This series analyses the 2016 presidential campaign with recaps of Alex Jones Show interviews with Larry Nichols, a Clinton insider from Arkansas days, terminally ill with cancer, and Roger Stone, Trump insider and veteran of five presidential campaigns beginning in 1964. See parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 if you missed them.
Nichols co-created the 1994 film The Clinton Chronicles and Stone co-authored The Clintons’ War on Women, published in 2015.
This post covers Day 4 — July 21 — of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Highlights from a post-convention interview with Stone appear at the end of this post.
For those who prefer something more novel, here is the president-elect’s 2010 book launch:
This convention was significant historically not only because I took notes on it but also because nearly everyone spoke fulsomely about Donald Trump’s candidacy. Two exceptions come to mind: Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz.
I have watched RNC conventions before. Most speeches have involved first-person witnessing about why people joined the Republican Party. Post-Reagan conventions had a rather sleepy quality about them: dark lighting, poor optics and bad music.
This convention was high-energy and compelling viewing. The Quicken Loans Arena was bright, with excellent optics and, for once, genuine smiles all around. Reince Priebus did a great job of pulling it all together. The G E Smith Band, who are not Republicans, provided superb cover versions of famous rock ‘n’ roll hits.
This final evening, the climax of the convention, was chock-a-block with all sorts of speakers who talked of their love of America and admiration for Trump. A full list is on Wikipedia.
Delegates held up ‘Make America One Again’ and ‘Make America Safe Again’ signs. The Twitter trend that day was #TrumpIsWithYou — a counterpoint to Hillary Clinton’s slogan ‘I’m with Her’.
After the invocation and presentation of colours, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, reminded the audience that America is one nation under God.
The Revd Jerry Falwell Jr, a big Trump supporter, rightly described him as ‘a blue collar billionaire’.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County (Phoenix) recalled Trump’s frequent calls to his cancer-stricken wife. Arpaio, 84, lost his re-election this year to a Democrat. Some Arizona residents suspect big outsider funding in order for that to have happened.
Pastor Mark Burns of South Carolina decried ‘race baiters’, emphasising ‘all lives matter’.
American football legend Fran Tarkenton spoke, saying he has known Trump for 48 years and that he would ‘make America great again for everyone’, so ‘let’s win this game together’. He then talked about small businesses in the United States, pointing out that a good number are run by women and minorities. They survive in spite of excessive government regulations.
A severely disabled man, Brock Mealer, was up next. In 2007, he was in a serious traffic accident. Doctors told him he had a 1% chance of survival. Regardless, he earned a university degree in Ohio and got married. He works as a motivational speaker. Mealer credited his religious faith for his recovery: ‘His will, not mine’. About that 1% chance, Mealer noted that Trump was also told he had the same chance of making it through primary season.
Retired basketball coach Bobby Knight extended the victory theme via video: ‘My main objective was to win’ — and so is Trump’s.
The theme turned from testosterone and sports to successful Republican women extolling Trump and calling for party unity.
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee urged everyone to MAGA. Trump ‘is someone who can get the job done … under budget … built to last … Join me tonight in electing Donald Trump as president of the United States!’ She then reminded the delegates that 151 years earlier, Abraham Lincoln was in Cleveland with a call — ‘a desperate one’ — for unity. So it would be, she said, with Trump:
Leadership is a record of accomplishment and team building.
Mary Fallin, the first female governor from Oklahoma, fired up the crowd further: ‘Are you ready for change? Me, too!’ She described the America she grew up in. She grew up in modest circumstances but in an atmosphere of optimism, thanks to hard work and faith. She recalled her mother being elected mayor of their hometown. She said that black Oklahomans, ‘among many heroes’, also worked together to make their state great: ‘all were united’. She said, ‘Better days are ahead’, and closed with a remark from Ronald Reagan:
Anyone who agrees with you 80% of the time is an ally.
Dr Lisa Shin, an optometrist and delegate from New Mexico, heads Korean Americans for Trump. She described herself as a ‘Christian wife and mother’. She evoked her parents, who were immigrants and now proud to be citizens: the ‘beauty of the American dream’. She warned that Hillary posed a direct threat to that dream in all respects.
Next came a film from the Republican Leadership Initiative. The film emphasised that the RLI is open to all Americans, a clear invitation to minorities.
By that point, the arena was full. Everyone was awaiting Trump and his daughter Ivanka.
Reince Priebus expressed his thanks to Cleveland and to his family for their patience in planning the convention. I wrote in my notes that Priebus ‘came into his own’ with this speech. After proclaiming America as ‘the greatest country on earth’ and saying ‘We need to stop Hillary Clinton’, he spoke of Trump and party unity:
Americans have had enough … Donald Trump is the man to lead that charge.
Trump will ‘protect the Constitution and the lives of the unborn’. He compared Trump to General Motors’s William Knudson, who took a $1 annual salary during the Second World War. Trump would do the same in the White House. He roused the crowd further: ‘Let’s stand united as Republicans!’
Entrepreneur and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel (‘Teel’), a Trump delegate from California, was up next. He spoke about his childhood growing up in Cleveland. His parents emigrated from Germany in the 1960s. His father studied engineering at Case Western University. Thiel remembered the awe he felt watching the first moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969.
Thiel spoke of the disparity of Silicon Valley, so prosperous compared with nearby Oakland and California’s capital, Sacramento. He said, ‘It’s time to rebuild America’, ‘Government is not working’ and ‘Hillary Clinton’s incompetence is in plain sight’. He added that it was time to end wars and focus on rebuilding the country instead.
It is significant that he is the first openly gay man to have addressed the convention. He closed with, ‘I’m proud to be gay and a Republican, but most of all, I am proud to be an American!’ He was received enthusiastically, with big cheers going up around the auditorium. (You can read the transcript and watch the video at RealClearPolitics.)
The response from Silicon Valley and the gay community was scathing. Before we get to that, however, in May, Thiel had helped Hulk Hogan in a lawsuit against Gawker. The Washington Post suggested Thiel opposed freedom of the press, just like Trump. Then, on June 11, Prison Planet criticised Thiel for saying Bilderberg meetings should continue to be secret because better conversations can take place unmonitored.
The day before Thiel spoke at the Republican convention, the New York Times wasted no time in saying that, although no one knew the content of his speech, he already had ‘Silicon Valley squirming’. Before he spoke on July 21, The Guardian accused Thiel of wanting to make capitalism undemocratic, which would be ‘racist’ if not ‘fascist’.
In October, the gay lifestyle magazine The Advocate said Thiel was not among their number because he does not share their brand of identity politics. As such, he is, they said, merely engaging in gay sex. Thiel hit back, accusing the magazine of hypocrisy when they had earlier praised him as a ‘gay innovator’. Thiel had donated $1.25m to the Trump campaign, sparking a measured response from Mark Zuckerberg which upset Silicon Valley. Thiel is on the Facebook board of directors and was an early investor. The Valley’s Project Include was incandescent at Thiel’s support of Trump. Thiel was also mired in a lawsuit brought by the Department of Labor which charged that his company Palantir discriminated against Asian job applicants in the interview process. Palantir denied the charges. On October 31, a week before the election, Thiel endorsed Trump in a speech to the National Press Club. He said that what Trump represents is ‘not crazy’, nor is it going away. It’s here to stay.
Back to the convention now, where the arena was rapidly filling. Post-Thiel, Donald Trump Jr presented a film about the Trump family. I wrote in my notes that it was ‘magical, with great music’. Don Jr closed with, ‘America has given my father everything.’
Tom Barrack of Colony Capital has worked with Trump for over 40 years. His was a down-to-earth, engaging talk, so much so that you could have heard a pin drop in the audience. Barrack is the son of a grocer from Culver City, California. He was diplomatic when it came to Hillary: ‘I have nothing negative to say about Hillary, only amazing things to say about Donald Trump’. Barrack said he and Trump met through a mutual friend, the business mogul and philanthropist Robert Bass from Texas. Barrack said that Trump is ‘really better than the billing you see’. He added that Fred Trump was respected by all, especially his employees. Fred’s wake and funeral were attended by crowds of people wanting to pay their respects. With regard to Fred’s son, Barrack said that he would break up globalism and polish the jewel that is America.
With the conference hall packed, Jon Voight introduced a film about Trump’s life and business achievements. Trump rescued Central Park’s Wollman Ice Rink. He turned landfill near Manhattan into a golf course. He also hired the first female building manager in New York City.
Ivanka Trump introduced Trump by saying he had ‘a strong ethical compass’. He has privately helped many people we will never know about; he cuts out newspaper articles about people in need and contacts them personally. She then went on to address working mothers who are struggling financially. (She has devised tax credit policies for her father which we’ll see in 2017.) At the end she said Americans would have ‘a new set of thinkers’ whereby ‘we can hope to dream again’. She received a rousing standing ovation.
Then, the moment had arrived. Trump took the stage to a standing ovation. Whereas Big Media found his speech ‘dark’, the audience and I found it uplifting. First, he had to formally accept the nomination, which he did to resounding cheers. He responded, ‘We are a team.’ He pointed out that the Republican vote during the primary was historic in its increase and that the Democrats had 20% fewer votes that season. He then launched a series of soundbites:
Safety will be restored [on January 20, 2017].
We cannot afford to be so politically correct any more [huge cheers].
We will honour the American people with the truth and nothing else.
He pledged to ‘fix’ the poverty of black children and Hispanics, more of whom are living below acceptable standards under Obama. Altogether, 43m Americans are on food stamps. He also spoke about Obama’s disastrous foreign policy, saying it was a ‘big mistake’ to put Hillary in charge of it. He criticised the ‘chaos’ in the Middle East:
death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.
He closed with a rallying call to defeat ‘her’ in November.
On Sunday, July 24, Roger Stone was on the Alex Jones Show. He said the previous week’s event was ‘the best convention I’ve been to’ because politicians hadn’t run the show. He added that everyone thought it was ‘electric’ except for Big media.
That day, DNC emails released by WikiLeaks had prompted DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign. (She immediately went on to work for the Clinton campaign.) The leaks exposed that the primary was fixed for Hillary. Stone said it was lamentable that the media paid little attention to that, and instead were still focussing on Melania Trump’s plagiarised speech.
Stone said his prediction of Tim Kaine as Hillary’s VP pick had come to fruition. He said that Kaine’s ethics as governor would be objectionable in most states, but were okay in his home state of Virginia.
Stone criticised Ted Cruz, who underwent ‘self-immolation’ after his convention speech:
He could have been a hero
he is so obtuse, he stabbed Donald Trump in the back.
Stone said that the New York Post reported Obama’s half brother Malik would be endorsing Trump. (The Mirror carried the report three days later.) Malik went on to become something of a star at Reddit’s The_Donald, and also gave them an AMA (Ask Me Anything) interview.
As for the election, Stone warned:
We are going to have to be vigilant about voter fraud.
Yep. However, even he couldn’t foresee that Jill Stein (Green Party candidate) would call for recounts in three states that Trump won. Confusion abounds as I write. Are they taking place, or aren’t they? No one seems to know if they are going ahead or not — and to what degree — in Michigan and Pennyslvania. (Wisconsin’s is in progress.)
Regardless, Stone assured Jones’s audience that, although the Democrats had a ‘game plan’, Trump would be aware of it.
I’m sure he is, but Stein is going to try and press ahead with a different tactic in Pennsylvania today (Monday, December 5). She is scheduled to make an announcement at Trump Tower and push for a recount in the Keystone State ‘on constitutional grounds’.
Someone must refuse to play into this woman’s foolish frivolity, which not even the Green Party supports.
In the words of Nancy Reagan, ‘Just say no!’