With the Republican National Convention already half way over, one thing is certain: There’s been no shortage of memorable and headline-making moments that will rival the RNCs that have come before.
The action started before the RNC itself was even underway, with the responses some GOP leaders gave regarding their planned absences from the Convention. Most notably, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who had a spokesperson relay that “”Sen. [Ben] Sasse will not be attending the convention and will instead take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners.”
As preparations for the Convention were underway on Sunday evening, Republicans and Democrats alike took notice when Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, appeared dressed as a character from The Hunger Games and appeared to sneak on stage before being escorted out by security. The segment aired on Monday’s Late Show.
On Monday, a frenzy unfolded on the floor of the RNC when anti-Trump and pro-Trump supporters engaged in one last battle over Donald Trump’s impending nomination. After the shouting match, Trump used Twitter to criticize CNN for biased coverage of the upheaval. Meanwhile, reality stars and Trump supporters Antonio Sabato Jr., Willie Robertson (from Duck Dynasty), and Scott Baio were on hand to add a celebrity factor.
Later in the day, Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, who lost his life in the Benghazi attack in 2012, took to the stage and was met with cheers of encouragement. Smith had a clear focus on Hillary Clinton during her time behind the podium.
“I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” she stated, before going on to ask why the presumed Democratic candidate should be given the presidency if she “can’t give us the truth.” Some eyebrows were raised, however, when Trump chose to call into Fox News at the same time, diverting some attention away from Smith’s powerful speech.
Former New York City Mayor—and longtime friend of Trump—Rudy Giuliani also spoke with passion, addressing the “enemies” of America and tapping Trump as the person who could keep America safe.
Melania Trump finished off the night with a rare turn in the spotlight. The speech ended up receiving a different kind of attention than the Trump campaign was hoping, however, when critics pointed out strong similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and one given by Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
On Tuesday, Trump and his running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, became the Republican Party’s official nominees, and the party worked to divert media buzz from the possible plagiarism in the previous evening’s speech by redirecting the focus to Clinton.
UFC Chairman Dana White kicked off the primetime speeches and was a fitting choice for an evening of brawling words. Later on, Speaker Paul Ryan spoke more mildly, but stayed within the Clinton theme, pitching her potential presidency as a third term for President Barack Obama. Despite the crowd being calmer while he spoke, Ryan was still loudly cheered when he encouraged his party to find common ground. “What do you say we unite this party, at this crucial moment when unity is everything?” he proposed.
In sharp contrast, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who had hoped to be Trump’s running mate, had RNC-goers up in arms as he listed indictments against Clinton to screams of “guilty” and “lock her up” from onlookers. Former presidential candidate hopeful Ben Carson also took the stage to paint Clinton as enemy number one.
To round out the evening, two of Trump’s children, Donald Trump Jr. and Tiffany Trump, spoke about their father and attempted to call to mind a softer image of him as a caring dad and a kid from Queens, who hard to work his way to the top.
Each day of the RNC has had a theme, and today’s is “Make America First Again.” Ted Cruz and Newt Gingrich will take their turns behind the podium, and Pence will finish off the evening.
As Republicans move through day three of the convention, the adage that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” is being debated. Following a very-publicized tumultuous couple of days, Trump’s standing may be slipping. The New York Times forecasts that Hillary Clinton has a 75% chance of winning the presidential election.
When the RNC ends on Thursday, with a long-awaited speech from Trump himself, Republicans may have more of an answer to the convention’s theme for the day and a feeling on whether the polarizing presidential candidate can “Make America One Again.”