Monday was the first day of Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention and the event alternated between the terrifying and the bizarre.
- Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, delivered a speech that was even more alarmist and deranged than usual, warning that terrorists are about to enter the country to kill Americans. “There’s no next election,” he warned. “This is it. There’s no more time for us left to revive our great country.”
- Antonio Sábato, an actor and former underwear model who spoke at the convention (why?), told ABC News that President Barack Obama is a Muslim who was raised in the Middle East.
- Wisconsin congressman Sean Duffy — like Trump, a former reality television star — said that while “radical jihadists are killing Americans,” President Obama and Hillary Clinton “are fretting over whether to call it workplace violence or hate crime.”
- Two other speakers, Colorado Senate nominee Darryl Glenn and retired general Michael Flynn, argued that Clinton deserves to go to prison.
- Iowa congressman Steve King, a Trump supporter, said in an interview with MSNBC on the sidelines of the convention that no other “subgroup” of humanity has contributed more to civilization than whites.
- Milwaukee sheriff David Clarke accused the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been protesting police violence, of bringing “anarchy” to the streets of America.
- Trump’s wife, Melania, plagiarized a part of Michelle Obama’s convention speech from eight years ago.
And that was just the mayhem they served up on primetime.
Earlier in the day, the convention chair, Congressman Steve Womack, created chaos on the floor by derailing a last-ditch attempt to take the presidential nomination away from Trump.
Anti-Trump delegates, led by Colorado’s Kendal Unruh, had submitted a petition with what they believed were enough signatures from the various state delegations to force a roll-call vote on the convention rules. Their aim was to unbound the delegates, allowing them to vote for somebody other than Trump even if the businessman had won the caucus or primary in their state.
The rules change was unlikely to pass. But a roll call would have at least made clear there wasn’t sufficient support and put the “Never Trump” effort to rest.
Not to mention it was the proper thing to do.
Instead, Womack call a voice vote and when it wasn’t clear which side had prevailed left the stage.
“This is surreal,” Utah senator Mike Lee complained. “The chair walked off the stage. He completely abandoned his post.”
When Womack returned, he called a second voice vote. The result wasn’t any clearer than the first: delegates shouted “aye” and “nay” about as loudly.
But Womack simply decided the ayes had it and claimed the petition calling for a roll call had “insufficient support.”
The convention leadership later said some delegates had withdrawn their names from the petition — but they wouldn’t say which delegates nor from which states, leaving the anti-Trump forces dumbfounded.
“This is a meeting of brownshirts”
“You don’t do this in America,” said Gary Emineth, the chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party. “This is what they do in other countries, like Russia.”
Former New Hampshire senator Gordon Humphrey, now a delegate, told MSNBC his calls for a full convention vote were “drowned out by people I would refer to as brownshirts.” He called Womack’s behavior “shocking and shameful.”
“This is not a meeting of the Republican National Committee,” Humphrey said. “This is a meeting of brownshirts.”
And there are three more days to go.