The second day at the Republican Convention in Cleveland was a bit tamer than the first. However, there were still some exciting moments.
The roll call to nominate Donald Trump for President began around 6:00 p.m. Each state and territory was called by the chair, in alphabetical order, to announce their delegate votes. One of the delegates from each state would then give a brief speech, typically touting the strengths of their state, before announcing the vote totals.
Some interesting wrinkles:
- The lead delegate for Florida used his speech to troll Cleveland about NBA star LeBron James winning his first two championships in Miami. Ouch?
- Puerto Rico’s lead delegate called for Puerto Rican statehood and reminded the convention that Puerto Rico had voted for its own statehood in a plebiscite in 2012.
- Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania all passed at different times to set up a remarkable moment where Donald Trump, Jr. and the rest of the Trump children, representing New York, announced 89 delegates for Trump from New York, putting him over the 1,237 required to win the nomination. Trump, Jr. shouted, “Congratulations, Dad! We love you!”
The roll call wasn’t completely without controversy, however.
The lead delegate for the District of Columbia announced 10 votes for Marco Rubio and 9 votes for John Kasich. The chair immediately read it back as 19 votes for Donald Trump. The same thing happened with Alaska’s and Utah’s delegations.
Following the celebration of Trump’s win, an Alaska delegate asked for the floor and protested the way the votes were recorded. He argued that Alaska should have 12 votes for Cruz, 11 votes for Trump, and 5 votes for Rubio.
The floor chair, who was Speaker Paul Ryan at the time, agreed to poll the Alaskan delegation. The convention went into a brief recess.
Minutes later, Reince Preibus came to the stage and explained a little-known rule that impacted several states, including Alaska, Utah, and the District of Columbia. The rule says that, in the event that there is only one eligible nominee, these states and territories shift all of their delegates to that nominee, regardless of the way the vote totals went during the primary.
This seemed to settle the question at the convention itself, but the controversy still lives on in the media. In an interview with The Hill, Alaskan delegate Peter Goldberg argued that these votes never should have shifted to Trump because candidates “suspend” their campaigns, they don’t technically “drop out.”
Either way, this is all an academic exercise. Even if Alaska, Utah, and the District of Columbia had voted entirely for other candidates, Trump more than met the 1,237 delegate threshold required to become the nominee.
The remainder of the evening was spent on speeches, with the vast majority of the speakers focusing on prosecuting Hillary Clinton. Notable speakers included House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Governor Chris Christie, and Dr. Ben Carson, as well as two of Trump’s children, Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump, Jr.
Trump, Jr. was very impressive and even had prominent #NeverTrump’ers like Erick Erickson singing his praises:
Trump, Jr. should run for office. He sounds like someone I could vote for, unlike his father.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 20, 2016
Day three should be a good one. The theme tonight is “Make America First Again.” Prominent speakers include Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio (via video), Gov. Scott Walker, Newt Gingrich, and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence.
Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe.