GOP Convention Recap Day #1: Countdown to the Purge

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Donald Trump promised that no one could put on a show like he could, and if you were watching the first day of the Republican National Convention live from Cleveland, you had to admit, he was right. From C-list celebrity outrage, to political meltdowns, to outright plagiarism, there was something for everybody at the first full day of #GOPinCLE. 

Before the convention even started, the man that was the ghost writer on Trump’s signature tome, The Art of the Deal, told ABC News that he feels a “deep sense of remorse” for portraying Trump in a positive light, and then added that he believes a Trump presidency may “lead to the end of civilization.”

Speaking of Trump and reading, the Washington Post had a story that said the Republican nominee has an “unusually light appetite for reading.” His New York office is bereft of books, he doesn’t have a computer on his desk, and the only reading material within reach are magazines… about him.

Perhaps if Trump had read, it wouldn’t have had to be explained to him why having the “law and order party” feature a speaker that once stomped on a man until he died and went to jail for manslaughter, was a bad idea.

But let’s go to the convention floor, where the #NeverTrump movement, gasped its last breath when reps from nine states called for a roll call vote on the convention rules as a way to push delegates to “vote their conscience” meaning “not vote for Trump.” A floor vote  defeated the call for a roll call, but the chair running the vote from the stage seemed to have absolutely no control over the situation. He even walked away from the podium at one point before coming back and asking for a re-vote as he was unable to tell which side won because of the ruckus.

But that was just a warm up. Let’s talk about the speeches, like the where soap star-turned-Chippendales performer Antonio Sabato Jr. told the crowd that Hillary Clinton “should be behind bars”, and America should just skip the election and let Trump win. And what was that other thing? Oh yes, he believes Barack Obama is a Muslim. “I believe that he’s on the other side … the Middle East,” Sabato told ABC News after his speech. “He’s with the bad guys.”

Following up on the “Hillary for Prison” theme, Pat Smith, the mother of a State Department IT consultant who died in the Benghazi terror attack of 2012, told conventioneers that she knows who’s to blame for her son’s death. “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” Smith said. “Personally.” She then praised Trump for being “everything that Hillary Clinton is not” (like qualified for office?) and ended her speech by saying, “Hillary for prison,” and “She deserves to be in stripes!”

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn later led the crowd in a hearty round of “Lock her up!” referring to the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Chachi got up to speak, continuing the parade of A-List celebrity spectacle that Trump promised. Scott Baio followed this utterly indefensible tweet (that he’s still defending)…

By saying, “Hillary Clinton wants to be president for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump wants to be president for all of us.” He added, “So, of course, let’s make America great again, but let’s make America, America again.” What exactly that means, is left to the individual imagination of those that care to ponder the words.

Duck Dynasty star and Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson wanted the crowd to know that he was one of the first to get behind Trump. “Let me tell you why I’ve been on the Trump train from the beginning,” said Robertson, whose father Phil was a Ted Cruz supporter. “If you’re looking for a job or trying to grow a business like I am, Donald Trump will have your back.” They have a lot in common, you know. “We’re both successful businessmen, we both have had hit television shows and we both have intelligent wives who are much better-looking than we are.”

Meanwhile, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of the few “name brand” Republicans to speak Monday night, won several unfavourable comparisons for his speech, which compared him to everything from Bat Boy to Howard Dean’s infamous scream to this…

Elsewhere, six-term congressman Steve King of Iowa was telling a roundtable that the reason that the GOP is #SoWhite is because whites built civilization as we know it. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where these contributions that have been made by these categories of people that you’re talking about,” King said. “Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?” When MSNBC host Chris Hayes asked aghast “Than white people?” King followed up saying. “Than western civilization itself,” King responded, “which is rooted in western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America, and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of western civilization.” That would surely be a surprise to all the brown people that live in the actual “footprint of Christianity”: the Middle East.

As all this was going on, Trump counter-programmed his own convention by phoning in to the Bill O’Reilly show on Fox.

Then, Trump arrived to introduce his wife’s speech in the most appropriately over-the-top way possible…

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And for the coup de grâce, the keynote speech by the potential First Lady Melania Trump, was caught “borrowing” from the current First Lady, whole paragraphs from Michelle Obama’s Democratic Convention speech from 2008.

But while Mrs. Trump’s speech seems to be an anchor around the neck of a convention and a campaign that’s trying to prove itself far from being the car wreck most people think it is, Next Gingrich tried to turn a frown upside down.

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