Pay Heed Or Else: The Ethics Fiasco That Was The GOP-Trump Convention’s First Day

GOP convention

Just think: this was what having Donald Trump at the center and calling the shots did to a convention and a political party in a single day.

Imagine what can happen to  the country in four years..

Here are examples of what Trump’s leadership, values and “best people” bring, as illustrated by Day #1 at the 2106 Republican National Convention:

  • Before the evening program commenced, a rebellion of anti-Trump delegates (they wanted to pass a rule unbinding the delegates so they could, you know, vote to nominate someone qualified, at least comparatively) was suppressed with y strong-arm tactics by the Trump-controlled leadership, which blocked an attempt to require a roll call. At one point the podium was abandoned to stallthe uprising, leaving the session without a moderator. Conservative pundit and Weekly Standard publisher Bill Kristol said the proceedings resembled the strong-arm tactics of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The clash resulted in the entire delegations from Utah and Colorado walking out, and reportedly they are both gone for good. The episode might not have descended into totalitarian territory had not Speaker Paul Ryan, who normally would have had the gavel, chosen to organize his sock drawer rather than attend the convention and fight for the integrity and honor of the party he is supposed to lead.

Brave, Mr. Speaker.

  • In the aftermath of this mess, Gary Emineth, a top GOP fundraiser who had joined the Trump campaign resigned in protest,  texting his resignation to RNC chair Reince Priebus.  “I was on the Trump finance committee and I just resigned because that bully tactic is absurd,” Emineth told reporters. “Why can’t the people be heard? …You don’t do this in America. You do this in other countries.”
  • It was discovered that washed-up and aging former teen heart-throb Scott Baio (“Happy Days,” “Charles in Charge,” and my personal favorite, the desperate, pathetic, self-flagellating reality show, ” Scott Baio Is 45…and Single” ) who inexplicably was one of the speakers last night (David Cassidy was apparently unavailable), had posted this on twitter:

Baio tweet

Stay classy, Chachi!  (See: “A Nation of Assholes,” 9/10/15)

A nation that regards the political views of Scott Baio as worthy of a national forum is too crude and trivial to survive, I fear.

  • Speaking of assholes, Donald Trump himself called Bill O’Reilly on the air at Fox while the convention program was going on to rant about Ohio Gov. John Kasich skipping the convention (a fair word would be “boycotting”), to slam Black Lives Matter, and to offer this trenchant and nuanced commentary regarding recent attacks on police, saying:

“When you see something like that taking place, that’s really a threat, if you think about it and when you see something like that taking place, we are going to have to, perhaps, talk with the attorney general about it or do something, but, at a minimum, we’re going to have to be watching. Because that’s really bad stuff and it’’s happened more than once.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Well, at least not if I was 7, drunk, and suffering from a recent closed head injury….

  • As a stage director, event planner and the writer of various live programs, I learned early that the first scene, musical number or speaker is crucial, raising (or shattering) the expectations of the audience and establishing a tone for the entire show or event. So who was the crucial first speaker last night? Why, reality TV star Willie Robertson, of the homophobic “Duck Dynasty” clan, of course!

In his Churchillian speech, Robertson said,

I always said me and Mr. Trump have three things in common: We’re both successful businessmen, although I flew here commercial and I’m guessing he didn’t. We both had hit television shows. And we both have intelligent wives who are much better looking than we are. Are you cheering because we’re ugly? … It’s been a rough year for media experts. It must be humbling to be so wrong about so much for so long. But I have a theory about how they missed the Trump Train. They don’t hang out with regular folks like us, who like to hunt and fish and pray and actually work for a living.

Stay grammatical, Willie!

  • Donald Trump trophy wife Melania Trump addressed the convention by plagiarizing a chunk of Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech to the Democratic National Convention! She really did! Here is the section of Michelle’s speech…parallel sections are in pink, exact wording repeats in red…

“… Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

…and here is Melania, who boasted about how she labored over the speech herself, and did not rely entirely on speechwriters.

“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the valuesthat you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect.They taught and showed me morals in their daily life. That is the lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to many generations to follow because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

  • Following this obvious, undeniable plagiarism that would have demanded an “F” on any public school term paper, America  got a preview of how a Trump administration would handle scandals and evidence of wrongdoing: pretty much the same way the Obama Administration does and a Hillary Clinton administration will—deny, deny, deny, even in the face of the undeniable. This  morning on CNN’s “New Day,” Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort categorically denied that Melania Trump’s speech had been lifted in any way from remarks by the First Lady or anyone else.

Well, now we know that he’s a liar; that’s useful information.

Manafort told CNN,

“I mean, she was speaking in front of 35 million people last night. She knew that. To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy. This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It’s not going to work.”

Paul, me lad, that would be a ridiculous defense (“How can anyone think she would be so stupid as to do what she obviously did?“) even if it wasn’t for the fact that any fifth grade teacher could tell THAT was a rip-off. I hope Trump pays you well to embarrass yourself and make your kids hide their head under paper bags in shame.

Next, Trump campaign senior communications adviser Jason Miller released a fog-stream in a statement to the press that said, “Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking.”

Ah! She was inspired by Michelle Obama! How stupid do these people think we are? (They know how stupid the Trump supporters are.)

  • Finally, Chris Christie continued his debasement tour.

“Today” anchor Matt Lauer asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie if he, as a former prosecutor, could “make a case for plagiarism.” Christie said “no,” lying through his teeth, for anyone could make an airtight case for plagiarism when tow speeches match like that, and then added,  “Listen, Matt, the worst day of a convention is the first day because everyone’s building up to it and everybody gets breathless, both the delegates and the media, about something to cover and a controversy to talk about. I think after tonight we won’t be talking about this, we’ll move on to whatever comes up tonight.”

In other words, “Look over there!”

  • Then Hillary-Fury Pat Smith, whose son was killed in the Benghazi attack, was allowed to use the convention podium for reality TV grief porn.  Fortunately, because Chachi and the Duck Dynasty guy had already lowered the dignity of the proceedings below the level of “Pants Off Dance Off,” Smith couldn’t lower it further. She exclaimed,

“I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son — that’s personally. …When I saw Hillary Clinton at Sean’s coffin ceremony, she looked me squarely in the eye and told me a video was responsible. Since then I have repeatedly asked Hillary Clinton to explain to me the real reason why my son is dead. I’m still waiting. Whenever I call the State Department, no one would speak to me; they say I am not a member of the immediate family. Sean is my son. Hillary Clinton is a woman, a mother, and grandmother of two. I am a woman, a mother and a grandmother of two. How could she do this to me?”

Mothers, fathers, wives, and children are never unbiased observers, and using them—that’s using them—to tug on the heart-strings and bypass reason to inflame emotions is an irresponsible and despicable tactic. Will the Democrats sink this low and feature various angry and grieving loved ones of the victims in police-involved shootings? My hope is that they will not, but Trump is going to lower all values and standards across the culture, so we can’t be sure.  Observed Steve Schmidt, a GOP strategist, on MSNBC: “What we’re seeing tonight is the weaponization of grief.”

True, but I don’t want to hear that objection from the news media, which has used the tears and anger of African-Americans condemning police as racist murderers to frame every single police-involved death for three years now.

So looking forward to Day #2…


Sources: WKYCThe Hill, TPM, Politico 1, Politico 2, Deadline

17 thoughts on “Pay Heed Or Else: The Ethics Fiasco That Was The GOP-Trump Convention’s First Day

  1. Trump and now the entire Trump’lican Party is using the same political tactics that the Democratic Party has been using for years, the difference is that Trump and the Trump’lican Party is feeding those same morally bankrupt tactics with a continuous IV stream of media induced invincibility and they are steam rolling over all opposition.

    To Trump and the Trump’lican Party no news about them is bad news if it puts them front an center in the political arena.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the Republican Party is DONE!

    Side Note: If the Democratic Party, Progressives and Liberals don’t get their collective shit together, the Trump’lican Party will steam roll right over them.

  2. I’m glad I’m out of the country and seven time zones ahead of Cleveland. Thanks for the witty but thorough report.

    By the way, my fifth grade teacher was a brilliant and wonderful, wonderful woman. My favorite teacher of twenty years of formal education.

  3. “because Chachi and the Duck Dynasty guy had already lowered the dignity of the proceedings below the level of “Pants Off Dance Off,””

    I’m disappointed, I expected the link to be to the Libertarian candidate who danced in his underwear at the podium.

  4. Manaforte’s denial and then blaming Clinton for making the plagiarism a story was truly surreal. These people would spit in your face and then blame Clinton for the rain.

  5. Would it surprise anyone if the the entire delegations from Utah and Colorado ended up protesting outside the convention arena today?

    What I’d like to see is anyone in the convention crowd opposed to Trump’s nomination (including the delegations from Utah and Colorado) turn their back to the podium for the rest of the convention in protest and refuse to cast any vote if it has to be for Trump. This will show the people of the United States two things; first that the Republican Party is NOT unified, no matter what the Trump’lican’s say; and second that it’s patriotically acceptable to publicly oppose Trump regardless of the fact that he’s the “Republican” Party nominee.

  6. “So who was the crucial first speaker last night? Why, reality TV star Willie Robertson, of the homophobic “Duck Dynasty” clan, of course!”

    My (vocalized- I startled the cats!) reaction was “Aw, c’mon, no…really?WHAT!?” Not that you’d ever pull one over on your readers, Jack, but at first I couldn’t take it in- having Willie Robertson as the first speaker of the night at the Republican National Convention is just unbelievable. Japanese news only covered the plagiarism issue last night, none of the speakers were mentioned (probably because both are utterly unknown here) . Color me flabbergasted.

    This is just a pig circus. it’s beyond awful.

  7. Thanks, Jack. I couldn’t bear to watch it, and your summary only confirmed my decision (or supported my cowardice): my head would have exploded. You saved a life today…

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