RNC 2016: Trump’s get-tough talk overshadows divide among GOP

CLEVELAND — With the Republican National Convention getting underway Monday as the nation reels from another attack on police, Donald Trump sought to burnish his “tough guy” image, but he also found himself battling with members of his own party.

Delegates hold up signs and cheer during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Delegates hold up signs and cheer during first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On a day when the convention theme was “Make America Safe Again,” Trump took to the airwaves early Monday to criticize Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over the shooting deaths of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, declaring that they lacked the “toughness” needed to quell the growing civil unrest.

But his attempt to position himself as a leader who can bend opponents to his will took a beating Monday as the convention floor convulsed in protests when anti-Trump delegates shouted for a roll call vote of delegates — a delay tactic meant to embarrass the nominee.

To read more of Bay Area News Group reporter Matthew Artz’s report from the convention, click here.


RNC 2016: Latino attendees speak in support of Trump

With his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants and his announced plan to build a border wall, Donald Trump has provoked strong opposition among Latino voters, according to many polls.

Still, there are Latino delegates in Cleveland determined to support Trump. Reporter Matt Artz spoke to two of them about their support for Trump and how they think he can rally Latino voters behind him for the November election.

Antonio Amador, a delegate from Lodi and former LAPD union president:

Marco Gutierrez, a Discovery Bay resident and member of Latinos for Trump:


RNC 2016: California delegates will be seen, but rarely heard

The seating chart is out for the Republican National Convention here in Cleveland, and California’s 172 delegates will be right up front with their peers from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Alabama.


Not a bad consolation prize given that California delegates were placed at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, OH, which is nearly halfway between Cleveland and Toledo — about an hour’s drive from the action.

Why such good seats? For one, Trump handpicked the delegation, so even though a few of them are recent converts, they won’t be caught on camera giving him the stink eye or cooing for Ted Cruz. Also, they are a diverse lot, especially when compared to Trump’s prime time speakers.

That diversity is on display here in Sandusky, home of the GOP elephant towel:

elephant towel

I shared a bus over here with an Indo-American”Rockerfeller Republican” entertainment lawyer from LA, a Latino “law and order” couple from Rialto an the leader of tea party group in Fontana, who literally was dressed patriotically from head to toe.

toenail polish

The delegates I’ve met so far have been friendly, but most are following orders not to talk on the record to reporters. The Trump campaign wants its California delegates to be on message at all times (unlike their candidate) so they’ve picked who they want talking. Here is the memo that went out to delegates in June from Time Clark, Trump’s California state director.




John Bolton replaces Scott Walker at CRP meeting

John Bolton, who served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, will take the California Republican Party convention speaking slot that presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker abandoned.

John BoltonBolton will give the dinner banquet keynote address this Saturday, Sept. 19 as the state GOP convenes at in Anaheim. Walker was supposed to give the speech, but on Friday said he was cancelling the appearance in order to concentrate on early-primary states; his poll numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire have slid precipitously in recent weeks following a lackluster debate performance and some notable waffling on issues including birthright citizenship.

“I greatly appreciate Ambassador Bolton for agreeing to join us at CRP 2015 Fall Convention on such short notice,” party chairman Jim Brulte said in a news release. “With Ambassador Bolton’s experience in foreign policy and national security, I’m looking forward to hearing his thoughts on the important international issues facing America today.”

Bolton, who was Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security for four years before serving as ambassador from 2005 to 2006, is now a foreign-policy senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

“During the Obama presidency America has failed to lead and we are more vulnerable now than ever before,” Bolton said in the news release. “From the Iran deal to China and Russia, we need to change the direction of America’s foreign policy. On Saturday, I’m looking forward to speaking at the CRP convention. It’s important to continue the discussion on national security following the Republican debate at the Reagan Library.”


SF couple hosting John Kasich, Ben Carson

A San Francisco couple’s home seems to be becoming a key stop on the Republican presidential primary campaign trail.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich was at the Nob Hill home of Christine Hughes and Abe Ostrovsky on Thursday for a reception with a few dozen members of the Lincoln Club of Northern California.

Hughes is the club’s vice chairwoman as well as chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party, president of the CalWatchdog Foundation, and a former vice president and board member of the conservative Pacific Research Institute. Ostrovsky is chief operating officer at Artkick. The Kasich event was free to club members and their guests.

Hughes and Ostrovsky also are scheduled to host Dr. Ben Carson for a cocktail reception at their home on the evening Tuesday, Sept. 8; tickets cost $250 per head, or $500 for those who want to attend a VIP photo opportunity first.

UPDATE @ 10:45 A.M. FRIDAY: I now hear that Kasich had a fundraiser yesterday morning at the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park, with about 100 people in attendance and venture capitalists Ted Schlein and Floyd Kvamme offering remarks. Kasich reportedly spoke about his successes in Congress and as Ohio’s governor – the latter including a Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act – and said Donald Trump helped all GOP candidates by drawing 24 million viewers to the first debate early this month.


Donald Trump wins a South Bay GOP straw poll

Billionaire businessman and reality television star Donald Trump topped the presidential straw poll at the South Peninsula Area Republican Coalition picnic Sunday at the Morgan Estate in Los Altos Hills.

Out of 144 votes cast, Trump got 39 votes, or 27 percent. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came in second with 27 votes (18 percent), followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (20 votes, 13 percent); U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (16 votes, 11 percent); and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (13 votes, 9 percent). Notably absent from among the poll’s top finishers: former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who used to live less than two and a half miles from the site of Sunday’s picnic.

Poll participants were given the opportunity to mark a second choice as well. Of those whose first choices didn’t finish in the top five, five picked Rubio as their second choice, four picked Bush, four picked Trump, three picked Walker and two picked Kasich.

“The field is still pretty wide open, but there seems a trend in favor of more conservative candidates,” SPARC president John McDonnell said. “The results belie the conventional wisdom that Trump’s appeal will fade among party regulars, but the results also suggest strong support for Jeb Bush, the ‘establishment’ candidate. We can expect some considerable ebb and flow between now and the hard results in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.”

SPARC is affiliated with the California Congress of Republicans, a mainstream conservative grassroots group that’s chartered as part of the state GOP. The keynote speaker at Sunday’s picnic was Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, the Bay Area’s only Republican voice in Sacramento.

Trump holds an 11-point lead over Bush in the latest average of recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics, followed by neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson; Walker; Rubio; U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; and Fiorina. In Iowa, Trump leads Bush by about 8 points; in New Hampshire, Trump leads Kasich by 14.