Republican National Convention — Day Three
Holy cow! What Ted Cruz just did is going to leave a mark — both on the Republican Party and on Cruz's political career. People have been speculating all week about whether Cruz would endorse Trump during his prime time speech on Wednesday. This primary was one of the most bitter in recent memory and Trump repeatedly attacked Cruz's character, even suggesting that Cruz's father was involved in JFK's assassination. Suffice it to say that there's no love lost between the two. Cruz, for his part, has to balance competing interests. His "brand" as a senator has been as an outsider, someone who refuses to go along to get along, even when faced with intense pressure from party bosses. Yet he's still a U.S. senator and, some would say, has a responsibility as a member of the Republican Party to help get a Republican elected as president.
In the end, Cruz encouraged Republicans to vote for...Republicans. However, he stopped short of endorsing Trump. In a speech interrupted several times by protesters, Cruz encouraged people to vote their conscience and elect candidates who would uphold the Constitution. But he never actually said the word "endorse," a fact that did not go unnoticed by the delegates. They roared their disapproval and essentially booed Cruz off the stage.
With this move, Cruz protects his "brand" with hardcore conservative activists, but likely loses some political capital with mainstream Republicans who are supporting Trump. That said, if Cruz had come out and said something along the lines of "Eh, ignore all my warnings about how dangerous this man is...we're besties now!" it would have put him in a very awkward position with his supporters (and donors). There is going to be a lot of fallout after his election — wreckage to clean up on a lot of fronts. Not a lot of people will emerge from it unscathed I suspect.
Newt Gingrich gave a strong speech, but two things stood out.
One, he declared that "the cost of Hillary's dishonesty could be the loss of America as we know it."
Two, he attempted to explain away Ted Cruz's declaration that Republicans should "vote our conscience" in November.
He turned to the Trump supporters who booed the Texas senator, saying, "I think you misunderstood Ted Cruz." He attempted to say Cruz did indeed encourage Republicans to vote for Trump, although he did no such thing.
Hugh Hewitt called Newt out on it.
Then we learned the real reason why Gingrich acted like Cruz had endorsed The Donald -- it was part of his written speech! Here's a view of the teleprompter.
I was in front of the New York delegation when Cruz made his non-endorsement of Trump in three words, "vote our conscience." Cheers turned to shouts of "We want Trump! We want Trump!" and "Endorse Trump! Endorse Trump!" As Cruz left the stage, the boos became deafening.
But conservatives who have opposed The Donald despite his victory in the Republican Party took heart in Cruz's speech.
Ted Cruz has used the word freedom more in the last five minutes then Donald Trump has in this entire campaign.— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) July 21, 2016
People who support Trump because he "tells it like it is" are mad that Ted Cruz didn't lie and say he is in favor of what Trump stands for.— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) July 21, 2016
I'll defend it all day long and twice on Sunday. https://t.co/55bvcS6Df2— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) July 21, 2016
The nationalists may very well take over the GOP for years to come. That doesn't mean conservatives should be quiet. @tedcruz won't be.— Matthew Continetti (@continetti) July 21, 2016
And this is just hilarious.
Let's dispel with the notion Cruz didn't know what he was doing by saying vote your conscience. He knew exactly what he was doing.— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) July 21, 2016
Scott Walker sprinted out onto the stage tonight to rousing applause. The audience loved him. He's always much more impressive in person than he is on TV for some reason. He's gifted at engaging a live audience and I'm sure he left many tonight thinking about what could have been.
Pro-Trump protesters may have gotten more attention than anti-Trump ones. This church group, for instance, which calls itself "Bible Believers," congregated on Cleveland's Public Square and at the entrance to the Quicken Loans Arena.
They showed up to protest a flag burning which the Communist Party scheduled, but didn't happen until at least a half-hour after these angry Christians arrived.
16-year-old Ranan Steiger yelled at them, openly declaring that their parents are "burning in mother f***ing hell."
Also in the public square was this "Stolen Lives Quilt," which listed the names and ages of people who were killed, allegedly by illegal immigrants. The image was harrowing, and really drove home Donald Trump's main points.
Full picture of stolen lives quilt, from Ohio, Texas, California, Washington State, Oregon, and one other state pic.twitter.com/KdpmVv8o6K— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) July 20, 2016
Protests erupted at Public Square in Cleveland on Wednesday as various groups shouted their competing messages and police erected a human barricade to separate the various factions. It started when a group from the Westboro cult (I refuse to call them either "Baptist' or "church," they're neither) took the podium and started preaching their version of Christianity. Some of what they were "preaching" was technically biblically true, but they filtered it through a lens of anger and hateful rhetoric, laced with extreme sounding political overtones.
When the "Queers Against Racism" crowd arrived, police (hundreds of them) quickly swooped in and formed a barricade between the two groups. The "Queers" group occupied the podium opposite the Westboro group and shouted their own talking points. Meanwhile, a drum circle formed between the two groups. Hurray for for the calming influence of drum circles. It mostly worked, because the atmosphere never got out of hand. The heavy police presence is most certainly serving as deterrent. No one is attempting to approach police or cross the lines, and although there is shouting, there is no violence.
— Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) July 20, 2016
— Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) July 20, 2016
— Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) July 20, 2016
Heard on the street outside the Quicken Loans Arena at the RNC: "We gotta show some respect. We gotta put pants on."
No idea what that was about, but ... news you can use!
One last comment about Tuesday's events. I really was surprised by how "low energy" (to borrow a phrase) the big moment was when Donald Jr. announced that his father finally had enough votes, and he declared that Donald J. Trump was officially the GOP nominee. Perhaps it's because I've attended some Cavaliers games at the Quicken Loans Arena and those have all been high energy events on steroids — ear-splitting music, state of the art light shows, and overall entertainment extravaganzas. Trump's big moment, in contrast, was more like a throwback 1990s event. There was a dated-looking graphic up on the big screens (a cheesy-looking thing evocative of an ad imploring you to BUY GOLD NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!). A disco ball flashed some lights as the crowd (more or less) swayed to "New York, New York," and that was about it. This was nothing in the vicinity of the YUGE show I was expecting from The Donald.
— Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) July 19, 2016
We woke up to this cheery news today:
@WEWS "Someone poisoned the water hole!" ~ Woody
— HaveYou Noticed (@HaveYouNoticed0) July 20, 2016
According to NewsNet5, there are 13 confirmed cases of norovirus among the California RNC logistical support team. The group, which is staying at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, has been very good with hygiene, according to a spokesman from the Erie County Health Department. Officials are now working to figure out where the virus came from and how it spread.
Erie County Health Commissioner Peter Schade said there are 13 confirmed cases of the norovirus among the California RNC Logistical Support Team.
Officials are now working to figure out where the virus came from and how it spread.
Oh, I don't know...I'm no public health expert, but maybe stuff like this should be kept to a minimum, just in case?
RIGHT NOW: Activists from Black Lives Matter, Westboro Baptist Church and the KKK throwing urine at each other - KPLC
— Breaking News Feed (@pzf) July 19, 2016