Winners, losers of GOP convention

Winners, losers of GOP convention
© Greg Nash

CLEVELAND — Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE promised to put on a show here this week with lots of "winners" as the headliners.

Some people saw their stock rise after a wild week in Cleveland, but others found themselves caught in the storm.

Here are the winners and losers of the 2016 Republican National Convention.


Donald Trump
Thursday night was a great one for Trump.
After putting away 16 rivals in the GOP primary, Trump accepted the GOP presidential nomination at the convention before a rapturous crowd and with one of his best speech performances ever, particularly while using a teleprompter.
"Remember: All of the people telling you that you can't have the country you want are the same people that said that Trump wouldn't have a chance of standing here tonight," Trump said during an acceptance speech that underlined the message that he will work for those currently ignored by the political class.

While Trump's speech underlined his core issues, it also included nods to the LGBTQ community, women and African-Americans, who Trump argued are ignored by Democrats when it comes to economic policies and crime. It's a sign that Trump wants to reach out to new groups of voters while retaining his core.

There were plenty of problems at this convention for Trump, and it remains to be seen how much of a bump he will get in the polls.

But the history he made in winning his party's nomination and accepting its crown can't be ignored. 

Donald Trump Jr. 

All of the speeches from Trump’s family members were well-received in the convention hall. But none resulted in as much positive buzz as Donald Trump Jr.

After his Tuesday night address, Trump’s oldest son quickly won praise from even his father’s critics, who said he could make a compelling candidate for office someday. Shortly before his prime-time convention address, Trump Jr. played a starring role in casting the decisive votes on behalf of the New York delegation to make his father’s presidential nomination official.

Daughter Ivanka Trump has been the best known of the Trump children so far, but that could change going forward.

At a Wall Street Journal event on Wednesday morning, Trump Jr. didn’t rule out running for office himself. Asked if he might be interested in following his father into politics, he said: “Maybe when the kids get out of school, I would consider it.” 

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr.

Clarke won some of the loudest applause of the week when he shouted “Blue Lives Matter” just one day after three police officers were shot and killed in Baton Rouge, La.

Clarke criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and ripped the prosecution of police officers in Baltimore over the 2015 death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.

A registered Democrat who is African-American, Clarke was stern and tough on the stage as he slammed the Black Lives Matter movement for engaging in “anarchy.”

It was a strong performance that was no doubt divisive with some viewers, but it easily won over the Quicken Loans Arena and will leave Republicans wondering about his political future.

State and local police

Many of those coming to Cleveland were warned of anarchy.

Friends said stay safe to delegates, members of the media and other visitors who descended on the city.

Ohio’s status as an open-carry state further fueled some security fears. 

Yet all of that turned out to be overblown.

Protests largely remained peaceful amid a massive police presence and heavy security outside the Quicken Loans Arena. Convention organizers brought in police officers from all over the country to assist with handling protesters, who were often in the low hundreds versus the thousands. At times, there appeared to be more reporters and police officers than actual protesters demonstrating.

It was also commonplace to hear those gathered in Cleveland thank police officers for their service, comments that carried new meaning after the violence this month in Baton Rouge and Dallas targeting cops.


For two years, Cleveland has been anticipating the convention.

And a few weeks ago, there were jokes that the former “mistake by the lake” might descend into anarchy if a nasty GOP convention followed a loss by the NBA’s Cavaliers in their championship series.

Instead, Cleveland’s sports curse is over and the city came off well in hosting the GOP convention.

Cleveland hoped to show off new development downtown in its effort to shake off negative perceptions, and the convention is expected to bring in a windfall for one of the key swing states in this year’s election.

The U.S. Travel Association projected that attendees of the GOP convention would spend an estimated $180 million in Cleveland this week.

Laura Ingraham

Moments before Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFormer CIA head, Cruz trade jabs over killing of Iranian nuclear scientist: 'You are unworthy to represent the good people of Texas' O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (R-Texas) took the stage on the convention’s penultimate night, Ingraham won a standing ovation as she called on the “boys” to unite behind Trump.

“I want to say this very plainly, to all of you boys with wounded feelings and bruised egos: We love you, but you must honor your pledge to support Donald Trump now. Do it tonight,” she said. 

Cruz had initially pledged to support the party’s nominee but is still withholding an endorsement after the GOP primary that left hard feelings between him and Trump. The Texas senator later refused to endorse Trump during his convention speech, telling the audience to “vote your conscience.”

If Ingraham wants to leave her media career and run for office someday, she’d likely have plenty of support in the GOP.


Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump set for precedent-breaking lame-duck period Trump pardons Michael Flynn O'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' MORE

Trump’s vice presidential nominee delivered a solid speech on Wednesday night in accepting his nomination. But there had to be disappointment for the Indiana governor and former House member.

Pence was almost completely overshadowed by the turmoil on the floor that preceded him, when Cruz gave a lengthy speech and was jeered off the stage for refusing to endorse Donald Trump. The next day, the conversation wasn’t about Pence. It was about Cruz.

The Indiana governor is seen as someone who can help Trump unite the GOP, and the pick has won rave reviews from Republicans. He can still be a strong surrogate for Trump, and he did nothing to hurt himself in Cleveland, but his big night was tarnished by the Texan.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

The convention was a disaster for Cruz, who seemingly lost even his home-state delegation with his decision to not endorse Trump.

It was one of the most memorable moments of any recent convention, and it will raise serious questions about whether Cruz has a political future.

Cruz clearly wants to run for president again, and it is understandable that he would not want to endorse Trump, who insulted his wife and suggested his father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

But to come to the convention stage and give a speech to delegates expecting an endorsement, then not deliver?

Far more than the New York delegation were upset by that decision.

Paul Manafort

Trump’s veteran campaign manager had a rough four days in Cleveland.

The convention’s first night was marred by allegations of plagiarism when onlookers noticed startling similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and the address to the Democratic convention given eight years ago by first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama: 'Hopeless' to try to sell as many books as Michelle Obama sold record-breaking 1.7 million copies of memoir in first week Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk MORE.

The story dominated Tuesday and even Wednesday, and didn’t disappear until an in-house speechwriter for the Trump Organization took responsibility for the words and offered to resign.

Republicans and Democrats ripped Manafort for not stepping in earlier to end the story, and the whole episode underlined concerns about the Trump campaign’s management.

The decision to allow Cruz to speak, and general disorganization that left speakers addressing a half-empty arena late at night, also raised eyebrows.

GOP unity

A big goal of the convention was to unify Republicans.

But the GOP will leave Cleveland with plenty of doubters on that score.

Viewers tuning into coverage of this week’s convention saw repeated moments of Republicans failing to embrace their nominee. On the convention’s first day, drama ensued on the convention floor as delegates who wanted to force a roll call vote so they could “vote their conscience” against Trump were denied with a voice vote approving the convention’s rules package.

On the second day, GOP leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Biden and reproductive health rights Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls MORE (Ky.) and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPaul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Bottom line Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition MORE (Wis.) delivered speeches expanding upon conservative platitudes that conspicuously lacked many references to Trump.

On the third day, chaos broke out with Trump’s main primary rival, Cruz, refusing to endorse him.

Republicans kept saying they were unified, despite the evidence.


Trump this week achieved what hardly anyone would have imagined a year ago: officially winning the Republican nomination for president.

Again and again, Republicans who have trouble stomaching Trump as the leader of their party failed to find an alternative candidate or change the convention’s rules to unbind delegates from the results of the GOP primary contests. The Republican National Committee repeatedly blocked them at every turn this week from embarrassing Trump. While anti-Trump delegates did instigate some loud protests on the floor this week, they ultimately proved to be a minority among other Republicans.