Night one of RNC convention “Make America Safe Again”
Day one in Cleveland, Ohio began with a heavy security presence over the recent murder of 10 law enforcement officers and the uptick in terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Nevertheless, the heat and humidity gave way to the hustle and bustle of the Republican convention goers finally getting their chance in the spotlight.
A mixture of celebrities, military veterans, and politicos took the stage for Donald J. Trump’s first day themed, “Make America Safe Again.”
“From attacks on our own soil and overseas to the tragedy in Benghazi, the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have left us vulnerable. Our immigration system is broken, leaving our country open to security threats and the negative consequences of illegal immigration. A Donald Trump administration will listen to and learn from our nation’s heroes who have put themselves in harm’s way and pursue a national security strategy and foreign policy that will strengthen our military and make America safe again,” Trump’s opening salvo read.
But what made night one different than the typical political speeches is the number of first person accounts from ordinary America’s who faced tragedy at home or abroad. Story after heartfelt story focused on the government’s failures to protect its citizenry, starting with the heroes that survived the Benghazi terrorist attack to the multiple parents and siblings who spoke about the family members they lost at the hands of illegal aliens or stringent military “rules of engagement.”
I found the Benghazi heroes prepping for their big speech at Mabel’s BBQ, a local hotspot located near the Quicken Center. John “Tig” Tiegen and Mark “OZ” Geist (both retired special forces and CIA security) described their accounts of what happened on that fateful night in Benghazi, Libya, blow by blow. They discussed their repeated efforts to get to the special mission when the 911 call came in from Ambassador Chris Stevens, the multiple efforts to find the Ambassador (even though they nearly died of smoke inhalation themselves) and then they described the ongoing 13 hours of fighting with terrorists who sought to kill the other 30 members of the CIA located in a nearby annex. They closed by talking about their comrades that did not make it home to participate in this election. Many convention goers were in tears when they learned Hillary Clinton and her political cohorts were only interested in money and weapons, something the four brave warriors used to save American lives that September night. (Link to speech)
Just as impassioned were the parents whose children were killed by illegal aliens, many of them repeat offenders that the Obama legal system released into the streets. Jamiel Shaw, a promising African-American high school football star from Los Angeles was being recruited by top colleges, never made it home because he was killed in a drive by shooting a few yards from his front door. His father said local and national Democrat politicians abandoned him once they learned the killer was an illegal alien.
“Illegal alien teen killer Espinoza was sentenced to death.” His mom, Anita and Jamiel Sr. have courageously kept Jamiel’s memory alive by “supporting efforts to repeal dangerous illegal alien sanctuary laws, spotlighting lapses in detention and deportation policy, calling attention to violent illegal alien gangs targeting blacks in L.A, and opposing reckless bipartisan amnesty proposals,” they said.
Jamiel Shaw’s family members remain immigration activist and added staunch Trump supports to their repertoire. (Link to speech)
Another stirring speech came from Sabine Durden, a legal immigrant from Germany, whose son, Dominic, was murdered by an illegal alien. The Guatemalan criminal had several felonies for armed robbery and grand theft. “After returning to America illegally again he was caught drunk driving, ” said Durden. But the judge only gave him probation, after which he was convicted of another DUI.
“Five weeks later, while barely under the legal limit of being drunk, he killed my Dom. He was given a misdemeanor and served just 35 days in jail,” she tearfully said. “I have been talking about illegal immigration since 2012, since the death of my child. Donald Trump is not only my hero, he’s my life-saver.”
The legal immigrant didn’t have kind words about the other presidential candidate. “Crooked Hillary [Clinton] always talks about what she will do for illegal aliens and what she will do for refugees, but Donald Trump talks about what he will do for America,” said Durden. The crowd began chanting “USA, USA, USA,” as the mother left the podium
Also speaking were the family of fallen Border Patrol agent Brian Terry who was murdered by drug cartels while on duty in Arizona. He was killed by a weapon sold through President Obama’s failed Fast and Furious gunrunning program that ultimately gave thousands of weapons to the Mexican drug cartels.
Following up was Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. “I would like to make something very clear: Blue lives matter!” He went on to describe the Black Lives Matter movement as “anarchist” that “violates the code of conduct we rely on.”
Numerous speakers spoke about “blue lives matter” and each time they were rewarded with thunderous applause.
Meanwhile, the city of Cleveland provided a huge Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and local police presence. Curiously, what visitors didn’t expect was to see so many out of state law enforcement officers descending into the GOP convention city from a plethora of states as far away as California.
It’s worth noting that numerous convention attendees personally thanked law enforcement for their often unappreciated job. While police were getting kudos from the citizenry, they were overlooking their own displeasure with the media and especially President Obama’s mischaracterization of the job they do every day. Law enforcement took the high road and used their professionalism to protect all Americans, some saying that nothing will happen ‘on my watch.’
The streets surrounding the Quicken Center were also protected with large barriers to manage the crowds and protect convention goers. Traffic was virtually eliminated in an effort to prevent a Nice, France type of attack, although a snow plow was poised for action if needed. Police clearly managed the protestors who were marching the streets. At one point the protesters attempted to block a busy interception, but officers in charged urged them to move along without creating any violent scenes.
Waiting for the evening session I had a chance to speak with Austin Goolsbee, Obama’s former chief economist, who I found lurking around Flannery’s Pub, he said he was ostensibly making a TV appearance but was he really thinking of defecting to GOP? Hate to be a rumormonger but he was so civilized and funny, he sounded like a Republican!
Earlier in the day, I made a cameo appearance on Showtime’s The Circus filming at “The Pour” restaurant, I was filming them through the window while they filmed me.
Opening day brought lots of enthusiasm outside the Quicken Loan Center. While the Cleveland Claviers may have brought home the NBA trophy earlier this year, the Trump campaign hopes some of that good luck will rub off on their moment in the political spotlight.
Other headline speakers included: Melania Trump, wife of Donald Trump, Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (who lit up the crowd with a powerful speech) and Lt. General Michael Flynn, former director of DIA who I will interview later this week.