Republicans gather for in-person convention vote to renominate Trump, Pence

By Tyler Olson | Fox News

Republicans, unlike Democrats last week, are handling their official party business in person.

Republicans on Monday are set to officially renominate President Trump and to represent their party in the November election as delegates gather for their in-person roll call vote Monday morning at the Charlotte, N.C., Republican National Convention (RNC).

The delegates renominated Vice President Pence unanimously Monday morning ahead of their roll call vote on Trump. Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker delivered a brief nominating speech for Pence.

The coronavirus shook up both the Republicans’ and Democrats’ convention plans this year as it made large in-person celebrations impossible. But Republicans, with strict health protocols, have managed to keep the official business of their party in-person, sending just six delegates from each state to the convention in Charlotte. Democrats, on the other hand, did all of their business virtually, including a pre-recorded roll call broadcast during their evening convention events.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is the chairman of the convention and addressed delegates Monday morning after it dismissed with some procedural business.

RNC DELEGATES HEAD FOR IN-PERSON ROLL CALL UNDER STRICT PRECAUTIONS: SWABS, MANDATORY MASKS, ALL-DAY HEALTH DESK

“When I first took over as leader in Congress it was 19 seats we’d need to retire Nancy Pelosi. Today it’s 17,” McCarthy said, praising GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

“We did something we had not done. We got a Democrat to re-register as a Republican,” McCarthy said, referencing Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., before turning to the recent election of Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., to the seat formerly held by Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., who resigned following a sex scandal. “And you know one thing that we also did, and I want to give a big shoutout to California… We did something we had not done in 22 years. We took a Democrat seat in California and made it Republican.”

That contrast between how the RNC and the Democratic National Convention (DNC) are being handled will be most clear Monday morning when Republicans gather their delegates in socially distanced chairs and call each state by name, with the heads of each delegation standing up to report the votes of their state delegation. Trump secured every available delegate except for one, which went to former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld in Iowa.

“It will certainly not look like the conventions of past years when everybody was on top of everybody,” Lawrence Tabas, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and a Trump delegate in Charlotte, told Fox News.

But, Tabas said the procedures will still resemble a traditional roll call, bringing some sense of normalcy to what’s been a very abnormal year both inside and outside of politics.

“It’s similar to how they’re cast at a normal convention,” Tabas said. “They’ll call the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The chair of our delegation — I appointed Lou Barletta, the former congressman from our state who was one of the first Trump supporters, to be the chair so he would have the honor of saying, ‘The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is proud to cast these 85 delegate votes for the president and the vice president.'”

Rep. Kevin McCarty, R-Calif., seen here in February. McCarthy is the chairman of the RNC proceedings in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR MONDAY AT THE RNC: TRUMP’S ‘WARRIORS,’ OFFICIAL NOMINATION

The Monday morning proceedings also aimed to draw another contrast with the DNC by emphasizing the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. In two DNC caucus meetings last week those words were omitted in the pledge.

“At the Democrat National Convention, we know that at least two caucuses removed two words — “under God” — from the Pledge of Allegiance. We know too that at a previous Democrat convention, a recent one, the word “God” was almost totally removed from their platform. That could not, would not, ever happen here,” Peter Goldberg, a delegate from Alaska, said to applause before leading the pledge. “We know as Republicans that America must put its full trust and faith in that God, in order to do so so that every American citizen can have the blessings of security, the opportunity for prosperity and the ability to enjoy all of those freedoms that are enshrined in that divinely inspired document the Constitution of the United States of America.”

After sealing Pence’s nomination, the convention then moved on to the nominating speeches for Trump.

“I never thought I would agree with Hillary Clinton, but she is right about one thing. We have to vote like our lives and our country depend on it in November,” McDaniel said in one of the nominating speeches for Trump, in which she accused Democrats of advancing radical policies, but obscuring their agenda by arguing that Joe Biden is simply “nice.”

“Policies that force jobs to flee our country or allow abortion up until the point of birth are not nice,” McDaniel said. She also criticized the recent riots in many cities and said the unrest is “just a preview of what would happen nationwide if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win this election … Donald Trump will always stand for the rule of law.”

The Richardson Room in the Charlotte Convention Center where RNC delegates are gathering in a socially distanced manner for the roll-call vote to renominate President Trump and Vice President Pence. (Lillian LeCroy/Fox News)

Trump will be in North Carolina for unrelated business Monday, and the Trump campaign reported Friday it was considering bringing Trump to the convention for some sort of address, though it’s not clear if that idea will come to fruition. Trump, however, will be involved in the nightly RNC broadcasts throughout this week.

The Monday morning proceedings come ahead of the first nightly RNC broadcast, which is perhaps more important electorally than the procedural business in Charlotte — it’s how parties rally their base and attempt to persuade undecided voters ahead of the election.

Among those speaking Monday will be Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., as well as Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.

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