Windup TN notes on GOP national convention

Press release from TNGOP
CLEVELAND, Ohio-July 21, 2016–The Tennessee Republican Party released the following statement from Chairman Ryan Haynes regarding the conclusion of the 2016 Republican National Convention:

“While 2016 has showcased the passions within our Party, it only serves as evidence of how ready we are to get to work. Congressman Marsha Blackburn clearly and concisely laid out what’s at stake. With delegates voting to name Donald Trump and Mike Pence the Republican nominees for President and Vice President, all of us are ready to get to work and do everything possible to defeat Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in November.”

“This has been an incredibly successful week for the Republican Party. For Tennessee, our delegation came together with the objective of uniting—and we did. One thing that struck me is how all of us want to believe this nation can continue its exceptional run of the last 240 years as a beacon of opportunity, hope, and stability in an uncertain world. We’re the Party that can turn that belief into a reality. That’s the message the Tennessee Republican Party will be engaging voters with this fall.”

TN talk on Trump and NATO
By the Associated Press
Tennessee Republican National Convention delegate Victor Ashe, a former ambassador to Poland, says he hopes Donald Trump clarifies a suggestion that the U.S. might abandon its NATO military commitments if he were elected president.

Trump told The New York Times that he would review allies’ financial contributions before acting under NATO’s mutual defense clause, if any of the countries were attacked by Russia.

Ashe says he hopes Trump will reiterate strong support for the nation’s NATO treaty obligations. He says they are “an important component of our European alliance” and as binding on a president as a law.

Sen. Bob Corker, a Trump supporter and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, says Trump was only expressing exasperation that the U.S. plays an outsized role in the protection of NATO allies.

On the same subject, the Times-Free Press quotes U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as defending Trump.

Trump, the congressman said, is “trying to make this a true alliance” and noted the U.S. is the only NATO member to spend more than 3 percent of its GDP on military spending.

“America always tends to be there when countries are in need, and I think he is just making the point that NATO needs to be there with America,” DesJarlais said. “These countries have to do a better job of fulfilling their obligation.”

Praise for Trump’s speech
The Tennessean has quotes from TN delegates praising Trump’s speech:

“That’s what I was waiting on all week. The final climax is to hear where he’s going to take us and I think he’s got the people to follow,” said state Sen. Bill Ketron, a Trump delegate from Murfreesboro.

During Trump’s 1 hour and 15 minute speech, which included promises to clamp down on illegal immigration and referenced the 2015 shooting in Chattanooga as evidence the country isn’t as safe as before, Terry Roland rarely sat. Shouting “Amen!” and fist-bumping with the delegates around him, Roland heard exactly the message he’d traveled more than 700 miles to take in.

“Awesome, great speech. He didn’t discriminate against anybody, didn’t say anything bad,” Roland said.

In the wake of the inter-party squabble related to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’ refusal to endorse, delegates could have remained upset. While Tennessee delegates were a little more subdued than other delegations — there were a few yawns as the speech stretched past 11:30 p.m. — they rallied around the balloons and confetti coupled with Trump’s message.

“Honestly, I believe this man is going to change America. And I have no confidence that Hillary Clinton will change anything. It will be business as usual with her. I really believe this man,” said Susan Richardson Williams of Knoxville.

Blackburn’s speech
U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn devoted her convention floor speech to bashing Hillary Clinton and evoking Abraham Lincoln to outline why Donald Trump should become president, reports the Tennessean.

“We are in desperate need of true leadership and unity. The last eight years have been a challenge, to our national and household budgets, our Constitution, to the men and women who give their lives and their sacred honor to protect that constitution and to protect us,” Blackburn said.

“We know that Donald Trump is a leader who has seen challenges, he’s learned lessons, solved problems, he has delivered results. Some of our nation’s greatest leaders have been people who have worked in the real world, who know firsthand how cumbersome rules and unnecessary regulations get in the way of greatness. I want a president who knows that leadership is not as it appears, but is as it performs.”

…Blackburn shouted out to the Tennessee delegation to begin the speech. There were a few seats empty, but the delegation’s area was far more crowded than in days past. Some delegates also stood for the entirety of the speech, something that didn’t happen any other time during the week.

Members waved signs that played on a theme from the Clinton campaign, displaying “I’m with her,” a red line through her and “Marsha” written below it.