- By Molly O’TooleMolly O’Toole is a senior reporter at Foreign Policy, covering immigration, refugees, and national security. She was FP’s sole 2016 presidential campaign reporter, on the trail from New Hampshire to Nevada. Previously, she covered the politics of national security for Atlantic Media’s Defense One, where she reported from Congress, the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department. Before that, she was a news editor at the Huffington Post. Molly has also reported on national and international politics for Reuters, the Nation, The Associated Press, and Newsweek International, among others, from Washington, New York, Mexico City, and London. She received her dual master’s degree in journalism and international relations from New York University and her bachelor’s from Cornell University and in 2016 was a grant recipient of the International Women’s Media Foundation. She will always be a Californian.
It was the exactly kind of disarray that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump had hoped to avoid.
The GOP convention in Cleveland briefly descended into chaos Monday in an embarrassing display of party rancor as pro-Trump delegates in the hall shouted “We want Trump” while their opponents chanted “We want a roll call.”
Just ahead of the vote on the convention’s nominating rules, which require delegates to vote for Trump, the winner of the Republican primary, opponents known as #NeverTrump sent out a release announcing they had sufficient signatures to force a roll call vote.
It was a last ditch attempt by the NeverTrumpers to free up delegates so that they would not be bound to vote for the New York real estate mogul on the first ballot for the presidential nomination.
Watch the moment here:
Noting Trump “praises murderous dictators for their governing tactics,” the #NeverTrump statement said, “Nobody should be coerced to vote for a candidate as dangerous and unprincipled as Donald Trump.”
Key GOP national security leaders and former senior officials organized their own protest movement in March, arguing Trump is dangerously incoherent on foreign policy. Several have even said they’ll vote for the Republican’s Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
When a voice vote for the nominating rules was called, the presiding party official ignored loud boos from delegates on the floor, declaring the rules faced no opposition and banging the gavel. Pro-Trump protesters roared in a bid to drown out the dissenters.
For years, the party conventions have long been highly-scripted affairs designed for television with internal divisions muffled. But the Republican convention veered off script — at least temporarily — as confusion reigned on the floor. Trump supporters attempted to take the stage with a banner, but were stopped by a secret service agent.
A delegate from Utah approached the microphone on the floor, making a motion to hold a roll call vote on the rules rather than a voice vote, and announcing that nine states supported the move — one more than the required eight.
But Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack, presiding over the convention proceedings, said that after the initial voice vote, three states had withdrawn their support. The anti-Trump rebellion had failed, inviting more boos, and cheers from Trump’s supporters.
As cable television channels interviewed the dissenters, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the chairman of the Platform Committee, took to the lectern and tried to defuse the tension with an appeal to patriotism. “Who’s proud to be an American?” he asked.
The crowd roared, seemingly as one.
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