GOP Convention Day 2 Devoted To 'Make America Work Again' Theme

Jul 19, 2016
Originally published on July 19, 2016 6:18 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And now we look forward. Tonight - that's night two if all goes as planned - Donald Trump will officially become the Republican Party's nominee for president, and we will be able to stop using the word presumptive. NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson is with me here in Cleveland. And, Mara, tell us about how the nomination process is expected to unfold.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Tonight Senator Jeff Sessions, who was one of Trump's earliest supporters, is going to nominate him. And then there will be second and third nominating speeches from Chris Collins, a Republican congressman from New York, also an early supporter of Trump, and Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster from South Carolina. And - excuse me - then there will be a roll call of the states. And there will probably be some dissenting voices but New York, Trump's home state, will put him over the top.

SIEGEL: And if it doesn't work out perfectly by the arithmetic, states can defer and pass and hand off to other states to make sure that New York state - Donald Trump's state puts him over the top.

LIASSON: That's right. That's how it works.

SIEGEL: What about the speakers? Give us some highlights.

LIASSON: Well, the theme of tonight is make America work again. And it's supposed to be about economic growth - sorry. But when you look through the speakers, there are actually very few businessmen. There is Andy Wist, who has founded the Standard Waterproofing Company. There's also Kerry Woolard, who happens to be the general manager of the Trump Winery. But it's chock full of Republican elected officials, the members of the Republican establishment who did decide to come to Cleveland, people like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and Chris Christie. And that will be really interesting because there are a lot of subplots...

SIEGEL: Yes.

LIASSON: ...With each of these people.

SIEGEL: Some of those people - Paul Ryan, for example - have very complicated relationships with Donald Trump.

LIASSON: That's right. Paul Ryan has endorsed Donald Trump, but he has gone to great pains - and actually sometimes it's been very painful to watch him do this - to explain why he's a different kind of conservative than Donald Trump and how he differs with him on all sorts of things. Mitch McConnell has been very sardonic and cryptic about - but made no bones about the fact that he disagreed with the way Trump was conducting himself. You've got someone like U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also speaking tonight. He is the only incumbent Republican senator up for re-election who is speaking at the convention.

SIEGEL: And he is facing a challenge from...

LIASSON: Challenge from Russ Feingold, former senator.

SIEGEL: ...Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold.

LIASSON: And he's considered to be one of the endangered Republican incumbents. And in the past, he suggested at times that he wouldn't come. So this is going to be a balancing act for him. He knows there are a lot of Trump supporters in the base of the Republican Party in Wisconsin, but they're not enough to win. You've also got Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA. I don't know how exactly that deals with economic growth, but he'll be speaking tonight, too.

SIEGEL: Now, as we were hearing from Sarah McCammon, the big event last night was the speech by Melania Trump. Tonight, more members of the Trump family speak.

LIASSON: That's right. Family members are the best character witness that a candidate has. And tonight you're going to hear from Tiffany Trump, the daughter of Donald Trump, and Marla Maples. She is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. You're also going to hear from Donald Trump, Jr. And we'll see if they continue the kind of positive view of Trump that Melania started last night.

SIEGEL: Melania Trump was faulted by some critics who said there wasn't enough revealing anecdote, enough humanizing humor, even. Should we expect some of that from the children?

LIASSON: I think from his kids you should expect that. That's exactly what kids usually do.

SIEGEL: That's NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson with me at the GOP convention in Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.