Excerpt from NBC News:
Haynes said he made no such promise to the Trump campaign (to appoint Trump-selected delegates) — “I’m not in the business of cutting deals.”
He said the Tennessee GOP bylaws only require that the executive committee take into consideration the campaigns’ proposed delegates, but ultimately they have final say over the 14 at-large delegates.
“What we try and do is we also try and recognize individuals that have done exemplary work for candidates, or dedicated a lot of their time and energy to pushing back on liberal policies. We try to make sure they get an opportunity to go to Cleveland and participate in the party process,” he said.
Haynes noted that the delegates proposed by the executive committee are voted on as a full slate, and so the committee must take into account whether the slate can pass. He pointed to one of Trump’s proposed delegates — Mark Winslow, who sued the Tennessee Republican Party three years ago — as an example of a delegate who wouldn’t pass muster with the full committee.
But (Trump senior advisor Dan) Scavino’s tweet, and a warning sent out by (Darren) Morris (Trump Tennessee campaign manager) on Friday night, activated an impassioned network of Trump supporters in Tennessee, many of whom showed up to the meeting bearing signs pledging their support for Trump. Videos tweeted from inside the gathering showed an at times contentious meeting, with members shouting over one another.
The Tennessee GOP hired extra security for the meeting because of a number of threats sent by Trump supporters on social media. And Haynes said his cell phone was flooded with calls from angry Trump supporters, to the point that he now has to get a new phone.
He suggested the act was one of “intimidation.”
“That’s not something we would do to any of our campaigns. We’re not in the business of trying to harass or intimidate anyone here at the Tennessee Republican Party — we’re in the process of putting forward solutions to our nation’s problems,” Haynes said.
The Trump campaign dismissed those charges, with Trump Senior Adviser Barry Bennett saying the backlash should come as no surprise.
“They changed the slate last-minute — they shouldn’t be surprised that the public’s angry,” he said.
But Trump himself indicated he was happy with at least one of the delegates he was appointed at the state executive committee meeting on Saturday, tweeting out his satisfaction.
“Great honor to have @GOP General Counsel, #JohnRyder as a Trump delegate in TN. RNC meeting well worth it! Unifying the party.” Ryder, of Memphis, is Tennessee’s National Republican committeman as well as general counsel to the RNC.
Gov. Bill Haslam, who has been a bit critical of Trump, was designated as a Rubio delegate.
You would think, under these circumstances, that the Trump Tennessee organization would find it in their best interest to maintain at least a healthy working relationship with the Tennessee GOP. But then, if you thought that, you would be unfamiliar with Trump supporters in general. Instead, they have been publicly insulting Tennessee GOP members and basically taunting them over Trump’s victory.