. This was down from 39.9 million people in 2008. This convention will likely exceed this number and set a record viewership. If it is substantially more, this can be construed as a positive sign for the Republicans.
For Tuesday night, the theme for the speakers will be “Make America Work Again.” Among the speakers will be: Tiffany Trump; Kerry Woolard, general manager of Trump Winery; Donald Trump Jr.; Dr. Ben Carson; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and; Kimberlin Brown, soap opera actress.
Keep the Faith!