We had a team of reporters that covered the Ohio delegation breakfast event this morning, and they were able to reaction from delegates on Melania Trump’s speech from Monday night that’s caused quite a stir.
The speakers at this morning’s breakfast at the DoubleTree Hotel included U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta and Republican pitchman and political strategist Frank Luntz.
Luntz said Ohio Governor John Kasich helped him write his father’s eulogy and brought him “back to life.”
“He’s not just Ohio’s hero,” Luntz said.
Luntz told jokes — several about presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — then said, “Yes, I stole that.”
Delegate Sandra Brasington, of Kettering, is attending her third convention and said she is most excited for Kasich’s reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of fame today.
On Melania Trump’s speech Monday, she said, “people just have to watch their words.” But said that speech was less important to her than the focus on the country’s future.
She was more impressed with speeches by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York.
“Having a son formerly in the military, I think that’s important for me, to watch to see how are we going to treat our troops,” Brasington said.
Trump campaign surrogate Ben Carson said we should be encouraged by the similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and that of Michelle Obama in 2008.
“I think what we should be thinking about is, if Melania’s speech is similar to Michelle Obama’s speech, that should make us all very happy because we should be saying that whether we’re Democrats or Republicans we share the same values. That’s what we should be talking about, not trying to make it into a controversy,” Carson said. “We are always trying to create problems. Why don’t we look at the positive aspects?”
Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix, also a delegate, thought Melania Trump gave a good speech.
She believes that Trump has a lot of qualities needed in a first lady and said that if parts of her speech resemble Michelle Obama’s, it was likely an “error.”
“She was obviously very beautiful,” Nix said. “If parts of that speech were lifted from Michelle Obama, it was an unforced error that I’m very disappointed about. But otherwise I thought you don’t get a more sophisticated and beautiful and well-spoken first lady.”
Nix said she thinks the party seems unified “way more than I was anticipating. Even the Ohio delegation that is strongly pro-Kasich, most seem to be coming on board. There’s a few naysayers left, but I think we realize the importance of the November election.”
“She hit it out of the ballpark,” delegate Stephanie Garrett said of Melania Trump’s speech last night. “I think she spoke from the heart I think she spoke as a mother and a wife and an immigrant that came to this country because we are America.”
She doesn’t think the speech was plagiarized at all.
“Most mothers are going to be concerned about the same things. She’s concerned about what America’s going to be for her children and what legacy we’re going to leave behind,” she said.
Garrett thinks the Ohio delegation is getting behind Trump, but when asked what her reason is for supporting him as the nominee, she said she didn’t have one. She did feel his wife’s speech did a lot to humanize the TV star.
Even though Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, all of Ohio’s delegates will be voting “Kasich,” Ohio’s governor who won the state primary. Kasich captured nearly 47 percent of the votes during Ohio’s primary, and delegates are required by law to represent the voters.
And while it is a party atmosphere, Republicans are trying to work through several controversies.
Despite being the host state, the delegates representing Ohio took a backseat during the “Make America Safe Again” rally, since no Ohioans were giving speeches.
Meanwhile, the Miami Valley delegation hopes to leave the convention united, but they say it will be difficult.
“If you leave here divided, you have no shot at this,” Luntz said of the Trump vs. Clinton race.
“Donald Trump represents change. Donald Trump is the epitome of change.”
To support Trump, they — including former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery — say they will need to see a lot of change, not only in his campaign but as a candidate.
“There’s a lot of talent here talking about solving America’s problems,” Montgomery said. “And I want to hear from the podium how that will happen.”
Former Congressman Dave Hobson, a first-time delegate, said Trump must show leadership qualities, other than being a TV star.
“I want him to be inclusive of all people,” Hobson said. “We want him to give us hope for the future, and the future of the country for my children and grandchildren. I don’t see that. I see anger.”
Former U.S. Rep. Steve Austria, an alternate delegate from Greene County, said he hopes different ideas won’t get in the way of unifying the party.
“This will be an exciting convention,” Austria said. “I look at it kind of like a family reunion where Republicans are coming in from all over the country; where Republicans are coming in with different ideas, different thoughts.”
We have a team of reporters on the ground in Cleveland that will provide you in-depth coverage of this week’s Republican National Convention.
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