The Daily 202: Seven things to watch at the Republican convention in Cleveland – Washington Post

Volunteers in Cleveland prepare for Thursday night’s balloon drop at the Republican National Convention. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)


CLEVELAND—Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and Hurricane Isaac in 2012 upended the first nights of the Republican National Convention. In 2016, a man-made tempest is making landfall here on the shores of Lake Erie: Hurricane Donald.

In what might be interpreted as a metaphor, a bad storm swept through town overnight – briefly knocking out power at some hotels.

The coming days will undoubtedly be awkward. Exactly one year ago today, Donald Trump declared in Iowa that John McCain was not a war hero because he got captured by the North Vietnamese. As recently as last week, Trump reiterated his refusal to apologize for saying that and even attacked the 2008 GOP nominee for not doing enough to help veterans. (Ironically, Trump being at the top of the ticket has imperiled the Arizona senator’s reelection hopes.)

We know McCain is one of many luminaries – including Mitt Romney and the Bush clan – who will skip the festivities to celebrate Trump officially completing his hostile takeover of the Republican Party.

Partly because Trump values and thrives on unpredictability, there’s a lot we still don’t know. Organizers said at a briefing last night that there will be “plenty of surprises.”

Here are seven questions we will know the answers to by the end of the week:

Mitch McConnell, joined by his wife Elaine Chao, and Paul Ryan, with his wife Janna, did a sound check on the main stage yesterday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

1. How many speakers don’t say his name?

Chris Christie was widely lampooned in Tampa for delivering a self-aggrandizing convention keynote that did not mention Romney until 16 minutes in and, even then, made him seem lukewarm about the then nominee.

That could happen again in several of this week’s highest-profile speeches.

Respecting the adage that “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” many leading Republicans are not going to take the stage – including home-state Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rob Portman.

One of the drollest neologisms this cycle comes from GOP members of Congress who say they “support the nominee” but steadfastly refuse to say Trump’s name and insist that “supporting” him is not the same as “endorsing” him – a distinction without a difference, as far as the dictionary is concerned.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are speaking Tuesday night. All have been lukewarm about Trump; will they do the same awkward dance that their members do in the corridors of the Capitol?

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) – one of the most vulnerable congressional incumbents up for reelection this year – is also speaking Tuesday in prime-time. It’s hard to imagine a full-throated endorsement, unless he’s looking to commit political suicide…

It’s also difficult to envision Ted Cruz heaping too much praise on Trump, whom he has still not endorsed, when he talks Wednesday night. (See the full schedule here.)

Officers monitor a small anti-Trump protest in downtown Cleveland yesterday. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

2. Do the protesters make bigger headlines than the speakers?

The city is jittery, and security is tight. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified last week that he’s “concerned about the possibility of violence in Cleveland.”

A major skirmish could occur as early as today when pro-Trump demonstrators hold a midday rally. Local hospitals have opened up extra bed space in case of mass casualties, and battalions of police officers on bikes are prepared to swarm protest areas, Joel Achenbach reports. The chief says the city has brought in “thousands” of officers from “hundreds” of other police departments across the country.

While there are widespread fears that Cleveland in 2016 could become like Chicago in 1968, but there’s also a very good chance that the planned protests are being over-hyped and will stay relatively peaceful. It’s impossible to know at this hour. Importantly, unlike Mayor Richard J. Daley in the Windy City, local leaders here seem eager to do everything possible to diffuse tensions.

Ohio has an open-carry law that permits people to walk around with loaded handguns or long guns. A man with a long rifle slung over his shoulder attracted a cluster of cameras and curious onlookers yesterday, Achenbach reports. And some members of the New Black Panther Party, a black militant group, have said they plan to carry weapons around the streets of Cleveland.

After the horrifying murder of three Baton Rouge police officers yesterday, the president of the local police union publicly called upon Kasich to temporarily suspend open carry in Cuyahoga County for the week. The governor quickly rejected the request.

“He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something,” Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, said Sunday. “I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point. They can fight about it after the RNC, or they can lift it after the RNC, but I want him to absolutely outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until this RNC is over.”

A spokeswoman for the governor said he does not have “the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.”

3. How thin is the veneer of party unity?

The Never Trump agitators have been defeated, but they say they’re not going away,” Ed O’Keefe reports. “Republicans who failed to change party rules (last week) are threatening to cause chaos on the floor … to draw at least some political blood … The options are limited, and attempts to cause trouble at political conventions are usually quickly thwarted. But anti-Trump activists who spent weeks trying to play within the party structure now say they will do what Trump hates the most — find a way to embarrass him.”

How could they do that? Upset delegates might attempt to officially register their opposition to Trump on the floor or to force an hours-long roll call of the states, which would upend a schedule aimed at prime-time television coverage, O’Keefe explains. They could also stay away: “Some senior RNC officials worry that delegates might start leaving Cleveland before Trump is scheduled to formally accept the nomination on Thursday night, possibly forcing the campaign to scramble to fill seats inside Quicken Loans Arena. The lack of prominent speakers on most nights of the convention might also compel delegates to reconsider their plans.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus yesterday called on anti-Trump Republicans to “give up.” “If they want to delay the proceedings, all they’re doing is delaying the evening and helping Hillary Clinton,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “There is no [alternative] candidate. … What is your goal other than to distract and cause problems?”

Mike Pence’s speech on Wednesday night could excite some rank-and-file delegates, especially religious conservatives who view the thrice-married Trump warily because of his brash lifestyle and apostasy on abortion. “One of the big reasons that I chose Mike … is party unity, I have to be honest,” Trump said Saturday. “So many people have said, ‘party unity.’ Because I’m an outsider. I don’t want to be an outsider.”

Donald and Melania Trump appear on NBC’s “Today” show in April. (Richard Drew/AP)

4. Can Trump’s family members sandpaper his rough edges?

A fresh Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Clinton leading Trump by 4 points among registered voters, 47 percent to 43 percent. That’s down from 12 points last month, a reminder that he has some momentum coming into the convention. But there is a notable gender gap: Trump leads among men by 8 points (49-41), while Clinton leads among women by 14 points (52-38).

Trump’s campaign wants to make inroads with women by softening his image, and they’re leaning on his family to do that.

“I think people actually want to like him,” Priebus told Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker. “They’re intrigued by him. They’re interested in him. And him becoming likable will make him unstoppable.”

Trump’s wife Melania, who very rarely speaks in public and usually says little when she does, is tonight’s headline speaker. Tomorrow his children Donald Jr. and Tiffany speak. His son Eric speaks Wednesday. And then Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, will introduce him Thursday night.

It will be amusing to listen to what Melania and all the children say about Trump as a dad in the context of his past comments about parenting. The business mogul has boasted about never changing diapers and bragged about refusing to take his kids out for walks in Central Park. “I won’t do anything to take care of them,” he told Howard Stern in 2005. “I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.” Ivana Trump said earlier this year that she deserves the credit for raising Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric because they were very little when Donald divorced her.

Trump chairman Paul Manafort is surrounded by a throng of reporters on the convention floor last night. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

5. What does Donald do?

Trump originally wanted to speak every night, which is at odds with decades of precedent in both parties. He’s only officially on the schedule for Thursday, but campaign chairman Paul Manafort said last night that there is a good chance he will appear more than once. “Donald Trump will be Donald Trump. Scripted is the wrong word,” Manafort said. “He will probably be making a couple of appearances.”

How exactly he appears is unknown. Does Trump do some TV interviews? Provocative tweets? Appearances on the Jumbotron by satellite?

Trump’s unpredictability could be great for ratings. Real people hate stage-managed conventions, and they love reality TV. “Overall, viewership for the national political conventions dropped 26% after 1968,” USA Today reports, citing Nielsen ratings. “The drop became even more pronounced after the 1980 conventions. The average ratings for the 1984 to 2004 conventions were 30% lower than the previous 20-year period. There was a dramatic jump in viewers for the 2008 GOP convention, driven largely by interest in … Sarah Palin. … (Pence) isn’t likely to generate the same level of interest as Palin did in 2008, but many people will be tuning in to get their first look at the Indiana governor. The real draw, of course, will be Trump himself. He brought record numbers of viewers to the GOP primary debates, and it’s likely he’ll have a similar effect on interest in the convention.”

6. Does Trump seem plausible as a president?

Though he’s only trailing Clinton by 4 points in our new poll, 64 percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably as he enters the convention – more than twice as many as view him positively. “The Post-ABC poll found that nearly six in 10 registered voters say he is not qualified to serve as president — with 49 percent saying they strongly believe that,” Scott Clement and Dan Balz note. “Meanwhile, Clinton is seen as qualified to serve as president by 56 percent of voters.”

The attempted coup in Turkey and the Bastille Day attack in France are reminders that the world is a tinderbox and unexpected challenges confront a president.

Today’s theme is “Make America Safe Again” and will focus on foreign policy. Among the speakers are Rudy Giuliani, who has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst (a combat veteran). Two Americans who were present during the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi will also appear.

“Because of events, Republicans this week and Democrats a week from now will be judged on far more than whether their conventions are well run and well produced, on whose video biography of the nominee is more compelling or whether the balloon drop works smoothly,” Balz writes in his column. “Both Trump and Clinton will be measured by more exacting standards than usual. Can either speak in language strong enough to break through the wall of polarizing rhetoric with which both political parties seem most comfortable? … The rewards for success could be significant. Which candidate will be seen as more suited for the demands of the Oval Office in an uncertain time? Which candidate can voters imagine responding effectively to terrorist attacks? Who will be judged as equipped to bridge racial divisions and ease racial tensions? There will be nothing abstract about all these questions. The videos from around the world will be a constant reminder of the stakes of this election.”

As CNN puts it, “Trump enters the convention under pressure to show more discipline, gravitas, and sobriety.”

Jake Buird celebrates after seeing Trump speak in New Hampshire in February. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

7. How big is Trump’s post-convention bounce?

If Trump does not blow it and violence does not overshadow it, the next four days could be a made-for-TV infomercial about how great he would be as president —with 15,000 credentialed journalists on hand to chronicle it all.

“Presidential candidates historically have seen a median increase of five percentage points in their support in preference polls among registered voters after their party’s nominating convention,” Gallup found in a 2012 study. (Check out a cool breakdown going back to 1964 here.)

It will be political malpractice if Trump’s image and standing do not improve. But, but, but: Clinton gets her own coronation next week in Philadelphia. And she is expected to announce her running-mate this Friday, partly to blunt any momentum Trump might get coming out of Thursday night.

Police officers guard the scene where three officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)


— A lone gunman killed three police officers and injured three others in Baton Rogue. From Mark Berman, Matt Zapotosky and Peter Holley: “The shootings occurred when police responded to a 911 call that a man dressed in black and armed with what appeared to be an assault-style rifle was walking near a shopping plaza about a mile from police headquarters. Alton Sterling was fatally shot by officers outside a convenience store in the city two weeks ago.

— The gunman, who was shot and killed, was Gavin Long, an African American resident of Kansas CityMo. “He turned 29 on Sunday and was in Baton Rouge celebrating his birthday. … In the spring of 2012, Long was named to the dean’s list at the University of Alabama, which he attended for one semester. … (He was) a Marine who achieved the rank of sergeant and had been deployed to Iraq before leaving the service in 2010.” Under a pseudonym, Long had posted videos on YouTube advocating for violence instead of protests. (Matt Zapotosky has more.)

Montrell Jackson (Family photo)

— The victims:

  • Montrell Jackson, 32, an African American, was married and had a baby. “It’s coming to the point where no lives matter,” his sister said last night, “whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or whatever.” (Theresa Vargas)
  • Matthew Gerald, 41, a white officer with two daughters, had served in the Marines and the Army before joining the Baton Rouge police force last year. (Jessica Contrera)
  • Brad Garafola, 45, who served with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, was working extra duty at the B-Quik convenience store on Airline Highway and was headed home to begin vacation when he was gunned down. (Jessica Contrera)

— Thirty officers have now been shot and killed in the line of duty since 2016 began, nearly double the toll at this time last year. (William Wan and Kimberly Kindy)

— President Obama condemned the assault as “cowardly and reprehensible”: “These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.” He also pleaded with the presidential candidates not to politicize the shootings: Describing the upcoming conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia as “a time when our political rhetoric tends to be more overheated,” Obama broadly urged public officials to temper divisive words. “We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda,” he said. (Greg Jaffe)

Here’s how Trump responded to the plea:

President Obama just had a news conference, but he doesn’t have a clue. Our country is a divided crime scene, and it will only get worse!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2016

— “We must all stand together to reject violence and strengthen our communities,” Clinton said in her statement.

— Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement strongly condemned any form of violence against the police: “We don’t value any life more than any other life,” said Ada Goodly, an attorney and activist with the National Lawyers Guild in Baton Rouge. “This is a huge loss for a community that is already grieving.” “Shooting police is not a civil rights tactic,” said longtime civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. “The shooting in Dallas had nothing to do with the civil rights struggle, and neither does the shooting in Baton Rouge.” (Wesley Lowery)

Sadly, we are reaching the point where, when you see the flags are at half-mast, it is hard to figure out which tragedy they mark.

— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) July 17, 2016


  1. French authorities detained three more suspects in connection with the Bastille Day truck attack, including two Albanians who they believe supplied the weapons and a third man who the attacker texted with. Seven others had been detained earlier. ISIS declared on Saturday that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, was “a soldier of the Islamic State.” (Sudarsan Raghavan)
  2. U.C. Berkley confirmed that one of its students was among the 84 who died in Nice. The 20-year-old was participating in a summer entrepreneurship program. (LA Times)
  3. Leaders of Nice’s Muslim community fear an anti-immigrant backlash will make people such as the attacker even more disconnected from French society, sharpening the risk of more attacks. (Michael Birnbaum)
  4. Anti-doping officials from more than 10 nations will request that the entire Russian delegation be banned from participating in the Rio Olympics, highlighting revelations of a state-sponsored doping program. The request comes just three weeks before the summer games are set to begin. (New York Times)
  5. Obama calls on Republicans to confirm Merrick Garland in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, calling the gridlock “much more serious than [a] typical case of Washington dysfunction.” “If we allow it to continue, the consequences of congressional inaction could weaken our most important institutions, erode public trust and undermine our democracy,” he writes.
  6. Venezuela temporarily opened its border with Colombia this weekend, allowing more than 100,000 people across the border to shop for food and medicine amid nationwide shortages. (AP)
  7. A 20-year-old survivor of gang rape in India was sexually assaulted again by the same five men who had previously attacked her. The men were out on bail and allegedly wanted to punish the girl and her family for refusing to withdraw charges against them. (Max Bearak)
  8. The brother of a slain Pakistani model admitted to strangling his sister for “family honor” after she posted photos on social media that he found embarrassing. “I was determined either to kill myself or kill her,” he told reporters. (AP)
  9. The FBI has found “no evidence” that Orlando gunman Omar Mateen chose to target the Pulse nightclub because of its gay clientele. (Adam Goldman)
  10. Mick Jagger, 72, announced that he is expecting his eighth child. The legendary rocker, who has children ranging in age from 45 to 17, is expecting a baby with his 29-year-old girlfriend. (Ellen McCarthy)
  11. A 26-year-old Pennsylvania man faces criminal charges after police found a stolen human brain under his porch, which he and his friends were using to get high. (Peter Holley

Trump and Pence on Saturday (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


— Trump and Pence appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” last night. It quickly turned awkward when Donald was confronted with Pence’s vote to authorize the use force of Iraq in 2002: “I don’t care,” he told host Lesley Stahl, effectively giving his running-mate a pass for the exact same thing he has long slammed Clinton for doing. “It’s a long time ago. And he voted that way and they were also misled.” 

Trump said Pence is “entitled to make a mistake every once in a while.” Lesley Stahl asked if that meant Clinton, who voted for the war as a New York senator, is too. “No,” Trump said. “She’s not.” (Sean Sullivan has more.) 

— Trump totally domineered the interview. During the 21-minute segment, Trump uttered 2,160 words to Pence’s 900. “When Pence did get the chance to speak, Trump would often cut him off with a correction or answer of his own,” Jenna Johnson notes. In one example, “as Pence tried to explain why he was at first opposed to Trump’s ban on foreign Muslims, he began by pointing out that Trump ‘clearly…is not a politician’ and ‘doesn’t speak like a politician.’ ‘He speaks from his heart,” Pence said earnestly. Trump cut in: ‘Is that a good thing? I think that’s a good thing. Well, I speak from my heart and my brain. Just so we understand.’”

In another awkward moment, Stahl asked Pence about Trump saying McCain is “not a war hero.” “I have a great deal of respect for John McCain,’ Pence said carefully. ‘And…’ Stahl pressed: ‘Do you think he went too far?’” Trump jumped in: “You could say yes… That’s okay. That one, you could say, ‘yes.'” (Watch the full interview here.)

— It came after a terrible event Saturday to unveil Pence. The lighting and sound were bad. Trump came on stage to “You can’t always get you want.” He rambled for 28 minutes alone on stage before calling Pence up. “You’re amazing,” Pence whispered to him. Then Trump left the stage. The interaction lasted six seconds. (Jenna Johnson and Robert Costa

— What was he thinking? In 1999, Pence attacked the family film “Mulan” as the work of a “mischievous liberal” and said it was obviously designed to “influence the debate over women in the military”: “Despite her delicate features and voice, Disney expects us to believe that Mulan’s ingenuity and courage were enough to carry her to military success on an equal basis with her cloddish cohorts,” Pence wrote in an op-ed. “Obviously, this is Walt Disney’s attempt to add childhood expectation to the cultural debate over the role of women in the military … I suspect that some mischievous liberal at Disney assumes that Mulan’s story will cause a quiet change in the next generation’s attitude about women in combat and they just might be right.” (Read more from Buzzfeed)

— “Pence used campaign funds to pay his mortgage — and it cost him an election,” by Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Alice Crites: “Campaign finance records from the 1990 effort showed that Pence, then 31, had been using political donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees and car payments for his wife. The spending had not been illegal at the time.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Congressional Record

— CQ Now (@CQnow) July 15, 2016

— Manafort confirmed that Christie was “livid” he wasn’t picked. From the Weekly Standard’s John Mccormack: “While minding my own business at the Starbucks inside the Westin hotel this morning, I saw a man engage (Trump’s chairman) in conversation about the VP selection process. The man … suggested that Pence was a smart pick and Gingrich would’ve been a disaster. ‘Christie was livid, right?’ the man said at one point. ‘Yeah,’ Manafort replied.”

— New York Magazine, “Trump May Have Fired Corey Lewandowski, But He’s Still Taking His Advice,” by Gabriel Sherman: “Advisers and allies of Trump are increasingly concerned that ousted campaign-manager-turned-CNN-pundit Corey Lewandowski could play a wild-card role in Cleveland. Their principal worry: Lewandowski will give Trump hard-edged advice that goes against the campaign’s stated plan to soften and humanize the candidate. Although Trump fired Lewandowski last month, the power struggle between Lewandowski and … Manafort continues … Lewandowski is said to have lobbied hard for Trump to pick Christie for vice-president. Lewandowski’s enduring presence in Trump’s orbit is frustrating to allies like [Roger] Stone, who believe that Lewandowski doesn’t have the political experience to warrant his access to the candidate.”

THE DAILY DONALD: On the eve of any convention, media outlets tend to publish deep dives on the presumptive nominee. Here’s a sampling of the best stories in this vein that have popped in the past 24 hours: 

— “Trump doesn’t read much. Being president probably wouldn’t change that,” by Marc Fisher: “Presidents have different ways of preparing to make decisions. Some read deeply, some prefer to review short memos. … But Trump, poised to become the first major-party presidential nominee since Dwight Eisenhower who had not previously held elected office, appears to have an unusually light appetite for reading. He said in a series of interviews that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions ‘with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense.’ … Trump said he is skeptical of experts because ‘they can’t see the forest for the trees.’ He believes that when he makes decisions, people see that he instinctively knows the right thing to do: ‘A lot of people said, ‘Man, he was more accurate than guys who have studied it all the time.’”

— The New Yorker, “Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All,” by Jane Mayer:  Tony Schwartz ghostwrote Trump’s 1987 book “The Art of the Deal.” “The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. … [A]s Trump defied predictions by establishing himself as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Schwartz’s desire to set the record straight grew. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered. ‘I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.’ He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

“If he were writing ‘The Art of the Deal’ today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, ‘The Sociopath.’”

— Boston Globe, “Trump’s drive to surpass his father’s success,” by Matt Viser: “Fred Trump couldn’t understand it. His son Donald was building a new Manhattan skyscraper, and in the process blowing huge sums on exotic materials. … Donald’s glitzy vision for what would become Trump Tower was a dramatic departure in sensibility for the senior Trump, who built tens of thousands of middle-class apartments in Queens and Brooklyn using boring, solid brick. Fred Trump would tour the building site … finding fault and declaring, ‘You guys don’t know what you’re doing.’ Donald Trump ultimately prevailed. And the midtown Trump Tower stands as tribute to the son’s obsessions with glitz and showmanship, which can seem like a direct repudiation of his father’s determinedly practical approach to life.”

— Politico, “The Executive Mr. Trump,” by Michael Kruse: “Based on [many conversations] … the reality of Trump as an executive—his methods and his manner—bears little resemblance to the man viewers saw on (“The Apprentice”). Rather than magisterial and decisive, Trump the actual boss swings wildly between micromanaging meddler and can’t-be-bothered, broad-brush, big-picture thinker. He is both impulsive and intuitive, for better and for worse. He hires on gut instinct rather than qualifications; he listens to others, but not as much or as often as he listens to himself. He’s loyal—‘like, this great loyalty freak,’ as he once put it—except when he’s not. “He went from one kind of person to another,” says Barbara Res, who was his project manager on Trump Tower and later played an important role in the refurbishment of the Plaza Hotel under Trump. And what might surprise people most about Trump, Res said, is this: ‘He didn’t like firing people.’”

— BuzzFeed, “Confessions Of A Dishonest Slob: How The Haters Got Trump This Close To The White House,” by McKay Coppins: “Trump stood on a debate stage in downtown Detroit, surrounded by haters he was determined to dispatch: Liddle Marco to his right, Lyin’ Ted to his left … About 30 minutes into the debate, Kelly asked Trump to respond to a recent BuzzFeed News report about his position on immigration. ‘First of all, BuzzFeed?’ Trump said … ‘They were the ones that said under no circumstances will I run for president — and were they wrong.’ Trump was referring to a profile I’d written two years earlier in which I chronicled a couple of days spent inside the billionaire’s bubble and confidently concluded that his long-stated presidential aspirations were a sham. What had most struck me during my two days with Trump was his sad struggle to extract even an ounce of respect from a political establishment that plainly viewed him as a sideshow But what I didn’t realize at the time was that he’d felt this way for virtually his entire life — face pressed up against the window, longing for an invitation, burning with resentment, plotting his revenge.”

David Maraniss has written a hilarious piece about Trump’s affinity for one-syllable words – entirely in one-syllable words. (Read it here.)

Protesters march yesterday in Cleveland. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)


— Only one of Virginia’s eight Republican House members is coming to Cleveland: Rep. Rob Wittman, a 2017 gubernatorial candidate who got behind Trump only when his last rival dropped out, will attend to hob knob with activists. (Laura Vozzella)

— Trump punished Ohio delegates in their own state (because he lost the March 15 primary and Kasich is a holdout) by reassigning the delegation to a conspicuous spot in the back of the arena. It’s a breathtaking act of pique against a state that he needs to win the presidency. (Front Row at the Circus)

— It took an intervention by Priebus to stop Don King from speaking at the RNC. “Trump was told, no, it was not sensible to have … the flamboyant boxing promoter, address the Republican convention. But Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly boasted of having Mr. King’s support, kept pressing the matter. Finally, officials [including Priebus], firmly explained to Mr. Trump why Mr. King should not be invited: He once stomped a man to death and was convicted of manslaughter,” Jonathan Martin and Jeremy W. Peters report. “The party could not associate itself with someone convicted of a felony. Mr. Trump eventually relented. Mr. King, a Cleveland native, will not take the stage. But the exchange, relayed by three Republican strategists familiar with the conversations, highlights the difficulties that planners have had building a program for a presidential candidate who is as much an entertainer as a politician.”

— “She’s a lifelong Democrat who’s voting for Trump. And she’s Dennis Kucinich’s sister,” by Karen Tumulty in Cleveland: “For nearly her entire life, Teresa Sikorski has been active in Democratic politics, starting as a 12-year-old who overcame her shyness to knock on doors for her big brother’s Cleveland City Council race in 1966. He lost that time. But her brother Dennis Kucinich went on to become Cleveland’s mayor and congressman, a two-time presidential candidate and one of the most passionate liberal voices in the his party. This year, Sikorski and her husband, Marty, quietly changed their party registration to Republican so they could vote in Ohio’s GOP primary. Their choice: Donald Trump. Sikorski, 63 … remains a staunch supporter of her brother and the underdog causes for which he has fought. But the couple no longer sees the Democratic Party — or Washington, under the influence of monied interests — looking out for ordinary people. The whole system, they believe, should be kicked over. ‘I listened to everything he had to say. I understood it. I got it,’ Teresa Sikorski added. ‘Everybody else — they’re liars.’”

— Great essay: “One street in Cleveland tells the immigrants’ story,” by Mary Jordan: “In the 1970s, when I was growing up in Cleveland, the city had twice the national average of foreign-born people. Many worked in the steel mills along the river or in the giant Ford plant. … After Soviet tanks smashed the 1956 uprising in Hungary and refugees streamed out, it was often said that there were more Hungarians in Cleveland than anywhere outside Budapest. In fact, welcoming immigrants was how a politician got elected in those days. Ralph Perk was elected mayor of Cleveland in the 1970s three times, casting himself as the ‘ethnic candidate,’ the one to represent all the blue-collar workers from so many different faraway places. That was a winning slogan for the Republican. Now instead of from Europe, those coming are from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The jobs are more biomedical than blue-collar.”

— Priebus said Trump has “pivoted” away from his Muslim ban:  “If you have seen the last few weeks, his position that he’s put on the table in his position papers that are on his website and what he’s been talking about is a temporary ban of immigration from countries that harbor and train terrorists,” Priebus said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “There is no religious test on the table.”

— The RNC chair also announced a special Hispanic “engagement tour” aimed at shoring up support among Latinos — after the convention: “I know [Trump] is going to be doing a Hispanic engagement tour coming up soon,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “He is going to be talking about those issues. He understands we need to grow the party.” (Elise Viebeck)


— From our Post/ABC poll: 58 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with their choices in the election. 

  • Three-quarters of voters say Clinton is “too willing to bend the rules,” while 56 percent called Trump biased against women and minorities.
  • Independents lean toward Trump 47-41, while Clinton leads among moderates 52-36. Meanwhile, white voters with college degrees are evenly divided, with 43 percent for Trump and 42 percent for Clinton.

— Clinton topped Trump by 7 points (49-42) in a head-to-head CNN/ORC matchup. She leads him on likeability (43 percent to 39 percent) and experience (64 percent to 32 percent), while Trump has the advantage on the economy and terrorism.

— Clinton holds a 5-point national lead (46-41) in the new NBC/WSJ poll. (Janet Hook’s analysis)

— A new NBC/WSJ/Telemundo poll shows Clinton leads Trump 76 percent to 14 percent among Latinos. She is viewed positively by 64 percent of Latino voters, compared to 11 percent for Trump.

— Large majorities of Americans and Mexicans on BOTH sides of the border oppose building a wall dividing the two countries, according to a survey from Cronkite News/Univision/Dallas Morning News. 72 percent of Americans living near the southwestern border said they are against a border wall, while 86 percent in Mexico’s northernmost cities said the same. Both parties believe the tone of the presidential campaign is hurting U.S.-Mexican relations, with 59 percent of Americans and 69 percent of Mexicans agreeing.

— Nearly HALF of Republicans say their party has gone astray, according to a Morning Consult poll: 46 percent of Republicans said they think their party has “pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.” (40 percent said they believe it’s on the right track, and 14 percent don’t know or are undecided.)

  • Only 27 percent of voters 55-64 said they believe the party is on the right track. Meanwhile, that number doubles among voters between the ages of 30 and 44 (54 percent) who view the party in a more positive light.
  • Twothirds of Republicans believe the party is “stale.”
  • One in five Republican voters believe the Republican Party does not accurately represent their views.

 Clinton campaigns alongside Sen. Tim Kaine in Annandale, Virginia. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)


— “A liberal firebrand who could stoke the passions of the Democratic base. A Hispanic who could fire up one of the country’s fastest-growing population — and make history. Someone with governing experience who might also help with a key group where Demo­crats lag: white men.” From John Wagner, Abby Phillip and Ed O’Keefe: “With less than a week to go before Clinton is expected to select a running mate, these are among her choices. She has focused intensely on the task in recent days … And she is looking for the best partner in the White House more than the best campaign asset, they said. So while her highly anticipated announcement could telegraph crucial electoral calculations, it may signal even more how she plans to run the presidency.” Clinton’s pick could also reveal something about how she wants to be viewed. Others say relationship is key: “For her, it may literally be a matter of who she wants to work with,” said veteran Democratic operative Joe Trippi.

— V.P. contender Tom Vilsack compared Trump to Bernie Madoff: “He is selling something that people don’t fully understand and appreciate what it actually means.” (NBC)

— A West Virginia lawmaker says he regrets tweeting that Clinton should be “hung on the mall in Washington, D.C.” as punishment for her private email server. “But Michael Folk, a member of West Virginia’s House of Delegates, said he still believes Clinton should be tried for treason after an FBI investigation determined she handled classified information on the server,” CNN reports.

Mourners carry the body of Mehmet Agabey, who was killed in the thwarted coup, during a memorial service at a mosque in Istanbul yesterday. (Ammar Awad/Reuters) 


— Turkish authorities fired 8,000 police officers today, raising fears of an “all out purge” of President Recep Erdogan’s dissenters as he continues to concentrate power. Arrest warrants have also been issued for at least 2,745 judges and prosecutors across the country. (Hugh Naylor and Erin Cunningham)

As many as 3,000 Turkish members of the military have also been detained: “Among those arrested was the commander at Incirlik Air Base, which is used by U.S. forces to launch raids against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria … The base is a major NATO installation hosting U.S. forces that control a stockpile of nuclear weapons.”

— John Kerry this morning urged the Turks to uphold democratic principles as it goes after the alleged plotters.

Pro-Erdogan demonstrators wave Turkish flags in Istanbul’s Taksim Square last night. (Ozan Koseozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)


— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Over the weekend, our analytics partners at Zignal Labs tracked more than 200,000 mentions of the Republican convention online. Here were the most discussed topics among those writing and tweeting about the convention:

Mentions spiked when it was announced that Scott Baio – who played Chachi on “Happy Days” – will speak in Cleveland. “I actually was at a fundraiser for Mr. Trump the other night with my wife, and he invited me to speak at the convention, which was completely unexpected and out of left field,” Baio explained on Fox News.

The most popular RNC-related Tweet of the weekend came from Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau, who highlighted this awkward sign in the convention hall:

Spotted at the #RNCinCLE. I’m told it’s being replaced for obvious reasons.

— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) July 16, 2016

More sights from Cleveland:

The only thing to expect at #RNCinCLE…. IS THE UNEXPECTED @daytondailynews

— Matthew J. Pagano (@mjp4liberty) July 17, 2016

From a CNN reporter:

“Welcome to Beruit” ~~ My cab driver as he drops me off near the barricaded convention center in downtown Cleveland

— Maeve Reston (@MaeveReston) July 17, 2016

Spotted on the floor of the RNC: @StephenAtHome reprising his Hunger Games parody role (complete w/ stuffed ferret):

— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) July 17, 2016

PIC: Donald J. Trump portrait in RNC official Republican National Convention guide

— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) July 17, 2016

Donald Trump won’t be happy: the umbrellas inside #RNCinCLE swag bags are MADE IN CHINA.

— Dave Levinthal (@davelevinthal) July 17, 2016

A joke from our colleague, Wes Lowery:

Trump switched his campaign logo from this:

To this:

After the former image became a target for off-color jokes online.

Samantha Bee’s gif illustrates the unintentional humor (click to watch):

Breaking the mattress of America.

— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) July 15, 2016

Political Twitter had plenty to say:

What is the T doing to that P?

— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 15, 2016

This logo accurately represents what Trump Pence will do to America.

— Rep. Alan Grayson (@AlanGrayson) July 15, 2016

It was a one night stand for the T in the P logo.

— andrew kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) July 16, 2016

Trump/Pence logo is protected speech under both the 1st Amendment as well as the SCOTUS decision Lawrence v. Texas.

— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) July 15, 2016

ACTUALLY, it’s a sheriff’s badge.

— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) July 15, 2016

A flashback to Pence’s literature for a failed 1988 House campaign:


— Jose A. DelReal (@jdelreal) July 15, 2016

Many are making fun of the Melania Trump biography that the RNC sent out: 

Long Melania Trump bio on RNC page mentions her “ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ.”

— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) July 17, 2016

Trump’s official bio notes that he had lunch at the Pentagon … in 1996.

Got lunch in 1996 at the Pentagon.

— (((Ron Kampeas))) (@kampeas) July 17, 2016

The California delegation in Cleveland is staying 60 miles — yes, 60 miles — from the city:

This @sacbee_news lede on the California delegation’s far-flung Cleveland digs is 👌

— Sam Brodey (@sambrodey) July 17, 2016

(The Plain Dealer has maps of where every delegation is sitting here.)

Carl Paladino brings new meaning to the term “hyperbole”:

Carl Paladino, in an interview with PBS Newshour, says that Trump’s candidacy is the “second American Revolution.”

— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) July 17, 2016

A blast from GOP conventions past:

This is 3rd GOP convention in Cleveland. Last time didn’t go so well: Alf Landon was nominated in 1936

— Charlie Mahtesian (@PoliticoCharlie) July 17, 2016

House Republicans drew  criticism for this selfie of an almost exclusively white 2016 intern class, which starkly highlights the party’s diversity problem.

Here’s Kevin McCarthy with Lynyrd Skynyrd:

Finally, a shot capturing a gorgeous D.C. night sky over the Nats game:


On the campaign trail: Republicans kick off their convention with a day focused on national security, including speeches by retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jason Beardsley of Concerned Veterans for America and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.).

Clinton is at the NAACP Convention in Cincinnati and the American Federation of Teachers Convention in Minneapolis.

At the White House: Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Charles Kettles, U.S. Army. Joe Biden is in Australia.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.


“I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.” — Trump on “60 Minutes” 


— Another day of humidity to kick off the week. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “It’s a steamy one. Under a mix of sun and clouds, highs head for the mid-90s, but humidity is up noticeably compared with the weekend. The combination of heat and humidity makes it feel close to 100 at times this afternoon.

— The Nationals lost to the Pirates 2-1.

— A Baltimore rape suspect who took four people – including a seven-year-old girl — hostage at gunpoint in a Burger King surrendered after a dramatic, five-hour negotiation with police. (Peter Hermann)


In 1964, Lyndon Johnson ran an ad called “Confessions of a Republican” that gave voice to fears about Barry Goldwater being rash and impulsive. The Clinton campaign tracked down the same guy, Bill Bogert, and got him to make the same case about Trump. Watch the 1-minute web video:

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If you missed it on Saturday, here’s a 3-minute highlight reel from the Trump-Pence announcement event:

Seth Meyers previewed the RNC:

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Stephen Colbert wrapped up the week in politics:

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Here are clips from Colbert’s time on the convention floor yesterday:

John Oliver offered a few endorsements in the spirit of the season:

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Gay Talese, his credibility damaged, defended his journalistic integrity on Seth Meyers’s show. “Talese now says reports about flaws in his new book are themselves flawed,” Paul Farhi reports. “In interviews to promote ‘The Voyeur’s Motel’ over the past week, Talese has defended his reporting about his subject, Gerald Foos, who said he spied on guests of his Colorado motel from an attic perch for decades. Talese initially disavowed the non-fiction book amid questions about an eight-year gap in Foos’ ownership of the motel during the 1980s. But he then reversed himself, saying he had over-reacted when he first learned about the ownership gap late last month. … Talese’s pushback comes as new questions concerning the veracity of ‘The Voyeur’s Motel’ have come to light.”

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Finally, in honor of the Apollo 11 lunar landing anniversary this week, check out these rare panoramas and gifs from the mission

… And this video of Buzz Aldrin punching a moon landing denier who was harassing him (hat tip to David Frum):

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