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RNC Day 2: Pitches for unity and a pause in unwelcome drama

Donald Trump Jr., as a delegate from New

Donald Trump Jr., as a delegate from New York, announced the state's 89 votes for Trump during the Republican National Convention's roll call on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, putting his father over the top and sealing his victory as the Republican nominee. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The loathe fest

The Republican convention heard a call for unity from some of Donald Trump’s most persistent critics, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. But the glue that is holding them together is Hillary Clinton.

“Lock her up, lock her up,” delegates chanted as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered a political indictment of Trump’s opponent. She offers, he said, “all the failures of the Obama years, but with less charm and more lies.”

Ben Carson took it further, ad-libbing a link between Clinton and Lucifer.

Trump’s younger daughter, Tiffany, shared warm anecdotes of a caring father, and son Donald Jr. made a forceful, polished pitch for his dad’s “gifts as a leader,” who spurns elites and learned “from people with doctorates in common sense.”

Newsday’s Michael Gormley covered the main events.

Over the top

Donald Jr., as a delegate, announced New York’s 89 votes for Trump during the roll call, sealing his victory as the Republican nominee. The final tally: Trump, 1,725 delegates; Ted Cruz, 475; John Kasich, 129; and Marco Rubio, 113.

Hello, it’s me

Trump appeared via video from Trump Tower to say thanks for the nomination. “We have to go all the way,” he said, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo.

He read from a TelePrompTer, more woodenly than usual for him, and stuck to the script.

“Melania and I had such a great time last night,” he said, making no reference to the plagiarism furor over his wife’s speech.

The take-away: Lyin’ in wait

The rival Trump abused as “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz takes the convention stage Wednesday, and there is legitimate suspense over what he will do with it, Newsday’s Dan Janison writes. Cruz has called Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar,” but at 45, he will also be thinking about his own future in the party.

Hot (mess) in Cleveland

Team Trump and associates were awash Tuesday in finger-pointing, calls for firings and efforts to shift blame elsewhere — say, to Clinton — after portions of Melania Trump’s speech were found to closely match Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic convention speech. (See video comparison.)

Trump’s campaign and GOP officials weren’t on the same page as they tried to get beyond the fiasco, and the episode laid bare ongoing feuds, Ngo reports.

Ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said that if campaign chief Paul Manafort signed off on the text, “I think he would resign.” Donald Trump Jr. shot back: “There’s a reason that Paul is in the position that he is today and Corey’s not.”

How’d that happen?

While party chairman Reince Priebus said he’d “probably” fire any speechwriter responsible, the party spokesman offered a creative defense — that the words bore similarities to quotes from John Legend, Kid Rock and Twilight Sparkle from “My Little Pony.”

Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson had yet another explanation: Trump’s wife “wanted to communicate to Americans in phrases they have heard before.”

According to The New York Times, Melania Trump discarded most of a draft by two former George W. Bush speechwriters and collaborated on a rewrite with Meredith McIver, a former ballet dancer who has worked on some of Donald Trump’s books.

What are the odds?

Robert Rutledge, an astrophysicist at McGill University in Montreal, looked at 14 similarities between Melania Trump’s and Michelle Obama’s speeches, and ran the numbers on the chances they were coincidental.

“Just being given these words, randomly, the chance that she would have put them in the same order — the odds are one in 87 billion,” Rutledge said in a Washington Post interview.

Hofstra gets presidential debate

Long Island’s Hofstra University is the surprise site on Sept. 26 for the first of three debates.

The Commission on Presidential Debates moved it to Hofstra after the originally chosen venue, Wright State University in Ohio, bowed out because of cost and campus safety concerns. Read Newsday’s story by Candice Ferrette and Robert Brodsky.

Bridgegate troll

Clinton’s Twitter account trolled the convention speakers and had this zinger for Christie:

“If you think Chris Christie can lecture anyone on ethics, we have a bridge to sell you.”

What to see Wednesday

Vice presidential pick Mike Pence accepts his nomination. Speeches are also scheduled by Newt Gingrich; GOP primary also-rans Cruz, Rubio and Scott Walker; and Trump’s son Eric. Here’s the full list.

What else is happening:

  • The top two contenders on Clinton’s running mate list are now Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia, The Washington Post reported.
  • Rock legends Queen objected to the use of their classic “We Are the Champions” to play Trump onstage Monday night. Spicer and Sony/ATV Music Publishing disputed whether the RNC obtained licensing rights.
  • Clinton likened the first night of the GOP convention to “The Wizard of Oz,” reports Newsday’s Laura Figueroa: “Lots of sound and fury, even a fog machine, but when you pulled back the curtain, it was just Donald Trump with nothing to offer the American people,” she said.
  • Embattled Fox News boss Roger Ailes has been getting strategic advice from Trump and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani as he fights a sexual harassment suit by ex-anchor Gretchen Carlson, according to New York magazine.
  • House Speaker Ryan, in a fumbled appeal for unity, asked Texas Republicans whether Longhorns or Aggies fans will put rivalry aside and root for the team if they advance to a championship game. No, the crowd booed.
  • Experts agree that Trump’s convention has had a rough start, Newsday’s Gormley reports.
  • A Quinnipiac University poll found voters in New York’s suburbs split almost evenly between Clinton and Trump, but Clinton’s ahead statewide by 12 points, Newsday’s Tom Brune writes.
  • Police swarmed into Cleveland’s Public Square, separating rival protesters and ultimately clearing the space after an altercation, Newsday’s Darran Simon says.
  • A dozen staffers in the California delegation fell ill with the norovirus.


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