GOP leaders approve convention rules, block insurgents

RNC staffers prep for the 2016 convention kickoff. (Photo: Chance Seales)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Over angry and prolonged objections from anti-Donald Trump forces, Republican Party leaders approved rules for their national convention on Monday and rejected demands for a state-by-state roll call vote, a discordant start to a gathering designed to project unity.

Hundreds of socially conservative delegates opposed to nominating Trump bellowed in outrage after the convention’s presiding officer, Arkansas GOP Rep. Steve Womack, abruptly put the rules to a vote and declared them approved by voice, not an individual tally of each state’s delegation.

Though likely to lose, the dissidents had demanded a roll call, a slow-moving vote that they hoped would underscore their claims that party leaders were unfairly railroading through rules that give too much clout to the GOP hierarchy. Top Republicans and Trump campaign officials wanted to avoid such a scenario, and ended up contendi

Illinois delegate Christian Gramm, left, and other delegates react as some call for a roll call vote on the adoption of the rules during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Illinois delegate Christian Gramm, left, and other delegates react as some call for a roll call vote on the adoption of the rules during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/John Locher)

ng with a shorter but more raucous display of fury.

“Call the roll, call the roll,” opponents shouted. Practically drowning them out were chants of “USA, USA” by Trump supporters and party loyalists.

Minutes later, Womack had the convention vote by voice again, with both sides again shouting their votes lustily. Once again, he said, the rules’ supporters had prevailed.

The defeated mavericks reacted angrily, with some delegates leaving the convention floor and others vowing to not help Trump. Gary Emineth, a North Dakota delegate and GOP donor who was part of the insurgency, said he would resign from a fund-raising operation.

“You don’t do this in America,” he said.

Ken Cuccinelli, a leader of the conservative rebellion and former Virginia attorney general, ripped off his delegate credentials in protest.

Carol Hanson, an Iowa delegate, said some members of the state delegation left just before the vote and others walked out as soon as the roll call was denied.

The voice votes occurred even though earlier in the afternoon, dissident delegates submitted petitions from a majority of delegates from what they said were at least nine states — seemingly sufficient to force a roll call vote under party rules.

Womack said some delegates had withdrawn their signatures and that petitions from three of those states no longer qualified. That left the insurgents short of the seven states needed by GOP rule to force a roll call.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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