Anti-Trump forces make-last ditch effort
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Delegates hoping to upend Donald Trump’s nomination are attempting a last-gasp effort to fight back as the Republican National Convention kicks off on Monday.
A group of anti-Trump delegates submitted signatures to try to force a vote on the rules of the convention — a procedure normally done quickly at the start of each convention.
The move is an attempt to allow Trump opponents a platform to argue against the presumptive nominee and the Republican National Committee, who have worked together to stamp down any move to somehow block the billionaire from winning the nomination.
The rules package maintains that delegates must remain bound to their particular candidate and cannot vote their “conscience,” which in theory could mean Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot.
Should a roll call vote be allowed, it could happen around 4 p.m.
Trump aides and RNC staff are currently working to strip signatures from the submissions that would deny anti-Trump delegates the signatures they need for a vote, said top Trump delegate wrangler Rick Gates.
Staffers could be seen fanning across the floor, pulling aside delegates and coordinating their counter-efforts, and Gates said he is confident they can repeat their success last week when the Rules Committee met and blocked efforts to unbind the delegates.
“Our goal is to destroy them,” Gates said.
RNC leaders are also confident they will pass the rules if a vote occurs.
“We will do one and they will lose big time,” New Hampshire Committeeman Steve Duprey said when asked what happens if the signatures to force a vote are valid. “I hope they do so we can whack them one more time.”
Former New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey delivered signatures from delegates attempting to force the vote Monday afternoon shortly after the convention officially began.
Some drama played out as Humphrey darted across the convention floor looking for the Republican Party secretary to formally collect them. Humphrey worried that Trump and the Republican National Committee were running out the clock on their last-ditch effort against Trump.
Humphrey said he and others were fighting the “political sterilization” of Republican delegates.