2016 Republican Convention – Day 1 Recap

The 2016 Republican Convention began on yesterday and it was off to an exciting start. The words “exciting” and “Republican Convention” have not been used in the same sentence for a very LONG time, who could expect anything less from presumptive nominee, prominent businessman and reality star, Donald Trump. In case you were not able to be there in-person or watch it in its entirety, this very brief recap will fill you in on some of the highlights!

The Republican Revolt
Just a few hours before the convention began, delegates who opposed Donald Trump made a motion for a roll call vote from ALL 2,472 delegates on the floor. They began shouting and yelling, clearly showing that they were NOT Trump supporters. Nevertheless, the chairman called for a “voice vote” to determine whether the motion would carry. Despite the loud chants saying “roll call vote” seemed to drown out the “no” votes (at least on TV), the chairman ruled that “no” votes had won and that there would not be a roll call vote. However, it seemed there may have been enough votes needed to meet the seven count threshold to support the motion, so the rebellion was gaining steam. Then “Hi-yo Silver!”, staffers from the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) galloped in to save the day.   They had their work cut out for them but they gallantly rose to the challenge and defeated the revolt!  The convention’s honor remained unscathed and the RNC was able to proceed with the evening’s agenda…on time.  More about the attempted convention coup can be found here.

The Speakers
 Monday night’s theme was “Make America Safe Again” and speakers spoke about the military, law enforcement, and radical Islamists. Below is a list of the speakers (there were quite a lot) and the overall theme of their speech and brief review is provided for some.

  1. Willie Robertson (Reality Star, Duck Dynasty) – Willie Robertson warmed up the crowd by providing some southern humor. The theme of Willie’s speech was that Donald Trump “has your back” whether you need a job, or a “serviceman” (what about women Willie?), or a cop…Trump has got your back. He came across as passionate and like he sincerely likes Trump; however, unless you are a fan of Duck Dynasty, it is doubtful that his speech will convince you to vote for Trump if you are undecided or change your vote if you are not.
  2. Gov. Rick Perry (Former governor of Texas) – Rick Perry was brief…VERY brief. He spoke about how he and his wife met Navy SEAL, Marcus Luttrell. Perry did not say anything about Donald Trump, in fact he never even mentioned his name (Talk about throwing shade)! Not sure why he was added to the list of speakers, other than for the purpose of filling in the time because he really did not do anything to energize the crowd for Trump. He did do a great job of warming up for the next speaker, Marcus Luttrell.
  3. Marcus Luttrell – Luttrell is a former Navy SEAL who was part of a special operation called “Operation Red Wings”. The film, Lone Survivor, is based on his experience. He spoke about the military and not leaving anyone, especially veterans, behind. He boldly got off script and began using his own words. This made his speech more authentic and based on the show of faces in the audience, his words resonated deeply with everyone.
  4. Scott Baio (Actor, Reality Star) – Well, who knew  Chachi was so political…let alone a Republican! He basically spoke about his personal reasons for supporting Donald Trump. He ended his speech by saying “Let’s not just make American great again, let’s make America…America again!” Not sure what other country we have been masquerading as but at least his message was brief and primarily personal. It is doubtful that he attracted new voters or changed any minds, but it was nice to see “Charles in Charge”!
  5. Pat Smith (Mother of American killed in Benghazi attack) – She is the mother of Sean Smith, her only child, who was killed in the 2012 Benghazi attack. No doubt that she is a mother who is still grieving and understandably so. She spoke about how she still has so many questions that have gone unanswered. She personally blames former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton for her son’s death. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room during and after her speech.
  6. Mark Geist and John Teigen (Bengazi Security Team)
  7. Antonio Sabato, Jr. (Actor)
  8. Mike McCaul – Senator (R-Texas) and Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee
  9. David Clarke, Jr.  (Sheriff of Milwaukee, WI) – Sheriff Clarke is actually a Democrat who vehemently supports Donald Trump whom he believes is committed to having a system of justice. He began his speech by saying that “blue lives matter” and his theme was about the need for everyone to follow “the rule of law”.  He stated that  Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters “transcend peaceful protest” which got nearly a standing ovation from the floor. He is a rising Democrat star in the Republican universe!
  10. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)
  11. Michael Flynn (Retired Army Lt. General)
  12. Rudy Giuliani (Former Mayor of New York City) – Giuliani spoke about the need for the country to be protected and his belief that Donald Trump has the leadership to do that. He spoke passionately (like the native New Yorker he is) and at some points I was concerned he might stroke out right there on the stage! Heck, I began to fear for my own safety as he raised his hands and gestured (like most New Yorkers and Italian-Americans) with almost every word. By the time he concluded his speech, I was convinced that only Donald Trump could protect me from all of the people out there who hate me because I am an American. So, for undecided voters who do not feel safe, Giuliani did an excellent job of convincing them that Trump is their hero…which was the theme of the night. Good job Giuliani!
  13. Melania Trump (Wife of Donald Trump) – More details below.
  14. U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
  15. Jason Beardsley (Military Veteran and Special Operations advisor for Concerned Americans for America)
  16. U.S Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT)

Mr. and Mrs. Trump – That ENTRANCE and the Controversy around her Speech
So after I was scared out of my mind after listening to Rudy Giuliani, it was time to see and hear from the spotlight speaker of the night…Mrs. Melania Trump. It was already known that Donald Trump would introduce her and at first there was some concern that he might dominate the stage, but he did not. HOWEVER, he made an entrance that can only be summarized in one word…”AMAZING”! The beam of light creating a silhouette that made him look like a super-hero coming out of the darkness with the song “We are the Champions” by Queen playing the background…all made for an unforgettable entrance. Nice job, Mr. Trump!

His introduction of Melania was brief and she rose to the challenge very well. She looked amazing and could be clearly understood despite her heavy accent. Her grace and elegance was a much needed contrast from the fear and anger provoked by Giuliani. She spoke directly and used strategic pauses which really helped give her speech authenticity and many seemed to feel that she was sincere.  Then lo and behold, it was found by the media (“Debbie Downers”) that parts of her speech were lifted almost verbatim from a speech that Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver! See below for a side-by-side comparison:

Heads began to role with the discovery, but alas…the Trump campaign denies that there was any plagiarism and that the scrutiny given to her speech is “absurd”. In my opinion, if she were to submit that speech as an assignment for a class, it would receive a zero for not citing the source. Primarily because there are SEVERAL words that are verbatim to Mrs. Obama’s speech and there is a tight minimum on the number of words you can get away with repeating without having to cite the source! Also, because it is a sizable chunk of the speech that is copied, saying that she used common language does not quite pass the litmus test of originality.  Overall, Melania Trump did a great job and since she, herself, is not running for office I am sure the scrutiny will subside. HOWEVER, as great as she was, she did not exceed my expectations. It was expected that she would look stunning (check), exude class (check), and speak positively about her husband (check). She has never carried herself as just a pretty face with no brains, so I am not sure what folks who seemed surprised by her speech were expecting? I do not think her speech shed any light on the “real” Donald Trump or even the “real” Melania, but it was delivered impeccably.  It just depends on what Americans think the role of the spouse of the President should be (will do an exclusive post on that before the general elections).

Thanks for “listening” to me whine. Hopefully my whining has made you think. If so, tell your friends/family/colleagues that you heard it through the Political Great Whine!

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Don’t forget that the Political Great Whine will be covering the 2016 Democratic Convention Live in Philadelphia! Follow us on Twitter at CF_Lewis1@TheGreatWhine!
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