Republican National Convention 2016- A week in review
The Republican National Convention 2016 took place from July 18-July 21 in Cleveland. Here is my day to day summary of the convention highlights.
Republican National Convention Day 1 (July 18)
#RNC2016 . It is Day 1 of RNC 2016. Tonight’s theme is “Make America Safe Again”. Sadly, this is a very appropriate choice following the horrific act of radical Islamic terrorism in Nice, France where a recently radicalized individual plowed a 19-ton vehicle into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 84 people including two Americans and injuring over 200. This past weekend three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We need to take our country back again.
We need to “make it safe again”. That starts with the Donald Trump-Mike Pence ticket! Tonight’s speakers focus on ways to keep our country safe. Some of the headliners include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Lt. General Michael Flynn and other great speakers. The evening caps off with a speech from presumptive first lady, Melania Trump!
Republican National Convention Day 2 (July 19)
#RNC2016- It is Day 2 of RNC2016. The opening night of the convention included many memorable speeches from a diversity of individuals. Some of my personal favorites included Rudy Guiliani, the former Mayor of New York City, who said that Donald Trump will do for the United States what he did for New York City. “America’s Mayor” called out would be terrorists by saying “We know who you are!”. The evening also included a very charismatic speech from rising star candidate for a US Senate seat in Colorado Darryl Glenn who told a cheering crowd, “The Democratic Party is all about handouts, and after seven and a half years all we have left in our pockets is change.” Night one also included a touch of Hollywood with speeches from actors turned conservative spokespersons Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato Jr. Baio, a child star most known for his role on Happy Days told the crowd that Donald Trump was a man, not a “Messiah”. Antonio Sabato Jr. spoke of his experience as an immigrant to the United States from Italy.
The signature moment of the evening was the arrival of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in silhouette to the music of Queen’s “We are the Champions” to introduce the keynote speech of his wife Melania Trump. The beautiful and poised Mrs. Trump, an immigrant from Slovenia who speaks five languages and had a very successful career as a model and business woman, delivered a beautiful speech. She told the enraptured audience “we want our children in this nation…to know the limits of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.” If Donald Trump is elected, Melania Trump would be the second first lady born on foreign soil. The first was Louisa Adams. Mrs. Trump was also given the very important responsibility of recognizing Senator Bob Dole as “a great veteran”. Dole, the 1996 GOP presidential candidate who celebrates his 93 birthday on July 22, was the oldest former Republican presidential candidate in attendance. While Mrs. Trump’s speech was extremely well received by the audience in Cleveland and the news media, it wasn’t long before news outlets started accusing her of having plagiarized elements of current first lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. Mrs. Trump insists that she wrote the speech herself.
Republican National Convention Day 3 (July 20)
#RNC2016- It is Day 3 of RNC2016. Last night’s big moment occurred when Donald Trump officially secured the nomination with 1725 delegates. The excitement started when Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason deferred Pennsylvania’s roll call to New York so that the Empire State could put native son Donald Trump over the top with the 89 of the state’s 95 delegates to meet the 1237 delegate threshold. The nomination was particularly moving as it was Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s oldest child who presented his father with New York’s support. “It is my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top in the delegate count tonight.” “Congratulations, Dad. We love you,” Donald Trump Jr. proclaimed as he stood next to his siblings, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Tiffany Trump.
The evening’s theme which was “Make America Work Again” featured some of Trump’s past competitors including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. Chris Christie who is always a compelling speaker engaged the crowd by citing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s various transgressions and asking the crowd, “” Is she guilty or not guilty?” This exchange created a momentum where the crowd started chanting “Lock her up. Lock her up.”
The evening also included speeches from two of Donald Trump’s children. Donald Trump Jr., who does not appear on the talk shows as frequently as his brother Eric, gave a powerful speech. Of course, the latest buzz is that his speech included words from an article in American Conservative written by F.H. Buckley, titled “Trump vs. the New Class.” Buckley who helped Donald Jr., with his speech quickly dismissed any allegations of plagiarism in the wake of the brouhaha regarding the striking comparisons between Melania Trump’s convention opening night speech and current first lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic Convention speech.
The audience also had an opportunity to hear from Tiffany Trump, Trump’s daughter from his marriage to actress Marla Maples. The recent University of Pennsylvania graduate who has spent little time under media spotlight, demonstrated poise, eloquence and graciousness.
The evening which was dedicated to “Making America Work” included speeches from representatives from various industries. I especially liked the speech from soap opera actress turned avocado farmer Kimberlin Brown who spoke out about she knows firsthand that high tax rates and other expenses have resulted in significant US film and television production being outsourced overseas resulting in the loss of jobs for many technical “behind the scenes” professionals. She also spoke out against discriminating against people for their political views.
Republican National Convention Day 4 (July 21)
#RNC2016- It is Day 4 of RNC 2016. Last night’s theme was “Make America First Again”. The evening included speeches from some of Donald Trump’s former 2016 GOP presidential ticket rivals including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Senator Marco Rubio was a “no show” who sent a last minute video.
And of course, there was the much anticipated speech from Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “I congratulate Donald Trump on winning the nomination last night,” Cruz said. “And like each of you, I want to see the principles that our party believes prevail in November.” However, Cruz did not formally endorse Trump. In fact, he only mentioned his name once. The crowd gave Cruz’s non-endorsement a big thumbs down by booing him as he exited the stage. In his speech, Cruz spoke about the need for voters to “vote their conscience” and to use their vote to “protect the Constitution”.
Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the house and one of Trump’s top choices for Vice President, gave Cruz’s words a new meaning when he told the crowd, “To paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the Constitution of the United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket.” For his part, Trump shrugged off Cruz’s non-endorsement with a tweet: “Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn’t honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!”
The evening’s other signature moment was Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s acceptance of the vice presidential nomination. In his acceptance speech, Pence told the audience how humbled he was by the nomination. He also described Trump as “a fighter” and “a winner.” He went on to say that given Trump’s “large personality, his colorful style, and lots of charisma,” Trump must have selected him as the VP because Trump was” looking for someone to balance the ticket.” While Pence was speaking, Trump joined him on stage and gave him a “thumbs up” and what appeared to be an awkward kiss.
The night’s program also included a speech from Donald Trump’s son Eric who has been the most visible of the adult Trump children on the talk show circuit. In his speech, Eric described his father as “a man who truly loves his country, is proud of his country and truly wants his country to be great again.” He also reiterated the story of how his father once told talk show host Oprah Winfrey that he would run for president, “only if it got so bad that I had no choice. Well, ladies and gentleman, that day has come.”
The evening included other moving speeches. I was especially impressed by that of conservative talk show host and attorney Laura Ingraham who talked about her hard working parents who put every spare dime aside for their children’s education. Ingraham had a compelling exchange when she commanded the crowd to coalesce in the name of party unity. “We should all — even you boys with wounded feelings and bruised egos — we love you, but you must honor your pledge to support Donald Trump now,” she said.
The closing night’s theme is “Make America One Again”. The perfect theme for the big moment when Donald Trump accepts the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency. Speakers tonight include Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, evangelical leader Jerry Falwell and Ivanka Trump who will introduce her father.
Tonight’s program should be an amazing culmination to RNC 2016.
RNC 2016 Ratings Fall Short of Expectations
The Republican National Convention 2016 was a great spectacle with four nights filled with a wide variety of speakers. However, the final night which featured Donald Trump’s speech where he accepts the Republican Party’s nomination to be their candidate for the presidency of the United States, was not the ratings bonanza the networks expected. According to Variety, “Early ratings results indicate 30.05 million people watched Donald Trump accept the mantle of the Republican presidential nomination in the 10 p.m. hour across the ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC.” This figure is marginally less than the 30.25 million that watched Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in 2012; however, that statistic included viewership across ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Current, Mun2, PBS and Univision- two additional networks. The viewership for both the Trump and the Romney acceptance speeches were light years lower than those for 2008 GOP Presidential nominee John McCain who pulled in 38.93 viewers from CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Univision and Telemundo, according to Nielsen.(http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/2016-republican-national-convention-ratings-donald-trump-speech-romny-mccain-1201820515/)
The 2016 RNC ratings are still in the process of being tallied. The Trump speech is likely to see a lift in its final numbers. Variety forecasts that Trump’s final results will still fall short of McCain’s, but exceed those for Romney.
Trump’s acceptance speech, which was proceeded by an introduction from his daughter Ivanka Trump received mixed reactions based on party lines. Republicans complimented the speech for its through coverage of all the key policy issues and for its inspirational vision for the future of America. By contrast, Democrats described the speech as “hateful” and reflective of a “dark view of America”.
DNC Comes to Philadelphia
Next week July 25-July 28 the Democratic National Convention comes to Philadelphia.
Stay tuned for my daily coverage!
Image: Donald Trump, 2015, CPAC; By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39399660