Beginning only hours after it aired, mainstream media coverage was consumed by Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention on the evening of July 18th. Specifically in question were the parts that sounded identical to lines from a speech that Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
There was much speculation in regards to how the content was approved by Donald Trump’s team, as it is seemingly impossible that the identical lines would have gone unnoticed. Two days later, it was reported that Melania’s speechwriter offered her resignation, which Trump declined. The speechwriter, Meredith McIver, said that in the process of discussing Melania’s inspirations, Michelle Obama was listed. That is what reportedly led to an accidental insertion of segments from Michelle’s speech. That new development ensured that the topic would continue to be covered for another 24-hour news cycle.
An event at the RNC largely ignored by the cable news cycle, however, was the quick and questionable shut down of the attempt Republican delegates made to vote down the Convention’s rules package. Changing the rules package, specifically Rule 39, to unbind delegates was the last possible chance the GOP had to nominate a candidate other than Donald Trump. Despite their efforts, Trump officially became the Republican nominee on the evening of July 19th.
Senator Mike Lee, a delegate fighting to amend the package, told The Daily Caller reporter Alex Pappas in a Facebook Live interview that multiple states had “invoked a very simple garden-variety parliamentary procedure to call for a roll call vote.” Lee said that in response to those petitions, the RNC refused to hold a roll call vote and whipped “aggressively” against the states. CNN reported that members of Trump’s campaign team also jumped to action in order to crush the rebellion.
The entire petition process was shrouded in secrecy, as a minimum of seven states needed to call for the vote, but it was not made public which states did. Senator Lee estimated that 11 state delegations had submitted petitions, while others have said that it was originally 9 states. There have also been conflicting reports as to whether it was three or four states that then withdrew their petition after being forced into submission by the RNC and members of the Trump team.
Presiding chairman Steve Womack opted for a voice vote to pass the rules and determined that the support for the existing proposed package was sufficient. Uproar ensued with some delegates walking off the floor, while some of the original rebel states handed over withdrawal signatures. It then possibly came down to one state, and the details surrounding Alaska’s petition are murky at best.
The RNC stated that Alaska did not have enough signatures for a valid petition, but delegate Fred Brown disagrees. Brown told POLITICO that the correct number of signatures had been secured, and that the convention secretary was not in the designated position to receive the petition. “Some said she was hiding. Others said she was protected by guards. Regardless, I was told I could also present the signatures from the floor. Nevertheless, when the vote occurred, my mic was not turned on. When I attempted to present these signatures at the stage, my effort was ignored by the chair, and the security guard turned me away.”
The chaos and outrage on the floor after the first result prompted Womack to call for a second voice vote. He then, again, determined those in favor of the rules package were the majority.
One Virginia delegate told POLITICO that he believed the states that chose to withdraw support were “plants by the RNC to convince insurgents they had reached their goal.” The chairman did not answer when asked which states had taken part in the process, but by the end Womack simply said that only six jurisdictions wanted the vote.
The entire anti-Trump rebellion on the floor at the RNC, a clear manifestation of the frustration and discord within the GOP, was effectively overshadowed in the wake of a fourteen and half minute speech by the wife of the presidential nominee that delegates were working to overthrow.
RIP to the Never Trump movement.