GOP passes rules vote over outcry from Trump opponents

CLEVELAND — The Republican National Committee ignored an outcry from angry delegates on the GOP convention’s first day and adopted the convention’s rules by a voice vote.

The move prompted an eruption from the crowd, with people chanting “roll call vote” and yelling “point of order.” 

{mosads}To counter those efforts, delegate operatives for presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, adorned in neon-green hats, led chants of “Trump!” and “USA!” to drown out the protesters.

“I have never seen anything like this,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a close ally of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a rival to Trump during the primary season. 

“There is no precedent for this,” Lee said. 

The outcry came at a Republican National Convention where differences in the GOP over Trump were at the forefront. 

The morning began with Trump allies taking shots at prominent Republicans not supporting the real estate mogul, including the Bush family, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney and John Kasich, the GOP governor of Ohio. 

The eruption over party rules came after a group of “Never Trump” supporters seeking to unbind delegates thought they had secured enough signatures to force a roll-call vote on the party rules. Those delegates were also joined by those looking to decentralize power from the RNC and encourage states to restrict primaries to registered Republicans, changes encouraged by allies of Cruz. 

But Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), who was presiding, informed the delegates that three states had withdrawn support for the petition, which meant it had fallen short of the threshold to force a roll call.

“The chair has found insufficient support for the request for a recorded vote,” Womack said as the crowd erupted.

The anti-Trump delegates wanted to force the vote to slow down the process and show that the party is not completely unified behind Trump. 

Never Trump claimed to have turned in signatures for 11 states. Womack said the group turned in for signatures for nine, then signors for three states peeled off, leaving majorities from six states when seven were needed to force a roll-call vote.

After being denied the vote, most of the delegation from Colorado walked off the floor in protest, leaving behind rows of empty seats.

An RNC source said that the opposition delegates initially submitted the majority of signatures for nine states, but had only majorities in six states by the vote. 

The source said that Washington D.C., Minnesota, Iowa, and Maine all dropped below the 50 percent threshold before the vote and Iowa dropped below during the vote. That left Colorado, Wyoming, Virginia, Utah and Washington state as the five states that maintained a majority effort calling for a roll call vote. 
Figures in the Never Trump movement argued that officials with the RNC and the Trump campaign had intimidated their opponents.

 Rory Cooper, an aide to the Never Trump group that supported the voice vote, bashed the RNC in a statement to reporters. 

“There is no excuse for strongarming delegates and skirting the rules to silence these members of the party — or as the Trump campaign puts it, ‘crushing’ and ‘destroying’ delegates,” he said. 

“That was a fix,” said Eric Minor, a Washington delegate. “That’s all that was, pure and simple.”

Tension was evident on the convention floor shortly after the approval of the rules.

While one angry delegate was speaking to the media about what had just transpired, another Trump-backing delegate interrupted.

“Get over it!” she yelled.

Another delegate screamed “Go home!” at yet another anti-Trump delegate conducting interviews on the convention floor.

Delegates furious over the vote insisted they were not giving up their efforts, but at the same time did not exactly know what their next move would be.

“Stay tuned. There’s a Plan B,” said Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate who co-founded the “Free the Delegates” movement. “We’re going to go back, we’re going to strategize … what they chose was to play hardball to make sure there wasn’t dissent, and now they’re going to get it.”

The tension led to a bizarre dynamic, as furious delegates made their case to the media on the convention floor while GOP speakers continued to preach the need to support Trump and party unity from the podium.

Meanwhile, Trump backers insisted the drama was without merit.

One source on the whip team maintained that four delegations — Minnesota, Iowa, Maine and the District of Columbia — had withdrawn their support, as delegates were not aware of what they had signed on to. Without that support, there would not be enough delegations to force a roll-call vote.

After the rules were declared to have been passed, the convention moved on to its regular business. 

A few moments later, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) came to the convention stage to begin speaking about the party platform.

“Are you proud to be an American,” Barrasso said to the crowd, which remained unsettled from the previous actions.
— This story was updated at 7:18 p.m. Peter Schroeder contributed.
Tags Donald Trump John Barrasso Mike Lee Steve Womack Ted Cruz

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