Posted by Kristin McCarthy on July 21, 2016 in Blog
The intensity really picked up on Day 3 as the estimated 50,000 convention-goers anticipated a night packed with speakers. Here’s your Day 3 dispatch.
Arab Americans at the Convention
- On prime time TV, Eric Trump mentioned his charitable support of St. Jude's Research Hospital, which we hope you know was founded by Arab American Danny Thomas! Read all about it here.
- Donald Trump Jr. meets Arab American Ramy Youseff and learns about #YallaVote and #NoBigotry.
In the Convention Hall
It was yet another controversy-filled night from the podium. Vice Presidential nominee, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, took the stage at the end of the night to accept the nomination. In a solid, compelling convention speech, Pence introduced himself, his family, and his vision for America. Despite controversy earlier in the night, Pence's speech was warmly received by the crowd and earned the traditional on-stage support from the top of the ticket - Donald Trump came on stage for what many are calling an awkward celebration with Pence.
But today, we haven't heard many people talking about Pence. The talk of the town - delegates and media included - is the drama of Texas Senator Ted Cruz's non-endorsement of Donald Trump on prime time television. The crowd's initial reaction in the Convention Hall - chants of "Endorse Trump," a plethora of "boos," and Gov. Chris Christie's immediate obliteration - were pretty spot on. Most political analysts are now left trying to untangle whether Cruz's stunt boosted his 2020 prospects, or did the exact opposite by managing to unite the Republican Party behind Trump. Before the non-endorsement, Cruz's speech was a textbook campaign speech, not anything close to what we typically expect at a Convention.
Finally for this edition, former embattled Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich received a friendly welcome to the stage immediately following Sen. Cruz's shocking play. Newt immediately went on Cruz clean-up duty, and tried (unsuccessfully) to clarify Ted Cruz's non-endorsement as an endorsement. Newt's speech was unsurprisingly upsetting for us. Gingrich has been, in many ways, leading the charge in fear-mongering and anti-Islam rhetoric and his speech last night was meant to stir wartime sentiments towards Islam and the Middle East. He ratcheted up the fear in a significant way, and it reminded us of the famous 1964 Johnson campaign ads, which warned of annihilation, if Trump doesn't win in November. We were hoping for a substantive policy brief today, following high profile and experienced speakers on the stage, but unfortunately the substantive parts of the evening - like Eric Trump's speech and the comments regarding race relations by Lynne Patton - are once again overshadowed by political dramatics and bigotry.
Outside the Convention
Protests heated up as the Trump acceptance speech nears. We heard reports of tension between protestors and police early in the day and it carried into the night. So far, 22 protestors have been arrested and 2 police officers have sustained minor injuries working the convention crowds.
Donald Trump managed to make headlines outside of the Convention by shocking the entire foreign policy establishment with an interview he gave to the New York Times where he was clear that he wouldn't abide by the terms of our NATO alliance. There were also many new insights regarding his approach to Middle East policy, where he downgraded the importance of civil liberties in U.S. diplomatic strategy, and his views on how to handle Assad.
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