2016 REPUBLICAN CONVENTION: AN EYEWITNESS REPORT
By Thomas Ertl
August 8, 2016
There are times in American life where history is made and, looking back, many of us wish we would have been in attendance at these historic events. I wish I could have seen the Democratic Convention of ’68 – but was glad to miss Woodstock.
What happened July 18-21, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Republican National Convention was history in the making, and I wasn’t going to miss it.
Tuesday night’s roll call giving Trump the nomination was surreal. I was waiting for Rod Sterling to come out on stage with a new version of the Twilight Zone: “What you are experiencing did not really happen.”
If God gives me 25 more years, I never would have imagined I would have witnessed all that transpired during those four days in Cleveland with an anti-Establishment American nationalist getting the Republican nomination.
The convention itself, probably like many others, created a carnival-like atmosphere in downtown Cleveland, filled with everything imaginable. Fourth Street, the walking mall of the downtown area, right outside the convention hall was where much of the action was. The street was jammed with delegates, guests, vendors hawking their political goods, protestors, national media booths, hundreds of reporters, fake nuns on stilts, street preaching, what was left of the ‘60’s hippies, Don King and his entourage, and Roger Stone, Alex Jones, and Al Franken sightings.
The police presence was brought in from all over the country, complete with the Fort Worth cavalry. The police far outnumbered the protestors and did a terrific job.
There were reports of only some 25 arrests. Soros’ “rent-a-mob” did not show. It seemed most of the protestors were younger and probably local.
Shop workers would go to their store windows to see the commotion as protestors moved down the street in packs of 20-40. As they went shouting against Trump, they were followed by flocks of press, who were followed by filming tourists. It was quite a scene that reminded me of something out of the French Revolution.
Inside the convention hall, security was everywhere. Wayne Madsen in his report mentioned a few of the convention snafus: the press sitting on floors searching for any electrical outlet they could find, the empty seats in the upper deck, and some roll call issues.
One negative of the four days was the typical neo-con speeches of Giuliani, Gingrich and Christie. Some of what they stated disagreed with Trump’s positions so it’s assumed their speeches weren’t edited. However, what made this convention so different was the fact that so few politicians spoke. The podium was filled with business people, servicemen, Trump’s family, actors, and some ordinary people. This was tremendously refreshing not having to listen to politicians all night.
The convention was truly a historic event in America. Future histories will record the American uprising of the middle class against the ruling elites and their globalist controllers.
I went into the convention with my questions. One was, “What would be the response of the floor delegates to Trump?”
We all heard of the “Never Trump” movement and the potential rebellion of, and compromise of, the delegates away from Trump during the convention. But the “Never Trump” resistance ended early on the first day.
Still the floor was filled with many traditional Republican delegates who had allegiances to other non-Trump candidates, but were obligated to Trump, so there was some early suspense for how things were going to be received in this convention.
What transpired over these four days was very encouraging and demonstrated the unity of Republicans to their dominating, vote-getting, American populist candidate, Donald Trump.
Every day after each speaker, the delegates and guests, no matter their preconceived doubts, warmed up to Trump. The words of the Trump children talking about their father moved the audience further towards Trump.
Then came the unthinkable on Wednesday night when Senator Cruz made a fool of himself by refusing to endorse the overwhelming people’s choice of Donald Trump. What was supposed to be a night for Eric Trump and Mike Pence on Wednesday became the Cruz show of arrogance and political suicide. In the end it pushed most of the remaining doubters to Trump.
Then on the 4th night came the heartfelt introduction of Ivanka Trump of her father with Trump’s powerful America First speech. Everyone left united behind their candidate.
THE TRUMP KIDS: HIS GREAT ASSETS
During the convention Trump unveiled his greatest political weapons: his wife and children.
Monday it was Melania, Tuesday it was Donald Jr. and Tiffany, Wednesday it was Eric, and Thursday it was Ivanka introducing her father. One day I saw a sign near the Nebraska delegation: “Don Jr. for President.”
Every one of their speeches moved the delegates and greatly endeared them to their nominee. The children’s speeches touched the hearts and brought some to tears. We who have raised children know it’s nearly impossible for children to fake well their thoughts of their parents. Any attempt to embellish is easily seen as disingenuous.
I could imagine many in attendance thought as they listened to the Trump children’s love, respect, and great appreciation for dad, that if they could get 20% of such words from their own children they would be a very happy mother or father.
One political commentator mentioned of Trump’s children the biblical phrase, “by their fruits you should know them,” and went on about commending Trump for his excellent children. Trump’s children must be one of his proudest accomplishments, and they truly shined at the convention.
THE BUSH LEGACY: IT’S FINALLY OVER
One of my favorite events in American political conventions is the traditional delegate roll call vote. At this convention, the attendees heard of the glories of world-renowned Idaho potatoes and of another Alabama NCAA football championship. This event every four years symbolizes and reminds us of the importance and uniqueness of each state.
At this time, came the day many informed American conservatives were looking for but never really truly anticipated.
2 hours, 47 minutes, and 47 seconds into day two of the 2016 Republican National Convention, the Bush family legacy was finally over. It officially ended when Chairman Paul Ryan mentioned that Jeb Bush, the 2015 frontrunner Republican candidate, after spending $150 million, received just three delegates. Yes, that is correct: three delegates. That’s $50 million per delegate.
This was the ultimate embarrassment for the Bush family when Jeb, favorite son of mom and daddy Bush, was swamped by the outsider, Donald Trump, 1725 delegates to 3. The dagger to the Bushes came at 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 14 seconds into Tuesday night when Ryan had to announce that Donald Trump, having received the majority of the votes, had been selected as the Republican nominee. It must have been a “Pepto-Bismol” moment for the entire Bush operation.
Much could be said of the 20 years of the Bushes’ presidential administrations. I include the 8 years of Reagan because it was filled with many Bush operatives. Much could also be said of the disastrous policies of the Bushes and their passion and labor for a New World Order and its technocratic control by global elites with the goal of one world government. The Bushes are globalists, not true Americans. Trump began exposing the whole family and eventually pushed Jeb out of the Republican primary by humiliating him in South Carolina. The events of July 19 in Cleveland, Ohio made a great day for American sovereignty and liberty with the announcement of “three votes for Jeb Bush.”
TED CRUZ COMMITS POLITICAL SUICIDE
Donald Trump graciously gave his prominent primary opponents an opportunity to speak unconditionally. Christie, Carson and Rubio were all heard. The same opportunity was given to Ted Cruz.
As Cruz went further into his 23-minute speech, the Republican attendees were getting more and more anxious waiting for his endorsement of Trump. Then he uttered the code words of the “Never Trump” movement: “vote your conscience,” and all bedlam broke out. The crowd shouted, “Endorse Trump,” and broke out into rounds of boos. They bombarded Cruz. He did get in one more – sarcastic– comment to the New York delegation: “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation.” From that point, he could not effectively finish his speech.
Cruz then departed to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson’s luxury suite from which he was repelled by Adelson’s aide, Andy Abboud, who told Cruz he was not welcomed. Then things became even more volatile on the floor for Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and dad, Raphael. As they were leaving the floor, delegates were booing his father and yelling at his wife: “Goldman Sachs! Goldman Sachs!” Cruz supporter from Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, had to grab Mrs. Cruz, call for additional security, and escort her out to safety from the increasingly volatile crowd of delegates moving towards her.
Whether Cruz’s speech was planned or changed matters little; surely he miscalculated the response. A New York Times reporter wrote, “… he managed to do the unthinkable — make Mr. Trump look like a victim.”
The other unthinkable thing is the fact that Ted Cruz, who was the second leading Republican vote-getter and supported by many in the Party, turned himself into a political pariah. Cruz had to have his wife and father escorted out of their own conventional hall under security from their own Party delegates. Has anything like this happened before in modern Party convention history? His own arrogance overcame political prudence.
What Cruz did was similar to a wedding where the minister asks, “Does anyone oppose this marriage? Speak now or forever hold your peace,” and Cruz stands up at the service explaining his opposition to the groom, and tells the bride to go with her conscience. Unbelievable, tacky, and inappropriate, was Cruz, yet he just couldn’t help himself. He would have been better off staying home.
The next morning at breakfast Cruz doubled down defending his actions of the previous night before the Texas delegation that booed and heckled him.
Gov. Christie best described Cruz’s behavior:
I think it was awful. And quite frankly, I think it was selfish. And, he signed a pledge. And, it’s his job to keep his word. And Donald Trump gave him the opportunity to speak here at this convention tonight and I think it was too cute, and I think he saw by the end of the speech that the crowd was waiting for him to do the right thing and realized that once again he wasn’t going to do it. And I think the performance you saw up there is why Ted has so, so richly deserved the reputation that he’s developed on Capitol Hill.
… [H]e gave Donald Trump a promise the same day I did, the same day everyone signed that pledge did. We didn’t give it to Donald Trump, we gave it to each other. The 17 of us gave a promise to each other, and we signed it, and we said no matter what happens, we’re going to support the Republican nominee for president. I don’t know what kind of conversations he and Donald may have had since that time, and that’s not what I’m talking about. Every one of us signed a pledge, and our word should matter, and that’s what disgusts people out in your audience, that they give their word, and they think that’s negotiable.
What became obvious to many conservatives was that Ted Cruz was more concerned about Ted Cruz’s political future than his own country. They saw he would accept a Hillary victory and the country in ruins, so that he could run in 2020.
I believe he is done in national politics. He will never recover from his 2016 wild adventure in Cleveland. I’m sure there will be an opening for him at Goldman Sachs.
Trump’s RNC acceptance speech was a powerful blast against all things “ruling establishment.” He hit political correctness, media elite censorship, corporations, globalism, anti-American trade deals, big business donors, nation building, illegal immigration, NAFTA, TPP, excessive regulations, Evangelical involvement and free speech. He ended with highlighting that our system is “rigged,” but “I am with you—the American people. I will be your voice.”
It was a powerful, America First, anti-establishment speech that many of us have been awaiting for half a century.
Some of Trump’s key speech quotes were:
• “We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore. So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths [of] the Democrats...”
• “…plain facts…have been edited out of your nightly news and your morning newspaper.”
• “…the legacy of Hillary Clinton [is]: death, destruction and weakness.”
• “Tonight, I will share with you my plan of action for America…our plan will put America first. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo…This will all change in 2017. The American people will come first once again.”
• “A number of these reforms that I will outline tonight will be opposed by some of our nation’s most powerful special interests. That is because these interests have rigged our political and economic system for their exclusive benefit. Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place. They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.”
• “Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned.”
• “I AM YOUR VOICE.”
• “I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people…”
• “We must abandon the failed policy of nation building and regime change…”
• “We are going to build a great border to stop illegal immigration…”
• “I have a different vision for our workers. It begins with a new, fair trade policy that protects our jobs and stands up to countries that cheat.”
• “I am going to turn our bad trade agreements into great ones.”
• “Remember, it was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA… Never again.”
• “The TPP will not only destroy our manufacturing, but it will make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments. I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and independence.”
• “We are going to enforce all trade violations, including through the use of taxes and tariffs, against any country that cheats…That includes renegotiating NAFTA.”
• “Then we are going to deal with the issue of regulation…Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end it. We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy.”
• “At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits.”
• “I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.”
• “No longer can we rely on those elites in media, and politics, who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place.”
• “My pledge reads: ‘I AM WITH YOU — THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.’ I am your voice.”
Trump blended his theme of making America great again with numerous examples of what’s wrong and how he’s going to fix the rigged corporate system.
The critics claim it wasn’t a “statesman-like” speech or one of “political eloquence.” Aren’t we tired of eloquent statesman speeches by so-called conservatives who give us words and no action on key issues? America is ready instead for blue collar, real life speeches that push for action on issues that put America first. Trump’s speech at the Cleveland convention may go down as one of our great turning points in our political history.
AMERICANISM VS. GLOBALISM
When I heard Trump speak and proclaim, “Our plan will put America first. Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo,” I almost fell out of the Alabama alternate delegate section over the rail onto the concrete below.
No self-respecting establishment Republican would disparage “globalism,” or contrast it to “Americanism.”
After studying US national politics for over 45 years, I thought I would never hear such an assertion against globalism from a national political candidate. This phrase shows how advanced Trump is in knowing how the world works, and who is in control. While Rush Limbaugh is constantly incorrectly hyping liberalism as the enemy of America, Trump lays aside the symptoms of liberalism and zeros in on the symptoms’ source, “globalism.”
Critical and telling of Trump’s phrase against globalism is the use of the word “credo.” His use of this word purposely tells of his fundamental commitment to Americanism first and the battle against globalism. The word “creed” has a transcendent religious conviction and meaning to it. A “creed” is defined as “a set of beliefs, a dogma, a principle, and tenant that guides action.” Trump’s use of “credo” was brilliant and gives his Americanism an immovable foundation to build upon.
Later in his speech, Trump doubled down on globalism with, “we must abandon the failed policy of nation building and regime change.” Wow! Another political phrase no traditional Republican would mention. His statements repudiated the disastrous Bush wars, the Obama/Clinton destabilization of North Africa, and the use of the American military and NATO as the global elite’s private army.
These two phrases of Trump’s speech were the most powerful in his talk, and very telling of his planned direction and leadership of the country.
When I look back at my time at the 2016 Republican National Convention, I am left thinking, “Wow, what an incredible time in our nation’s political history.”
The convention was a product of something bigger than its events of four days. It is a true political awakening of the people against the ruling establishment, and this awakening is far greater than any one convention or any one candidate.
No one can tell what lies before us. The global establishment has been in control of Western governments and finance for over 100 years, and will not lay down to a Trump presidency to see their control grid dismantled.
We do not know what they have in place to deal with the wild boar, Donald Trump, who got loose in their global vineyard. Whether it’s assassination, voter fraud or an orchestrated economic depression and societal breakdown, we do not know.
Nonetheless, we need to be reminded that the people did not lose control of their government overnight and it will not be taken back overnight. Securing personal liberty and national sovereignty is a process. We have gone through two initial stages of the process: the rejection of the Republican Party establishment (Jeb), the candidacy of a citizen representative (Trump) and his nomination as a major party’s candidate for president.
These are two monumental steps in the right direction in the long process of the American people taking back their government.
© 2016 Thomas Ertl - All Rights Reserved
Tom Ertl is a home builder in Tallahassee, Florida and is a member of a local Presbyterian Church (PCA). For over three decades Tom has worked with various Christian political organizations, including Freedom Council in the 80s. He is a former member of The Council For National Policy and has sat on various Christian ministry and political boards. He is also a publisher of Christian historical and theological works and is a columnist for NewsWithViews.