Who Wants to Speak at GOP Convention? Not Many, Apparently

At least one state rep is going to the beach instead, per Politico inquiry
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2016 8:20 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in New York on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – Almost as bad as a party no one RSVPs to: a national political convention where you're the presumed nominee and people are either reluctantly attending, turning down high-profile speaking opportunities, or not coming at all. That's what Politico reveals after a somewhat cringe-inducing inquiry into who's interested in speaking at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month, noting that after placing calls to more than 50 big-name senators, governors, and House reps, the usually coveted speaking roles aren't garnering much interest in "the year of Trump." "Only a few said they were open to it—and everyone else said they either weren't planning on it, didn't want to, weren't going to Cleveland at all, or simply didn't respond," the site notes. It documents a list of "terse to abrupt" reactions from pols, with some noting they'd declined long ago; others giving noncommittal answers like "I haven't thought about it"; and still others citing previous engagements, like Rep. Trey Gowdy, who will be going to the beach instead.

Even Trump's former rivals are hedging on an RNC speaking gig, usually seen as a "precious commodity," per Politico: Marco Rubio doesn't think he'll even be asked (and he says he won't Trump-stump if he is), while a John Kasich rep gave a "no comment." All of that falls under "passive GOP" news: Per a Sunday conference call, a more active group—what Politico deems "anti-Trump forces"—is dispatching an "advance team" to Cleveland this week to try to keep Trump from nabbing the nomination. It will try to "unbind" delegates so they're free to "vote their conscience," resulting in seeming confusion among delegates on exactly how to do that, as well as pushback from pro-Trump delegates, including one who calls attempts to derail Trump a "desperate, selfish attempt at self-promotion by a very tiny minority of the national Republican delegates." (George Will probably won't show up.)

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