The Republican National Committee will hold its presidential nominating convention from July 18-21 in Cleveland, OH. The main venue for the Convention will be the Quicken Loans Arena, also known as “The Q.”
While Trump’s vision for the convention may be one of glitz and glamor, the RNC committee meetings taking place this week are getting all the attention with over 400 reporters, compared to just 20 in 2012, requesting credentials for the meetings.
THE PRE-SHOW: SETTING THE RULES
Their interest is the 112-member Committee on Rules and Order of Business that makes the rules that govern the convention, including party rules on whether delegates from primary and caucus states should be bound to the decisions of their states or be free to vote their conscience and for the candidate of their choice.
Helping spearhead the anti-Trump #freethedelegate effort is Steve Lonegan, a former Ted Cruz state director from New Jersey. He believes the success of the movement depends on whether Trump has another explosive “Judge Curiel moment” prior to convention.
VIOLENT PROTESTS AND COUNTERPROTESTS
Here’s where the real story of the convention may lie: Outside of the official security perimeter. The Secret Service, FBI, Cleveland and Ohio State Police, National Guard, and thousands of police officers from around the country will be working together over the course of the week to ensure peaceful demonstrations — both for and against Trump.
Local police originally drew up a plan to keep protesters as far away from the convention site as possible. But a federal judge has intervened with an order killing the plan. No telling which restrictions might survive.
Cleveland has been tightlipped about its convention preparation. But the city has offered assurances that it is prepared to handle the type of protests and violence that have broken out at Trump rallies across the country.
The city is still sorting through permit applications from a mixed bag of protest groups and counter protestors, as well as some fringe groups, including Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church, a group claiming that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job, a group called Citizens for Trump is expecting 5,000 people to show up under its banner. and the Traditionalist Worker Party, a White Power-Group, is planning to travel to Cleveland to “protect Trump supporters.”
And if that’s not scary enough, be forewarned, Ohio’s “open carry” law will be in force in whatever area is eventually made available to the various protesters.
CELEBRITIES AND SPONSORS STAYING AWAY
Donald Trump’s list of speakers at the Republican National Convention this month is “totally filled,” the presumptive GOP nominee said in a tweet last week.
Trump previewed his convention lineup Friday while at Denver’s Western Conservative Summit, telling conference attendees that it would include several members of his family.
“My children are gonna be speaking at the convention,” he said. “My children are all gonna be speaking. Ivanka, Tiffany, Don, Eric, they’re gonna be speaking. My wife is gonna be speaking.”
Ben Carson — now a Trump surrogate on the campaign trail after a short
stint as the candidate’s top rival during the GOP primary race — is also slated to speak at the convention, according to top aide Armstrong Williams, who tweeted out the news Friday.
The Trump campaign had previously indicated the presumptive nominee would round up a star-studded guest list for the convention, with media outlets reporting that sports celebrities like Mike Tyson, Mike Ditka and Bobby Knight would be speaking.
But Trump denied in a tweet earlier this week that Tyson was ever asked to appear at the convention.
Ditka, the legendary Chicago Bears coach, has since turned down Trump’s invitation.
Other Republicans who are staying away include Former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, and previous Republican Party presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney.
Several major companies that sponsored the 2012 Republican National Convention are not part of the RNC sponsorship lineup this year including: Wells Fargo, UPS, Motorola, JPMorgan Chase, Ford and Walgreens.
Trump routinely lashes out at Ford in his stump speech, blasting the company for moving a factory from the U.S. to Mexico. The car company said it would not support either party’s convention.
And Wells Fargo says that they decided last year not to fund the GOP’s convention in Cleveland, though they will still be sponsoring the Democratic convention’s host committee in Philadelphia due to their large market share there.