This series analyses the 2016 presidential campaign with recaps of Alex Jones Show interviews with Larry Nichols, a Clinton insider from Arkansas days, terminally ill with cancer, and Roger Stone, Trump insider and veteran of five presidential campaigns beginning in 1964. See parts 1, 2 and 3 if you missed them.
Nichols co-created the 1994 film The Clinton Chronicles and Stone co-authored The Clintons’ War on Women, published in 2015.
This post covers Days 1 through 3 of the Republican National Convention held in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena between July 18 and 21, 2016. As such, Stone and Nichols do not feature in it, although Jones did interview Stone, who was in town to meet with Republicans and hold book signings.
What happened is so historic, it deserves recording. A fuller account is on Wikipedia.
I watched proceedings live on RSBN (Right Side Broadcasting Network), based in Auburn, Alabama. They also provided feeds for Trump’s rallies.
Each session included an invocation, presentation of colours and the national anthem.
Speaker line-ups were extensive and everything ran like clockwork. There were no lengthy pauses as there were at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Speaker names given below are only a selection. There were many more.
The convention opened on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 18, with the conscience clause controversy from the NeverTrump contingent, designed to deprive Donald Trump of delegates.
This was the only session I saw. NeverTrumpers were deprived of using their microphones by Reince Priebus and other Republicans officiating. At one point, Priebus and the other officials walked off the stage for several minutes. Resolving this took the whole session.
That evening, Melania Trump gave her speech which contained two vanilla sentences from Michelle Obama’s own in 2008 about family values and so forth. Although Melania’s speech ended with a Rickroll, the way she delivered it didn’t sound bad, just reassuringly familiar.
Trump favourites who spoke that night included Jeff Sessions, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Flynn. Trump supporters who spoke that night included Patricia Smith (mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith), Sen. Joni Ernst (Trump appeared at her Iowa event later in the summer), Rick Perry (former Texas governor) and actor Scott Baio (after my time, but considered a big draw with people in their 40s).
RSBN’s Adam Paxon interrupted the live stream during a break to wonder aloud why mostly British music was being played in the convention hall. After one of the nominations, the live band played Van Morrison’s Domino. They also did covers of hits by the Rolling Stones. Unfortunately, RSBN had to mute the music during subsequent breaks because they did not have permission to air the tunes, even though they were cover versions.
Getting down to the business of the afternoon session on July 19, Mitch McConnell (Senate majority leader) announced Mike Pence’s nomination. The delegates returned a resounding Aye with no objections. Michael, Audrey and Charlotte Pence were his escorts on stage.
Trump’s nomination came up next. He had the largest vote total in GOP history:
Donald Trump – 1725
Ted Cruz – 475
John Kasich – 120
Marco Rubio – 114
Ben Carson – 7
Jeb! Bush – 3
Rand Paul – 2
Melania and Trump’s children, including Barron, were his escorts.
Speeches from the evening session provided a number of enthusiastic soundbites.
After Mitch McConnell called Hillary a liar for changing her positions so often, he looked forward to ‘rock star Republicans’ being elected to the Senate.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recalled his time on stage in 2012 when he ran as VP on Romney’s ticket. He pledged his support to Trump (which later collapsed with the Billy Bush tape), reminded everyone that ‘democracy is a series of choices’ and that a Hillary administration offered ‘a third Obama term’.
Chris Christie said that Hillary had disqualified herself from running for the presidency.
Tiffany Trump proved to be a highly accomplished speaker. Her theme was Trump as a father drawing out the best from his children. She said he has always been very supportive, ‘a natural born encourager’. He is ‘so funny and so real’. She ended with ‘God bless you and thank you’.
Kerry Woolard, general manager of the Trump Winery and Hotel in Virginia, told the audience that in 2011 the business was in receivership under different ownership. Now, thanks to the Trumps, sales growth has been 100% in five years: a world class business.
Donald Trump Jr said that his father brought him up to ‘deliver a brighter future tomorrow’. Right now, Americans ‘have lost the confidence of our leaders’. Trump will be triggered into action: ‘I’ve seen it time and time again’. For him, ‘impossible is just the starting point’. Now that he has the nomination, ‘he is fully committed’ and has ‘unrelenting determination’.
From there, Don Jr covered other topics. He pointed out that a number of executives of the Trump Organization are ‘blue collar’ with ‘a degree in common sense’. He said that America’s education system serves tenured teachers, not students, and that the Dodd Frank bill ‘is consumer protectionist — for billionaires’. He criticised energy being under the control of Hillary’s ‘buddies in the Middle East’. He said his father would institute a tax code that would work for everybody. By the time he finished, he had really roused the crowd. He ended by calling his father ‘my mentor, my best friend … Donald Trump. Thank you and God bless’.
Shelley Moore Capito, senator from West Virginia, said that the state has 60,000 families without work: ‘Obama has kicked them to the kerb’. West Virginia is all about coal and she had high hopes that Trump would revive the industry.
The evening session on Wednesday, July 20 saw delegates waving ‘Make America First Again’ posters. The GOP lined up an eclectic set of speakers.
Florida governor Rick Scott focussed on terrorism post-Orlando: ‘The next president must destroy this evil. Donald Trump is the man for this job’.
Laura Ingraham, former Reagan speechwriter on domestic policy, conservative broadcaster and single mother of three adopted children, discussed her modest family origins before aiming the rest of her speech at Hillary. Not so long ago, ‘there were no jobs Americans wouldn’t do. It’s a question of respect. Politicians have no respect for people or police or even life in the womb’. The United States is ‘our home … it’s where our dead are buried’. She then attacked Big Media for not covering corruption: ‘Do your job!’ She ended with ‘Let’s give the power back to the people!’
Phil Ruffin, one of Trump’s business partners, said that Trump’s ‘handshake is worth more than any contract’. He said Trump always pays his bills promptly and doesn’t ask for discounts. He wants to serve as president with this same ethos. Trump is a ‘fighter, innovator, someone who knows what he is doing’.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi voiced her objections about the current administration and Hillary. She criticised Obamacare and the lack of rule of law, especially with regard to LEOs. She said: ‘November 8 is when America feels safe again’; Hillary ‘deserves no security clearance’, ‘Donald will roll back Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders’ and ‘will take back control of our borders’.
Colonel Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle mission, reminded everyone that it was 47 years ago on July 20 that men — American astronauts — first landed on the moon: ‘We came in peace for all mankind’. She pointed out that the last American space launch was ‘five years ago’ in 2011. She ended with ‘Make America Great Again!’
Michelle Van Etten is a self-employed small business owner representing Businesswomen for Trump. Her concerns are rising taxes and Obamacare. She called Trump the ‘ultimate ringmaster’.
Ralph Alvarado is a state senator from Kentucky and the first Latino lawmaker there. His father emigrated from Costa Rica. Praising his parents, he said that they believe what Republicans believe in: church, family values and small government.
Latinos for Trump
I switched to the Alex Jones Show after that. He was broadcasting from the convention, outside the hall in one of the tents.
Jones interviewed two members of Latinos for Trump: Marco Gutierrez and another gentleman whose name I didn’t catch.
Gutierrez, who emigrated to the US in 1991 made it clear that he did so legally.
He said that there is a lack of integration. La Raza is pushing things ‘that aren’t right — the white kid with blue eyes is a devil’. Because of this, many Latino Trump supporters ‘are in the closet … Ninety per cent of what Latinos hear is socialist mumbo jumbo’.
He asked, ‘Where are all the Latinos who were granted amnesty under Reagan in 1986? They should be here.’
The second man said he had more Spanish blood than Mexican and, because of that, he experienced racism from all quarters: Hispanics, whites and blacks.
One day while he was canvassing door to door, a Latina told him the Democrats were allowing ‘demonic forces’ — her words — into the party.
Both men thought that illegals should be deported unless they had been there long enough to not only become citizens but also abide by the oath of citizenship. Gutierrez said the cost of a routine deportation with no legal or other issues is $50,000. The more complex a deportation case, the more it costs — tens of thousands of dollars more.
Conversation turned to financial success. Former millionaire Gutierrez said that he had family problems when he lost his fortune in 2007. He said part of the reason for antipathy towards Trump is that a lot of people are ‘angry’ at others’ success. However, ‘America is becoming great for me again, just talking to Alex Jones.’
The second man thought that Cruz’s speech in which he said ‘vote your conscience’ and caused delegates to walk out was wrong. By not endorsing Trump, he said Cruz was signalling at voting for Hillary Clinton.
The interview came to an end soon afterwards. Closing remarks went to Gutierrez, who said he never supported Cruz or Rubio — his candidate was ‘always Trump’.
I have never enjoyed a political convention as much as this one. Every evening had a fantastic array of speakers from all circumstances and all walks of life. Therefore, it was really disappointing to see Big Media say the RNC of 2016 was ‘dark’. It was anything but. Every speech was uplifting and encouraging.
The next post will feature Day 4’s speakers. Anyone who didn’t feel hopeful after that really does have a ‘dark’ side.