Day 3 notes on TN delegates at GOP convention

Excerpts from today’s edition of former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe’s “Delegate Diary” at the Republican National Convention:

(Donald) Trump Jr.’s appearance and presentation is very different from his father as was demonstrated in his speech Tuesday night to the convention. In fact, if he were the candidate I suspect 65 percent of the misgivings and doubts many have about his father would vanish. He is that good.

The father of five and articulate, Trump Jr. talked about ‘streamlining the system and getting rid of the hangers-on and nonsense.” He said his father is “the most famous man in the world who so few know.”

… Knoxvillians Jimmy and Dee Haslam hosted a luncheon Wednesday for the nation’s Republican governors and large donors to the Republican Governors Association at their large home on Lake Erie east of Cleveland. Twenty governors attended, including Gov. Haslam and Pence, who pledged that “federalism” would be a hallmark of a Trump administration, according to sources.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was not present, although Jimmy Haslam had been a donor to his presidential campaign.

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd of Knoxville, who is being mentioned as a possible 2018 candidate for governor, attended the luncheon as well as a delegation breakfast at the Radission. Boyd, who is sponsoring a luncheon for the delegates on Thursday, said he backs Trump for president.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee delegation and alternates attended a luncheon at Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which featured speeches by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and four members of the state’s congressional members — Phil Roe, Marsha Blackburn, Chuck Fleishmann and Scott DesJarlais.

Roe: No more ‘fingernails on the chalkboard’
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe tells the Kingsport Times-News that Melania Trump’s speech and the subsequent accusation of plagiarism was a non-story.

“The reason I think it’s a non-story is the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, was accused of the same thing 20-25 years ago,” Roe pointed out. “It’s interesting the media will focus on that. If (plagiarism) happened, the speech writer was silly. You people in the media are too good. Anybody ought to know that. That’s not the story. The story is Donald Trump is going to be nominated as the Republican nominee as president of the United States and has been nominated.

“That’s the story. I think he’s trying to show another side of himself. He’s certainly shown one side like fingernails on a chalkboard, but he’s trying to show another side that he has a wonderful family.”

TN Pence praise
Not all Tennessee delegates stuck around for Mike Pence’s late evening speech, reports the Tennessean, but those who did mostly had good things to say about vice presidential nominee’s remarks:

In a style that cast a stark contrast to the fiery rhetoric of Trump, Pence’s self-effacing demeanor and focus on conservative tenets rang home with Nashville Trump delegate Betty Cannon.

“I thought it was fantastic. I think from all the points he covered in his speech, that they’re going to be a wonderful team,” Cannon said.

“There were three words: I believe it was ‘I’ll pray daily.’ And I think anyone that will pray daily will do the right thing for this country.”

While some delegations stood for the entirety of Pence’s speech, or jumped to their feet every time he bashed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Tennessee delegates were a little more subdued. The majority of delegates rose 14 times for standing ovations, while some delegates didn’t stand at all.

The late hour — the speech didn’t wrap up until after 11 p.m. — may have also contributed to the fact that at one point, more than 20 seats in the Tennessee delegation were empty as Pence addressed the convention.

For Edward Phillips Jr., a Cruz delegate from Rutherford County, Pence’s speech and nomination helped shore up the party’s base.

“I think he did a good job. He’s certainly one that would bring the conservatives into the fold”

…Charlotte Bergman, a Trump delegate from Germantown in West Tennessee, was not as impressed.

“It was OK. He’s the one that will compliment Mr. Trump,” Bergman said.

Bergman won’t need to wait much longer to see the main act: Trump, who took the stage briefly to shake hands with Pence, will address the nation Thursday night.

A squabble over seating
Jackson Baker has a rundown on a “behind-the-scenes drama” within the Tennessee delegation, involving four Shelby County delegates, that indicates tensions remain between Trump delegates and Ted Cruz delegates. Involved were Ted Cruz delegates Mike Wright of Bartlett and Lynn Moss of Memphis along with Trump delegates Terry Roland of Millington and Charlotte Bergman of Germantown.

Seems there was a dispute over Wright giving up his seat on the convention floor so delegation chairman Sen. Mae Beavers could sit closer to the microphone, though he eventually did so. Still, the discussions led to a Wright posting on his Facebook that included a short video of Roland and declaring, in part:

“For the second day in a row, they wanted to move me out of range for voicing an objection. This video is proof both that the RNC was asked to rule on their plan and that I was being bullied out of my seat again. This is not unity; this is not how you win people over to your side.”

The posting has since been deleted.