The first day of the Republican National Convention is now history, and it was quite busy. From an insane showdown over the convention’s rules to the weirdest Donald Trump entry yet, it was definitely unforgettable.
A lot has already been written about it, and I think an interesting way to look at it is by examining some of the more interesting comments I saw about it on Twitter.
From the onset, Trump’s campaign manager blasted Republicans who were absent from the convention, saying that they are part of the past, and that Ohio Governor John Kasich has done a disservice to his state by not showing up at the convention.
Given that one of the themes of this convention is the unity of the Republican Party, there are probably better messages that the Trump campaign could be sending.
On the other hand, Senator Tom Cotton, who has been supportive of Trump, did not even mention his name while speaking to the delegation from Ohio, the state that is hosting the convention!
The surprise came when the majority of delegates from several states rebelled against the Trump campaign by forcing a vote on the Rules for the convention. Earlier this week, it looked like the Never Trump movement had been crushed (channeling Edgar Allen Poe, Manafort declared that it was “never more”), but as most people saw, it was far from over.
Trump’s supporters moved to prevent a roll call vote from being called, and instead settled on two voice votes. When they tried to deliver the petitions to the Chair of the convention, they were greeted by an empty seat (and it wasn’t even occupied by Clint Eastwood!). Senator Mike Lee had some thoughts as to why the chair was empty:
Lee was one of the main proponents of a roll call vote, and was furious after it was denied.
Two voice votes were taken because of an uproar after the first vote, but after the second vote was called, the debate was more or less ended.
Trump has been claiming that the system is rigged in light of how Hillary Clinton escaped an indictment over her emails, but a lot of Republicans echoed his line, after seeing how Trump’s opponents were steamrolled in the debate.
After this debate was cut short, Trump’s opponents steamed out, and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli threw his credentials on the floor.
The ramifications of this scene were almost immediate. Several state delegations walked out of the convention (and Colorado’s was gone most of the convention after), and one of Trump’s state finance chairs quit instantly.
This was probably driven by reports of serious intimidation of the rebel delegates, at least one of whom was followed into a bathroom where her life was threatened.
As the evening progressed, more speakers rolled along, one of whom was Rick Perry. About a year ago, he claimed that Trump’s candidacy was a “cancer on conservatism,” but he was vying to be Trump’s Vice President only a few months ago. He barely mentioned Trump in his speech, which was mostly an introduction of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who I think was the best speaker of the night.
Luttrell gave an incredible and heartfelt speech, at one point telling the audience that he couldn’t use a teleprompter and spoke off the cuff.
His entire speech is worth watching:
At around 10, Senator Tom Cotton took the floor, and gave a great speech. Chris Cillizza made an interesting point, saying that he thinks that Cotton was the first speaker to directly appeal to non-Republican voters.
Cotton continued his earlier trend of mostly ignoring Trump.
After Cotton’s speech was over, he was invited to the VIP room, and turned down the invitation.
A few minutes later, Rudy Giuliani gave his speech, and it was an interesting sight. He was extremely loud, and you can be the judge as to whether it was effective. I thought it was pretty effective.
One of the most memorable events of the night was, of course, Trump’s entrance. This is a behind the scenes look at the planning for it:
Here are a few of the better takes on the entry:
He then gave the shortest speech of his life, introducing Melania Trump in a few sentences. Her speech was very good, and was impressive for her to have read it flawlessly given that English isn’t her first language. However, many pointed out that the glowing terms with which she described Trump sounded more like she was describing someone other than the Trump who has run in this entire election.
Of course, the fact that she is Trump’s third wife escaped almost no one.
After Melania’s speech was over, the event was far from over, but attendees received a text saying that it was all but over, which meant that the crowd was far emptier when speakers such as Senator Joni Ernst took the sage. It would have been smarter to just call it a night at this point, because these speakers were done a great disservice.
From Trump’s motorcade getting into an accident to a nasty floor fight to booting promising speakers from prime time, I’d have to agree that today was a disaster. To make matters worse, just before the day ended, we all were given yet another reason to believe that Trump is still secretly a huge fan of Barack Obama: large parts of Melania’s speech were lifted directly from Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech!
To make matters even worse, Michelle Obama’s speechwriter for the DNC almost certainly was once Hillary’s!
Today was an insanely busy day, and if it is any indication of what is to come, the fun is just getting started. Are there any tweets that are missing from this article? Let me know!