July 18, 2016 –
The long-awaited 2016 Republican National Convention officially began today in Cleveland.
However, many delegates have been here since late last week making preparations and working on various RNC committees.
My wife and I arrived in Cleveland on Saturday to a warm reception from the residents of the city. It is clear that the city is well prepared and excited to be hosting this historic event.
I was fortunate to be chosen several months ago as an alternate delegate for Connecticut’s 4th congressional district.
The Connecticut delegation is comprised of 28 delegates, 28 alternates and approximately 70 guests. All members of the delegation are required to pay for their own travel expenses and accommodations, along with a program fee to cover the costs of events, meals and outings.
As Weston’s RTC Chairman, I am excited to directly participate in such an historic and exciting event. Although this is my first Presidential convention, I have already had the opportunity to meet with other party leaders from Connecticut and across the country.
Our entire delegation is staying at the same hotel and our delegation committee has planned a host of events for the delegates and guests. When the convention is not in session, we will have group breakfasts, dinners and other events with renown speakers and other state delegations. Our dinner speakers include Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and Senator Tom Cotton.
So far, the convention floor and other events have been exhilarating. The entire Connecticut delegation is united in our task of representing the will of the voters in our state primary.
I look forward to providing more updates from the floor.
July 19, 2016 –
Wow! What an amazing (and long) day at the RNC convention!
We started the day at 6:45AM to head out for an outing at the Canterbury Golf Club with several delegates from Connecticut and members of the Republican National Committee. The club is one of the oldest in Ohio and has hosted many PGA and Senior PGA events. It was a great way to meet other members of the delegation and senior RNC party members. Others in the convention had a private tour and presentation of the Garfield National Historical Home and Memorial..
Once the events were completed, we headed over to the Quicken Loans Arena for an exciting and inspiring day and evening program. There was an early convention session attended primarily by delegates to approve committee rules and to hear some senior Republican Party leaders. If you’ve been following the convention, you no doubt have heard of the “drama” taking place with the proposed adoption of the committee rules report.
The rules committee had previously voted (in a landslide) to keep the convention delegates bound to the results of their state primaries and caucuses on the first vote. Despite failing miserably in the rules committee, the anti-Trump movement made a last ditch effort to call for a roll call vote on approval of the rules package. Two voice votes were taken and the majority was clearly in favor of passing the rules. Now, you might have sensed something different based on the press coverage. However, I watched no fewer than 30 media cameras flock to the VA, CO and Utah delegations and maintain constant coverage of those complaining. Certainly they were upset but they were a clear minority and the rules package and platform were passed.
After the mid-day session, the convention broke for dinner to reconvene in the evening. The CT delegation had a group dinner planned at a restaurant in Cleveland’s “Little Italy” which I would highly recommend if you ever visit the city.
I should discus one of the amazing “rising stars” of the convention: The Cleveland Police Department.!!! Prior to the convention there were many concerns about protestors and potential security issues at the convention. I have to say that the Cleveland P.D. has done a monumental job keeping everyone safe while still providing an environment that allows everyone to practice their right of free speech. They brought in thousands of additional police officers from all around the country. I saw a line of no fewer than 50 California officers marching toward an area, all to cheers of appreciation and applause from convention goers. That appreciation of the brave men and women that make up the “Thin Blue Line” culminated when Sherriff David Clarke from Milwaukee addressed the convention in the evening.
The evening session of the convention followed the theme of “Make America Safe Again!” We heard from Navy SEAL hero Marcus Luttrell, Benghazi heros Mark “Oz” Geist and John Tiegen, along with a host of mothers and family members that have lost loved ones to terrorism and violence as a direct result of the current administration’s policies. The evening’s excitement crescendoed with a rousing speech from Mayor Rudy Guiliani that everyone should re-watch on youtube!
The night ended with a beautiful speech by Melania Trump, after she was introduced by a remarkably short introduction from her husband (and our presumptive nominee,) Donald J. Trump. Melania’s speech was a very moving story of an immigrant that became a successful model, came to America, became a legal American citizen and now is unbelievable proud of her country and the opportunity and freedom that can only be found in America.
July 20, 2016 –
Our Connecticut delegation had another full day in Cleveland yesterday.
We begin every day with a group breakfast but yesterday brought a very special guest…Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort! Mr. Manafort is originally from New Britain, CT and has several close friends in our delegation that are diligently working on the campaign. He was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, and John McCain and is an excellent choice to run the Trump campaign.
Manfort’s message was simple and direct:
The Trump campaign has turned the electoral map on its ear and Donald Trump has put states in play that are historically blue states. Connecticut, with 7
electoral votes is one of those states. Recent polls show the race in our state to be within single digits so we will likely see more activity from the candidates than we typically see during a presidential race. This was thrilling news to our entire delegation.
After breakfast, most of our delegation attended a private tour at the Western Reserve History Center. My wife and I joined a group of delegates from around the country to attend a special screening of the new documentary, “Clinton Cash” by Breitbart senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos. The documentary is based on a New York Times best seller by author Peter Schweizer, who was on hand to answer questions after the film. The documentary provides a litany of the troubled history revolving around the Clinton Global Initiative and the hundreds of millions of dollars raised from international business partners of numerous
foreign governments during Secretary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. It will be released digitally on http://www.breitbart.com/ t
After the screening, we met up with our delegation for a private reception at Morton Steakhouse before the evening’s activities at the convention. Our special guest was none other than current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who addressed our delegation. Governor Walker’s comments focused on bringing unity to the party and rallying around Donald Trump as the nominee. Our delegation then headed over to the floor of the convention.
Only 28 delegates are allowed on the floor at one time from Connecticut, but we are able to switch off with others so that all of our alternate delegates and guests get to spend some time on the convention floor. We are VERY fortunate to have a place on the front several rows at the convention which gives us an amazing viewpoint of the activity on the floor.
Last night was the official “roll call” vote of the delegates, which was the most exciting political spectacle that I have ever personally witnessed. Each delegation’s leader addressed the chair with an intro about their state and cast the votes from their respective primary or caucus. Connecticut GOP Chairman J.R. Romano proudly cast all 28 Connecticut votes for Donald J. Trump! While
it was clear that Trump had the nomination locked up, several states passed in the roll call vote so that the New York delegation could cast the votes to put him over the top. His son, Donald Trump Jr. is part of the New York
delegation and made an emotional speech that officially made his father the nominee of the party for the presidential race. I was fortunate to be on
the second row with our delegation at the time to watch the next “First Family” enter the convention floor. I won’t forget that experience!
After the votes were cast amid much fanfare, the delegates settled in to hear from other senior Republican leaders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Dr. Ben Carson all gave rousing speeches that will help unify the party. Donald Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany and his oldest son Don Jr. also gave emotional speeches about their father. People may have a wide range of views about Donald Trump as a candidate but it is clear to anyone that watches that he has raised and amazing and accomplished family.
July 21, 2016 –
The activities continued at the RNC for our Connecticut delegation on Wednesday morning at a slightly slower pace. This was a welcome relief, especially considering the exciting way that the evening ended!
We started off with a relaxing break and a cruise along the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, giving us a different view of the Cleveland skyline. We were treated to a short history lesson on the origins of Cleveland as the City of Bridges. I have to say that our delegation has been very impressed with Cleveland, its facilities and overall cleanliness of the city.
We reconvened for dinner at a downtown restaurant called The Chocolate Bar. The highlight of our dinner was a speech from former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Ambassador Bolton’s focus was on national security, the turmoil in the Middle East and Turkey and the importance of U.S. support for Israel in the region. After a short stop for a group picture of the Connecticut Delegation, we went over to the arena for the evening activities.
The list of speakers this evening was the most impressive of the week. Florida Governor Rick Scott started out the evening with Laura Ingraham following with one of the best speeches thus far. Lynne Patton, an African-American employee of the Trump Foundation and assistant to EricTrump gave a very moving speech along, with a speech from Eric Trump himself.
Obviously, the big news of the night was Senator Cruz’ unwillingness to keep his pledge from the debates and endorse the Republican nominee for President. Cruz speech began congratulating Trump on the nomination but then the mood changed when he suggested people “vote their conscious” which was the keyword used by those wanting to unbind the delegates earlier in the week.
Cruz was literally booed off the stage by the vast majority of those in the hall. I’ve never seen anything like it! I spoke to dozens of delegates (some previous Cruz supporters) that were livid with his antics last night and now view him as totally self-serving. While some media reports claim this highlights the “split” in the party, I can tell you that many people felt that Cruz ended his political career last night. If anyone had taken a poll from the convention last night, Cruz might have scored just slightly higher than Hillary Clinton!
Indiana Governor Mike Pence finished up the night with a resounding acceptance speech for the V.P. nomination. He brought the hall back together and was rewarded with numerous chants of “We Like Mike!” Pence has resounding support from the convention and is obviously a man of exceptional character and a great combination with Donald Trump.
Tonight, Donald J. Trump takes the stage to accept the Republican nomination for President! I would wager that this may be the most-watched political acceptance speech in history. The mood in the convention hall will be electric!