Mayhem breaks out at RNC after party ignores last-minute attempt to change convention rules
The GOP ignored a group seeking to change the rules for the Republican National Convention’s presidential nominating process, which said it has enough signatures to force a vote on the matter.
A majority of delegates from ten states sought to demand a floor vote over convention rules on Monday afternoon, according to Delegates Unbound, the group organizing the rebellion.
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“Despite every obstacle thrown in our way, the movement of all the stakeholders involved in this effort have gained a majority of the delegates in 10 states," said M. Dane Waters, co-founder of Delegates Unbound, in a statement. "Now we take this fight to the floor."
The vote was less about preventing Trump from becoming the official nominee, and was more about upending the convention planning and forcing the party establishment to recognize that all is not well.
“There is no convention, the highest authority of the Republican Party, until the delegates arrive and effectively create it,” Delegates Unbound said in a statement. “In the same way one Congress cannot bind a future Congress to adopt certain policies or programs, it defies all sense to suggest that the convention that creates and governs the Republican Party can somehow be bound by rules established by a previous convention."
There were three major rule changes that the group sought, the Washington Examiner reported: Unbinding delegates, creating incentives for states to hold closed primaries by awarding a delegate bonus, and undoing a new rule that gives party leadership total control over information about and among future rules committees.
"What I want is for the delegates' voice to be heard on the floor," Iowa delegate and Rules Committee member Marlys Popma told the Examiner’s Timothy P. Carney. "These are smart people on the floor. The majority of these people are conservatives. In the Rules Committee, conservatives were shut down."
In an unusual move, convention chair Reince Preibus left the stage during the attempted revolt. The convention secretary also went missing.
Rebel delegates tell me convention secretary in hiding to avoid being presented with petitions for counter rules proposal.— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) July 18, 2016
The party appears to have ignored the revolt, much to the dismay of the group’s leaders.
“People can be unheard anywhere… they don’t travel thousands of miles to be unheard at their party’s convention,” Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) told CNN after Representative Steve Womack (R-Arkansas), who was presiding over the convention, ignored the request for a floor vote.
Floor shouts down anti-Trump motion for a roll call. #GOPinCLE#RNCinCLEpic.twitter.com/pdnB5e1yZG— Nebojsa Malic (@NebojsaMalic) July 18, 2016
Stop Trump protesters booed the attempt and chanted for a floor vote. The voice vote was redone, and mayhem broke out when Womack announced, “In the opinion of the chair, the ‘ayes’ have it.”
A total of nine states requested a roll-call vote, but there were three withdrawals, which forced three states to fall below the threshold, and the attempt at a roll-call vote also failed, Womack said. Seven states were needed to force the roll call.
“The chair has found insufficient support for the request for a recorded vote,” he said.
BREAKING: An updated list of state delegates opposing #Trump at #RNCinCLE LIVE UPDATES: https://t.co/itc5iBhAbjpic.twitter.com/6mPq5lpH7L— RT America (@RT_America) July 18, 2016
The convention chair is refusing to announce which three states changed their votes, causing the attempt to force a roll-call vote to fail, the Washington Examiner's Joel Gehrke reported.
"There's nowhere to appeal," former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who served as the whip for the revolt, told Politico.
"It's certainly disrespectful of the grassroots," he said. "You win races with people, you lose races with people."
After the failed rebellion, Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) took to the state to discuss the party's platform.
For half an hour after Womack's announcement, delegates were still in the convention hall, chanting: "We want a vote!"
The Never Trump Political Action Committee expressed their dismay at how the vote was handled.
"There is no excuse for strong arming delegates and skirting the riles to silence these members of the party," the PAC said in a statement. "The convention exists for a reason, and to ignore the will of the delegates in order to preserve a false sense of support for Donald Trump will do even more harm to the party and this week's proceedings."
#NeverTrump Statement on Convention Rules Vote— #NeverTrump (@NeverTrumpPAC) Jul 18 2016