July 21, 2016
Hard to believe but today was the last day of a great convention!
The Texas Delegation had their team breakfast as usual this morning, and we got to sleep an extra 30 minutes (considering I went to bed at 3:00 AM this really helped!)
Congressman Jeb Hensarling opened the breakfast talking about conservative financial values, and he was followed by Senator Ted Cruz.
As you are aware, Senator Cruz did not endorse Donald Trump Wednesday night, which has led to much controversy. You could tell by the well over a dozen television cameras in the back of our room Thursday morning. As Republican National Committeeman Robin Armstrong introduced the Senator the camera crews rushed to the entrance used by speakers. Senator Cruz instead came in the opposite direction, which led to two dozen reporters, camera crews and light carriers racing across the room to catch his entrance. It reminded me of the Tour de France when 30 bicycles go whipping past you as a unit.
The Senator reiterated that he said nothing negative about Donald Trump, just that delegates should ‘vote their conscience’. When asked if he would vote for Donald Trump, he stated he would not vote for Hillary Clinton. Several delegates in the room started to get loud and angry with Senator Cruz. A bit of irony hit me at this point…the same people who were saying that Ted Cruz was not showing party unity by not endorsing our nominee were themselves not showing party unity by their accusations in front of many television cameras.
One delegate stated that Cruz had pledged to support whoever the nominee was. His response was that his pledge was abrogated by Trump’s attacks on his wife Heidi and father Rafael.
However you feel on this issue, the loser in reality was Vice Presidential Nominee Mike Pence. On a night when he gave a great speech and fired up the convention, the headlines coming out of Cleveland were summed up simply…’Cruz Trumps Pence’.
We also heard from Congressman Pete Sessions, who showed a film of President Obama’s campaign promises from 2008. The highlight was a series of sound bites from the President stating how everything was going to be great, followed by Moses parting the Red Sea.
We also heard from Congressmen Bill Flores and John Carter, and heard very well delivered motivation speeches from Denton County State Representatives Pat Fallon and Tan Parker.
After the meeting we took our Texas picture. Over three hundred people decked out in Texas Flag Shirts and cowboy hats. Wow!!
We also took pictures of just the Collin County delegation, with only Ken Paxton missing from the Collin County Nine.
The last photo I took this morning was interesting. I was asked to join the Grayson County delegate photo. The reason: one of their delegates was missing and I had the same build, so my job was to stand-in and then his face would be photo-shopped over mine. Imagine, I had to drive almost 1200 miles to have ‘Body Double’ added to my resume!
It is now 2:08 AM Friday morning in Cleveland, and I will now cover a very exciting evening at the Q.
Before I start on the evening session, there is one additional detail from Wednesday’s breakfast meeting. Collin County’s own Attorney General, Ken Paxton, gave the delegation a very detailed review of the major cases in Texas, including the voter ID case. Ken was introduced by his wife Angela, who performed on the guitar while giving Ken a fun musical introduction.
We returned to the Quicken Loans Arena (Q) for the evening session, which started at 7:30 PM. An early highlight was the singing of Heavenly Joy, a five-year old who possesses an awesome voice. She really rocked the house (even better than I did singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ on C-SPAN, which I discovered is now on our web site!).
There were several good speeches tonight. NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Fran Tarkenton gave a great speech, thanking every state in which he ever played. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Dr. Lisa Shin of Korean Americans for Trump followed. At this point I traded badges with my alternate, Deanna Kuykendall, and sat with our Texas Delegates on the floor.
After Tom Barrack of Colony Capital talked about our nominee, Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka followed with a heartfelt introduction of her dad. Shortly after ten o’clock Donald Trump came out and accepted the nomination, followed by a great acceptance speech which covered many areas, covering then so well that his speech can easily be used to refute many of the opposition party talking points.
Some of his points included:
- America and its citizens should come first
- Veterans should be respected and their needs taken care of
- America should be energy independent
- Coal miners and steelworkers jobs should be protected
- Donald Trump to the American public: ‘I am your voice’
- Offered support for the LGBTQ community
- Law and Order would start on January 20, 2017
- Strengthening the military
- Taking the fat out of the Budget
- No immigration allowed from terrorist or possible terrorist countries
- No to trade deals that strip the country and Americans of their wealth.
When a demonstrator came down near the press boxes holding a sign and was arrested, Donald Trump simply stated: “How great are our police, how great is Cleveland.” The arena rocked!!
As the speech ended, the balloon drop began. Red white and blue balloons, clear beach balls and ten tons of confetti fell from the rafters. The crowded batted around the balloons and beach balls and had an enjoyable time. I ended up taking home one balloon and some confetti for a souvenir.
As the music stopped and people started to leave, a second reporter came up to me to ask a question (the first one was from Stockholm, Sweden). The question was one that I heard asked many times in the past 24 hours, to paraphrase: “with Texas in turmoil due to Ted Cruz not endorsing Donald Trump, will you be supporting Trump in November?”
I got the very strong impression that the reporter was not pleased with my answer, which was: ‘I have known Ted Cruz for over six years, and Donald Trump was not my first choice for President. However, Donald Trump won the votes needed for nomination, won the states he needed to win according to RNC rules, and therefore he is the person I am supporting in this race”. Our county Chairman, George Flint, ran into the same type of question, as it seemed the press was on a mission to show Texas torn apart.
As we filed out of the arena to catch our bus back to the Marriott, two final thoughts on this convention:
Firstly, Cleveland and its myriad volunteers did a fantastic job at this convention. There was always someone to greet you with a smile, help you find a restaurant or other venue, etc. At any time there were at least 3-5 volunteers stationed in our hotel eager to assist. The streets were clean, the traffic flowed and the entertainment was great. Fantastic job Cleveland!!
Secondly, security was outstanding. As many of you know I was a police volunteer in Plano for ten years, and put in over 6000 volunteer hours with the PPD, including over 4000 hours on patrol. I really appreciate the men and women in blue. Over the course of the last week I talked with State Police from Michigan, Indiana, New York and Ohio, officers from Cleveland and Austin, as well as members of Homeland Security, thanking them for their service.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick had provided each of us with 15 Texas pins, each one showing the American and Texas Flags on a Texas-shaped red field, with the words ‘Republican National Convention 2016’ on them. While I traded some pins to other delegations, including Oklahoma and Georgia, I gave many to our law enforcement officers as a small way of saying thank you, and they were very appreciative of our thanks and respect. As I shook hands with our many protectors several told me that many of our delegates or alternates had thanked them, but the majority of those were from the Lone Star State. If that statement didn’t fill you with ‘Texas Pride’ nothing ever will.
I’d like to thank the many of you who texted and e-mailed me over the past week in appreciation of my daily report. As I start driving back home tomorrow I will be taking a slight detour…I will be driving first to Austin, and will be touring both Austin and San Antonio as possible sites for the 2018 Texas Republican State Convention, and plan to return home late Monday night.
Let’s all work together in the ensuing 110 days to elect the next President of the United States, Donald Trump.