Tension between Kasich and Trump boils over during convention –
By Patricia Beech –
Adams County Commissioner Stephen Caraway traveled to Cleveland earlier this week as an Ohio delegate to the Republican National Convention. Caraway was on the convention floor Tuesday night when Donald Trump officially clinched the GOP nomination for President of the United States – the first non-politician to receive the nomination since former president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“I grew up in Republican politics and never thought I would have the opportunity to attend the national convention,” Caraway said. “ As the youngest County Commissioner in Ohio, I often get to speak to younger people interested in party politics and give them pointers on how to get involved in public service – after all, I truly believe it is about the people,not the politics.”
Ironically, as the state’s youngest County Commissioner, Caraway brought more political experience to the convention floor than the GOP’s nominee. Trump’s lack of governing experience and his frequent inflammatory outbursts left many of Ohio’s delegates unhappy with their party’s choice. In a survey conducted by the Columbus Dispatch “more than one in five – 22 percent – said they will not vote for Trump, and fewer than three-fourths of the Ohio delegation say Trump will win in November. Perhaps even more stunning, 85 percent said Trump was “not the best possible” candidate to head the GOP ticket.” Ohio Republicans had 66 delegates and 66 alternates at the convention.
The Ohio Republican Party required its delegates to be bound to Governor Kasich for the first and second round of voting since he won the state. Caraway said he expected to see a unified front in support of Trump as the voting continued. “As you know, I was a strong supporter of Governor Kasich in the primary. I have the greatest respect for our Governor and wanted nothing more than to see him take his leadership skills to Washington and to fix our very broken federal government. With that said, primary elections are “family battles” and Donald Trump won – fair and square. Some people may be uncomfortable with Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, and at times, I have been also. I believed that the party leaders would stand behind Mr. Trump and his new running-mate, Governor Pence.”
However, the spirit of good will between Ohio’s delegation and the Trump team was severely strained Monday when Trump’s top adviser, Paul Manafort, accused Kasich of being “petulant” and “embarrassing his party in Ohio” by refusing to endorse the party’s unconventional standard-bearer. Kasich is not alone in his refusal to endorse Trump. Several elected Republican officials are also withholding their endorsements. Few, however, share Kasich’s unique position as the popular two-term governor of the swing state that has been the premier predictor of presidential election outcomes since 1896.
According to various news outlets, the rift between the Governor and Trump left Ohio’s delegation consigned to a second-fiddle spot at their own state’s convention. Speculation before the convention focused primarily on outside protests and the presumptive nominee inside the Quicken Loans Arena. No one knew what to expect from either the protesters or Trump. What did Caraway expect to see during those four days in Cleveland?
“With this being my first convention, I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Caraway. “However, I was sure there would be protests. After all, one of the great things about our wonderful country is that all of us have the ability to protest in a peaceful manner – and I hoped it would remain peaceful.”
According to Caraway, security was extremely tight and several roads were blocked by barriers in an effort to keep everyone safe. “From the Secret Service and other federal law enforcement agencies to the State Patrol and other departments from all across the state – I knew that our delegation was in good hands,” he said.
Look for a further report on Caraway and the RNC in the July 27 edition of The People’s Defender.