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Anti-Trump Movement Fails To Force Roll Call Vote On GOP Convention Rules


This is Robert Siegel inside the Quicken Loans Arena, the Q, in Cleveland where Republican hopes of a happy, unified convention were dashed within a few hours of its opening. When the Rules Committee reported to the convention as a whole, a committee minority representing the Stop Trump Movement wanted a roll call on a motion to allow delegates to vote their consciences.

That motion did not succeed, but as NPR's Scott Horsley, who was on the convention floor, witnessed, the issue turned very contentious. Scott, describe what happened.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Well, as soon as the gavel sounded that the voice vote would be the end of the rules discussion, a group of anti-Trump folks started chanting, we want a roll call; we want a roll call vote. And at that point, they struck up the band to try to drown them out. The chair left the stage for a few minutes.

When he came back, they again called for a roll - for a voice vote here on the floor. There was a second voice vote, and there was - at that point, the chair announced that 3 of the 9 states that had petitioned for a roll call vote had withdrawn their petition, so there were no longer enough states seeking a roll call vote.

SIEGEL: That's right. The rule - yeah.

HORSLEY: But behind all this parliamentary maneuvering, what was happening here is the undying Never Trump faction within this Republican Party was trying once more to free up the delegates so that they could vote for someone other than the one who won all those primaries and caucuses around the country.

SIEGEL: Although it should be noted that in many cases, there's a state law or a state party rule that might bind those delegates to vote for Donald Trump even though the delegate him or herself might not want to do so. Is this the end of the Stop Trump Movement?

HORSLEY: Well, it would certainly seem to be the end of the road in an official way here at the nominating convention, but there's still a lot of unrest. Just a moment ago they asked all the delegates to stand up and pose for a photograph, you know, which is supposed be sort of a happy tableau of a united Republican Party. And yet bubbling beneath the surface of that static photo, there's still a lot of unrest.

After these repeated voice votes, Mike Lee, the senator from Utah who's among the Never Trump crowd, was holding court with a bunch of TV reporters trying to explain what was going on. And the Pro-Trump faction behind him started shouting, we want Trump; we want Trump, trying to drown him out. So there is - there's still a great deal of unrest at this convention which is only a few hours old.

SIEGEL: Scott, one other thing happened this afternoon, which was the platform was presented to the convention, and it, too, was approved by a voice vote. It's a pretty controversial platform, though.

HORSLEY: It is, and there are parts of this platform which are very much the handiwork of Donald Trump and his supporters. For example, there's a provision in the platform that calls for the building of that wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. There's a piece of the platform that calls for new trade negotiations, to undo the trade agreements that Donald Trump thinks have been a disadvantage for this country.

There are other parts of the platform - and these were perhaps more controversial within the Republican Party - that are not really the hallmarks of Donald Trump. For example, social conservatives here managed to get language into the platform that refers to natural marriage, and there was a faction within the platform committee that felt that would be off-putting to LGBT Republicans or make it hard for the Republican Party to recruit LGBT voters.

SIEGEL: Right.

HORSLEY: But that platform committee in the end was approved here on a voice vote and without the contention that the rules report was.

SIEGEL: Scott, thanks. That's NPR's Scott Horsley on the floor of the convention at the Quicken Loans Arena. I'm Robert Siegel up in the rafters of the Q. You'll be hearing from us later. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.
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