GOP Convention Diary, Day 3: Cruz Control — Then, Trump Tonight

CLEVELAND — Last night in Cleveland was not “one happy family.” All the talk was about one man, and it wasn’t about the nominee, Donald Trump. Ted Cruz, the second-place finisher, was the scene stealer. He was allowed to speak in prime time. But if Trump thought he was going to say nice things about him or, better yet, endorse him, he’d better forget it. It’s never going to happen.

Cruz loves the limelight; he’s a politician. He’s also not one for phony collegial embraces in the name of party unity.

Perhaps Cruz remembered Trump accusing him of having multiple affairs, making ugly remarks about his wife’s appearance and accusing Cruz’s father of being involved in JFK’s assassination. Little things. The two of them are not exactly pals. During the primary season, Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar,” “a bully” and “utterly immoral.” This is not a mutual administration society. Cruz did congratulate Trump for winning the nomination. That was done at the beginning of his remarks. His name was never spoken again.

LeBron James got the first mention. The New York delegation, sitting right smack in front of the podium, chanted, “Say His Name.” Cruz sarcastically said, “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.” That line did not endear Cruz to that group. Trump came into the hall while Cruz was speaking. This was a bit insulting and, I believe, not done by chance.

Alternate D.C. delegate Justin Dillon, a Kasich supporter and in his words “no Trump fan,” was not pleased by the speech. He called Cruz a “profile in cowardice.”

Speaking of D.C., the D.C. delegation issued a statement regarding the “Convention Voting Controversy.” The delegation strongly objected to the convention secretary transferring the votes of all 19 D.C. delegates to Trump on Tuesday evening. The vote should have been 10 votes for Rubio and nine votes for Kasich. The statement said that the D.C. delegation immediately and loudly objected, “but those objections were ignored.” Eleven of the 19 D.C. delegates signed the statement.

Delegate Chip Nottingham said all 19 delegates were contacted and asked to sign.

Allow me a few more comments on last night’s proceedings before moving on. Radio host Laura Ingraham was beloved by the crowd. I found her to be snarky and snide. There are no boundaries with her, and she relishes being her astringent and antagonistic self. She also has a distinct deficiency with historic references. Commenting this time, she said, “our long nightmare is over.” This is not a fresh new line. Gerald Ford said it after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace.

Vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence made a very good first impression. His self-deprecating humor, speaking style and personality is Midwestern nice. He is truly likable and a definite antidote to the top of the ticket.

This morning, the D.C. delegation was treated to Omarosa Manigault. You might remember her from Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice.” She got fired three different times. She was attractive in every way, extraordinarily poised and happily self-confident. She is the African American outreach director for Trump. She hugs everybody. She confessed that she was told “not to hug” when she worked the California delegation. Omarosa calls Trump “DT” and says she “got to know his heart.” She strongly feels the Democrats “have taken our vote for granted.” The barber shops, beauty shops and churches are where the ex-Democrat is going to get new recruits. The ordained preacher was a “huge” hit. Nearly everybody crowded around her and insisted on selfies.

Tonight, it’s Donald Trump’s night. He will love it. Let’s see if he can score.

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