GOP Convention Diary, Day 1: D.C. Delegates Could Have Forced Roll Call Vote on Motion

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CLEVELAND — A D.C. Republican delegate did have a role at yesterday’s GOP convention. Christina Brooks was at the podium at the very end of the first night’s session. She was given the “honor” of closing out the convention.

If you were watching C-Span (gavel-to-gavel coverage), she was the last face you saw on the screen. After the benediction. The D.C. Republicans seem to get the same treatment that D.C. Democrats get from their party. (You remember four years ago in Charlotte: they were sitting at the back of the hall and no D.C. pol was granted the right to speak to the gathering.) But earlier in the day, two D.C. Republican delegates did play a major role in determining the course of the convention and maybe even the fate of the presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Here is the story:

There was a motion on the floor, which would have changed the rules of the convention and “unbound” the pledged delegates on the first ballot. This would have made for chaos in Cleveland. This change might have denied the necessary votes for Trump’s nomination.

If seven states were able to collect enough signatures, there would be a roll call vote on the motion, rather than a voice vote.  Originally, nine states had the requisite number of signatures. But, according to RNC officials and the speaker at the podium, three states withdrew their signatures. Thus, the number fell to six — one short of the required number to get a roll call vote.

The Trump people did not want a roll call vote. Not because that would have looked bad, but because they sincerely thought they would lose the vote.

Here is where D.C. comes into play.

As I was told by a D.C. delegate, Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, found a DC female delegate who had signed the petition for a roll call vote and confronted her. Manafort started screaming in her face and told her to withdraw her signature. Manafort was pointing his finger at her. She was so upset, her body was shaking. She then withdrew her signature.

Another D.C. delegate, a male, also withdrew his signature, and D.C. then had to withdraw. So, now there remained only six states — thus missing the required number of seven states or territories to make a rules change. The entire history of the convention might have changed if not for these two D.C. delegates.

Last night, Melania Trump’s speech was the highlight of the evening (even with the later charges of plagiarism).

Tonight’s speeches include Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell (truly soporific, I’m sure), Dr. Ben Carson (you remember him?) as well as the founder of American Muslims for Trump (I’m serious).

On the culinary front, you should know what a “Clevelander Sandwich” is. It is a smoked turkey, black forest ham, Genoa salami, white cheddar, roasted garlic spread, lettuce, tomato and onion. And now you know.

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