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Politics and Policy

Five Takeaways From The RNC In Cleveland So Far

Erik Drost, Flickr, CC by 2.0

The Republican National Convention wraps up on Thursday with an acceptance speech by Donald Trump, who was formally selected as the GOP's presidential nominee. To get the latest on what's happening on the ground in Cleveland, we talked with political reporter Megan Messerly from the Las Vegas Sun who's there now.

Below is the full interview and five fast takeaways on what's gone down so far. 

  1. While some tensions remain, Republicans at the convention appear to be more unified now than at the beginning of the week. 

    Messerly: "I think it's growing. Talking to different people in the Nevada delegation, I've talked to people who supported Scott Walker, who supported Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, people for whom Donald Trump wasn't their first choice. ...But we have really seen a lot of them coming together and saying: 'Trump is our nominee, Hillary is the worst, so we're gonna vote for him.'

    “Their [#NeverTrump supporters] last ditch effort was on Monday. They were trying to force a roll call vote of the states, but they didn't end up having enough states to do that. So the matter was laid to rest. They wanted to challenge the rules that were being implemented. That was really their last chance to take a stand."

    2.Nevada's delegation is missing a lot of notable Republicans, and all of them gave different excuses.

    Messerly: "Gov. Brian Sandoval was going to leave to go on a trade mission to Australia. Now he's home in Nevada preparing for that a trade mission, according to his spokeswoman. Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison is also not here. He's taking his son to Utah. Sen. Dean Heller isn't here. As his spokesman noted, he hasn't attended a convention since 2004; so he was sort of saying it's not out of the ordinary for him not to be here.

    "Everyone has their own explanation for what they're doing. ...But it's also worth noting that the people who aren't here have been slow to endorse Trump."

    3.Two of the convention's speakers are from Nevada.

    After having difficulty attracting speakers to his convention, Trump has secured a line-up this week of family, friends, celebrities and, to a lesser degree, elected officials. Dana White, president of the Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship, gave a speech Tuesday night, calling Trump a fighter. And today Phil Ruffin, owner of Treasure Island hotel-casino in Vegas, will speak.

    4.Convention goers are not that concerned by Melania Trump's speech, which lifted portions of a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama.

    Messerly: "I think a lot of Trump supporters are of the mind that, "Oh, you know, it's not a big deal, or maybe it's similar.' Or there are some who've said, 'Maybe they should just come out and acknowledge it.' But we haven't seen that approach yet from the Trump campaign. ...A lot of people think Melania Trump did very well, she was very personable, and they largely saw it as a very good speech by her."

    5.Trump's former rivals, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz, will be speaking tonight, though neither has issued a formal endorsement of Trump. 

    Messerly: "Tonight will be interesting. ...Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be there speaking. He hasn't endorsed Trump. ...Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also has a pre-recorded video that's expected to air during the convention as well.

    "Tomorrow the big headliner is Donald Trump himself. ...The official conventional business -- Monday was passing the rules and the procedural business, and Tuesday it was the official securing of the nomination, and now it's just sort of hearing from leaders, officials, and Trump's friends and finishing off the convention strong."  

    Follow more of Messerly's coverage from Cleveland, follow her on Twitter

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