As the Melania speech fallout continues to dominate today’s media coverage, a number of highlights from last night are being lost in that unfortunate diversion.
The lineup of GOP Convention speakers last night featured remarkable individual American citizens, telling emotional, oftentimes gut-wrenching personal stories of being hurt by President Obama’s policies or Hillary Clinton’s time at the State Department. Each of these stories is powerful and true:
Marcus Luttrell, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL and famous “lone survivor,” told of the fierce 2005 battle in Afghanista. Pat Smith, the mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith, blamed Hillary Clinton for her son’s death during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. U.S. Marines Mark Geist and John Tiegan pointed to the failure of Clinton and Obama to act in Benghazi. And Kent Terry and Kelly Terry-Willis, siblings of Brian Terry, U.S. Border Patrol agent whose death at the border they attribute to Obama’s weakness on the border and failed Operation Fast and Furious.
We also heard equally powerful personal stories highlighting Obama’s failed immigration policies: Mary Ann Mendoza, whose son, Mesa police sergeant Brandon, was killed by a drunk driver who was illegally in the United States. Sabine Durden, whose son Dominic died in a 2012 motorcycle accident with an unlicensed, uninsured, and unregistered driver who was here illegally. And Jamiel Shaw, whose son, Jamiel Andre’ Shaw, II (Jas), in 2008 was murdered by a gang member, also an illegal immigrant.
Other highlights from the first night (with the theme “Make America Safe Again”) included Rudy Giuliani, an experienced convention speaker who hit all the right notes supporting safety and law enforcement. My favorite line is his support for law enforcement: ” When they come to save your life, they don’t ask if you are black or white. They just come to save you.”
Disappointments? I thought Sen. Tom Cotton would connect better with the conservative audience, a missed opportunity for him on the national stage. And, most of the delegates missed Sen. Joni Ernst’s speech, again disappointing not in terms of the content of her speech, which was terrific in its support for the military, but in convention organizers’ bad time management, getting her on stage as the delegates were all but gone from the floor.
As to Melania Trump’s performance, frankly I found her warm, intelligent and likable, and her speech (despite the furor) was great. I appreciate it even more after reading today’s New York Times article profiling Mrs. Trump from her childhood in Slovenia to supermodel to wife of Donald Trump.
Tonight’s theme is “Make America Work Again.”
The first order of delegate business is to officially nominate Donald J. Trump from the floor. No matter what you think of the selection, tonight will be history-making.
I’ll be looking forward to speeches by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and two of Trump’s children, daughter Tiffany and son Donald, Jr.
On the whole, expect less personal narrative and more policy from experienced GOP elected officials making the case for free-market values and less government regulation to put 94 million unemployed Americans back to work.
Only unfettered economic growth and diminished government interference can do that.
We’re about to kick off Day 2. Be sure to follow me as I tweet live @TracyMunsil. And I’ll be posting more in-depth analysis here over the next few days, as the crazy convention schedule permits.