The Republican National Convention started off today with a moment of silence for the slain officers, the presentation of colors, pledge of allegiance, national anthem, the invocation, and the song “Happy Together,” but Republicans are not all happy together yet.
Newt Gingrich had harsh words for the Bush family, who decided to stay home, and Trump’s campaign head, Paul Manafort, scolded Ohio Governor John Kasich, whose state is hosting the convention, but Kasich refuses to get behind Trump.
At a breakfast Monday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan heaped praise on Trump’s VP choice, Governor Mike Pence, but his comments regarding Trump were more elusive, telling delegates , “This is a tough election – it is Trump or Clinton – that’s your choice.” Ryan said, “We have shown we’ve got the guts, we are willing to put our necks on the line, we’re giving the country a choice.”
Behind the scenes, Anti-Trump delegates are still trying to start a rebellion on the floor, and officials loyal to Cruz – led by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Utah Senator Mike Lee – are fighting with the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign over changes they failed to get from the Rules Committee last week.
Two stipulations they are requesting is for Cruz’s name to be placed in nomination from the floor, and a revision in the rules that will reward states with closed primaries.
Fox News reports that Cruz forces are threatening to simply leave town after Cruz speaks on Wednesday evening, leaving a sea of empty seats in the arena that would then be seen on national television, if they don’t get what they want.
UPDATE 07/18/16 3:32 pm EDT
Politico reports that an uproar broke out at the convention Monday afternoon when Republican leaders ignored a call from the NeverTrump forces for a full vote on the convention rules. NeverTrump leaders had submitted signatures they thought would force the vote, but Rep. Steve Womack held a voice vote on the rules, declared them approved, and moved on. After their protest, he returned to the stage, held another voice vote, again declared the “ayes” had won, and the matter was settled.
NeverTrump delegates were hoping to force a vote, which would allow them to go into a lobbying frenzy, trying to get enough delegates pulled away from Trump to deny him the nomination. Foiled again. The RNC is showing it is willing to uphold the will of the American people who selected Trump as their nominee.
Outside, the arena, the NeverTrump protesters are already marching, screaming and breaking out of the barriers police had set up.