What a wild and crazy night at the Q. Oh my goodness.
Determined not to miss our bus this time, the Senator and I loaded up early so he could run for Mayor of Bus #1 and I could ensure that we made it to the arena in time to hear the speeches!
We were dressed and ready to go in our matching Oklahoma delegation Blazers!
It would seem the custom of each delegation is to wear matching outfits, shirts, hats or jackets that are representative of their individual state. Oklahoma wears these navy blue blazers with an Oklahoma patch. Texas has shirts and hats with the emblem from the lone star state, Alaska has jackets with their state pictured inside the United States focusing on just how large of a land mass they are….Show offs!
However, this becomes important in the arena as it helps one differentiate between the delegates, official staff, the media and/or guests.
But, I digress. Last night, I was fortunate to have traded my cheap seats in for a real seat on the sidelines.
Here was my view.
Snuggled up right behind the main stage and close to the NPR box, I was seated on the aisle and really able to watch people enter and exit the floor along with the activity taking place throughout the arena.
It was also a great spot to watch our friend, Harold Hamm speak about Donald Trump and the economic and national security that comes from energy independence.
It was also a solid spot to watch Ted Cruz get booed out of the arena. Yes. He really did get booed and if the crowd was allowed to bring whole fruit into the arena, they would have pelted him with oranges and tomatoes. I’m just sure of it.
It would seem the media narrative is quite different from the scene I observed. Shocker!
I watched Ted Cruz deliver a very self promoting speech of sorts. It felt like an acceptance speech for the job he wanted but couldn’t quite obtain?
Regardless, when it became obvious that he was not going to endorse Trump, the arena instantly turned on him.
The chants seemed to start in the rafters (not with the New York delegation up front as he claimed) and spread like a prairie fire around the arena and onto the floor.
Left without an opportunity to conclude his non endorsement speech (or lecture about voting your conscious in November), the Q was erupting with loud jeers, chants of “Trump,” and venom. He could barely say thank you and God Bless America, while the arena booed him right off the stage. I heard his wife even had to be carried out by the Secret Service. I have never seen anything like it in my life. Ever.
My take is Cruz knew he had stacked the delegate roster in most every state with his supporters and that he would have the crowd on his side. But, this being the third day of the convention, I think a majority of the delegates had decided it was time to board the Trump Train and dedicate their energy to helping Trump be a better candidate, have a better ground game, or raise the necessary funds to win in November… because electing Hillary is not an option. Had Cruz’s speech been on the first night? Maybe not.
Regardless, this evening in the arena was over the top.
Oh, so after the Cruz speech we ran out to grab a water bottle and were unable to re-enter because the floor was on lock down or over the fire code depending on who you talked to.
Yes, there were probably way too many people on the floor. Even from my seat on the sidelines, I noticed lots of media cameras walking down the aisle prior to the Cruz speech – and they were escorting several people down to the floor, without the necessary credentials (the badge worn around ones neck giving you access to certain areas), and none of them were dressed in delegate attire which immediately stands out for that level of floor access.
Having noticed that, we also heard folks with Black Lives Matter had gained access to the floor, huddling up in the back and were planning to storm the stage hence the lockdown of the venue. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out how that happened!
On the ground today, we learned media badges were in fact being sold for $1k. Turns out, that was a bad investment for George Soros.
Since we were locked out, we ran outside to hear the speeches on the big screen…which is where Cliff decided to run for Mayor of the Texas Delegation haha.
Then, we headed back to the bus, but not before giving a shoutout to our friends at Facebook.
Day three got off to a roaring start when we missed the bus to our delegation lunch. Thank goodness for Uber!
Interestingly enough, our Uber driver happened to be a Slovenian immigrant. Significant, because Melania Trump is Slovenian and the community of Slovenian immigrants in Cleveland is the largest outside of the country itself. Who knew! According to our Tour Guide/ Uber driver, they also LOVE Melania Trump. So much so, they even hosted a welcome reception for her in Cleveland this week. Bet you didn’t hear that on the news!
We (as in “we” were not the only ones who missed the bus thank goodness) pulled up to our event right as the elected officials were speaking. So, only fashionably late haha.
Which was fine by me. I have maybe had my fill of political rhetoric and speeches this week…just saying. Although, I would say, the Lt. Governor of Arkansas was speaking at the time we walked in and he was a absolute breath of fresh air. I bet we see more of him on a national stage in the future.
One thing I do enjoy at these types of events is getting to see some friends who we have met along the way.
Had to snap a pic of Cliff visiting with Congressman Cole in the parking lot!
And, catching up with Harold Hamm, a former constituent and friend, who was speaking at the convention later that evening.
And just like that, it was time to board the buses to the next event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Since we had been there previously, Cliff and I decided to roam around the beautiful grounds for a bit and were about to walk next door to the Science Museum…
Trump Force One came in for a landing where the Donald met up with his family and his Vice Presidential pick, Mike Pence.
The only way I knew all this is because my Senator was running for Mayor of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and spoke to some event volunteers, some members of the Ohio delegation, the Secret Service and private Security on the ground. These individuals collectively told us what was happening and pointed us in the right direction to watch the motorcade as it fled the scene…so we did.
It was hard to snap pics with lots of people gathering and the heavily armed members of law enforcement keeping the perimeter clear. But, I can tell you there were dozens of big, black suburbans in that motorcade as well as a few armored trucks and it was a super exciting opportunity to watch live and in person!
And, that was a wrap…well, not really. We decided to Uber back to our hotel which is located in a darling, little Cleveland suburb because I was starving! Not that we missed lunch or anything haha…
The upside of being late to lunch…is getting to have chips and guac at a darling pub in Cleveland!
My meal for the day!
More notes from the arena last night in a bit!
So here is what I know.
There is no rest for the weary at a Republican National Convention.
The senator headed out early to hear Governor Scott Walker speak at a breakfast.
So, what did my Senator do? What he usually does anytime we are in a room full of people with some time to spare? He worked the crowd! My kids would say he was running for Mayor of the hotel! I think he just likes people!
The people of Cleveland are extremely kind.
Example of this was clear yesterday. Once our bus finally arrived, our delegation attended several events.
We had lunch at an event hosted by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating (pictured below in the hat) along with a few other politicos- former Senator Scott Brown (MA) and Congressman Rick Lazio (NY)…not pictured below.
I am sad I wasn’t able to capture a pic of the many armed coast guard boats crossing the waters behind us. There were many and they received a loud round of applause and cheers from the crowd every time one passed our venue.
Ran into my favorite former Oklahoma First Lady! Love her.
At one point, a member of our delegation needed to find new batteries for a hearing aid. He asked one of the local volunteers where he could go to find some, but she personally took him to several places in search of some and ended up having a friend of hers track them down and bring them to the event.
Total strangers and a random act of kindness.
Next up was a Red Dirt Roundup for the Oklahoma Delegation complete with BBQ and a country western band. Did I mention Big and Rich played at the last venue? We Okies do love our country music!
Cliff enjoys talking with our Senator Inhofe..mostly about his airplanes. The Senator is a pilot and still flies the friendly skies.
This is our Oklahoma State Party Chairman. She is a rock star and I adore her. I really got to know Pam, not from all of Cliff’s campaigns, but through a little Facebook group of women I am in where we support each other in our efforts to be healthy.
These two beauties are also in our “Superwoman” group. They are rock stars and super fun!! One on the left works in Washington DC and the one in the middle works for the Governor. I am just a fly on their wall haha.
Protesting a Convention is overrated.
After the events, it was time to board the buses and head to the Q, but this time we had a little bit of a walk to get to the pick up location.
I chose to follow these guys and nearly wound up in the protest area.
When I realized the bus was behind me and about to depart, I headed back to jump on board. I use the word “I” because Cliff had been distracted looking at t-shirts and vintage campaign buttons being sold from various vendors or running for the Mayor of Cleveland….but at this point he was waving at me to get on board the bus…now!
Our bus pulled out and then came to a standstill and this is what I saw from the window.
A group of protestors were being allowed to halt traffic up ahead. When I say ” group,” I mean around 50 max. The police appeared to let them stand in the road for what seemed like a staged media opportunity. Then, just like that, the police escorted them off of the road and down the sidewalk where we watched and the hungry media followed. I am sure the headline somewhere read ‘thousands of angry protestors blocked convention delegates,’ but it was nothing like that! There were twice as many police and more cameras than protestors. And for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what they were protesting based on their signs and chants…not sure they knew either.
The Quicken Arena is a Safe Zone
Everyone in this sea of thousands has passed through lots of security to be in this room. Lots of security. If you don’t have your proper badge on (they call it credentials), then forget about it. Entry denied.
Until I made it down onto the floor with Cliff.
The theme was Make America Work Again just in case you couldn’t tell by the sign. There were lots of speakers, like notables Chris Cristie and Ben Carson and Paul Ryan and non notables like Natalie Gulbis, a professional golfer who talked about how she came to know and admire the nominee. Kelly Woolard, head of Trump Winery, who gave a powerful testimony about what it was like to work for Donald Trump and how he inspires everyone to be the best they can be. You get the idea.
Then, there was the Trump family.
The Trump Family is….gorgeous for starters!
The pundits are saying that Donald Trump, Jr. is a rising star and after hearing his speech last night, I echo their sentiments. Wow.
There were so many more takeaways from yesterday but I have to leave it with this..
So, here is what I know after my first day at a Republican National Convention.
Comfortable shoes are a must!
Thank goodness for these Ivanka Trump shoes I rocked for over 12 hours! All the walking and standing and walking up and down stairs and walking to point A from point B would have caused a Fitbit explision I’m just sure of it!
The Quicken Arena is Big.
I chose another angle to watch my Governor address the crowd.
The arena is a cesspool of activity.
This lady from Colorado was one of the head Dump Trumpers. She had a small, but vocal contingent with members from several states (my own included) who tried to pull a coup.
They failed. I just happened to walk by an interview of her that took place before their movement was shut down.
Yes, there were some sore losers in the building. Fact.
You run into people you know everywhere.
Cliff and our friend from Tulsa (center), ran into another Okie (tall, young one on the left) who will be the next head of the RNC. What a breath of fresh air he is and a great guy all around.
We found the Facebook tent mid afternoon and their adorable intern from Northwestern (and his boss) allowed us to charge our phones while we enjoyed a cold beverage and chilled before the prime time speeches. They also explained a little Facebook live challenge they had going on a took a party pic of a few of us in their “Oval Office!”
After our phones were charging we met several reporters for a national magazine who were looking just as exhausted and thrilled to have found the same shady respite. In the course of a conversation with them, we learned they had been covering the protesters…all 2-300 of them. Bet it looked like more than that on television, didn’t it?
Evidently, this is an unconventional convention.
Since this is my first ever political convention, I am not sure if there is a precedent for the nominee to speak to the convention before he speaks to the convention – but last night, he introduced his wife (who, by the way was stunning and humble and gracious and wow’d everyone but the media).
It was something else and brought the arena to its feet.
Maybe I can just be her in my next life! Seriously though, she was simply breathtaking and you could have heard a pin drop in that arena when she spoke about her family, her immigrating to the United States, her life with Donald Trump. What I experienced in the arena and what I read from the media this morning are two different narratives and I will leave it there.
I am just thrilled to be experiencing a little history in the making from my seat on the sidelines!
Headed to the convention activities this morning and managed to snap a couple of pics from the hotel lobby.
Pictured above is my Senator…with my County Assesor and his wife, (who I have gotten to know through my association with American Mothers – she is a past Oklahoma Mother of the Year), and a past Party Chairman from Tulsa County. Great guy!
Speaking of those Blazers- everyone in the Oklahoma Delegation will be wearing these all week. I hear we have a reputation for being the best dressed delegation on the floor! Jury is still out on that! Personally, I am going to be all about my Ivanka Trump shoes!
Cause they are rocking it on the bus….
Last night was the opening reception at the RNC and it was held at none other than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in downtown Cleveland.
Thousands of Republicans swarmed the venue which boasted rows and rows of food trucks featuring a taste of the City! Big tents with various kraft beer and live music filled the venue and the actual museum was open for tours.
Architecturally, the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame is a beautiful contemporary structure and overlooks Lake Erie. I could not get over the outfits worn by Diana Ross and the Supremes….simply gorgeous!
The big stage was constructed on the lawn behind the museum where bands such as 3 Dog Night and the Doobie Brothers played. The evening ended with a stunning fireworks show over the lake and a long walk back to the rows and rows of buses which quickly transported the numerous delegates back to their hotels.
The Oklahoma Delegation went to the event on several buses which were under police escort with a heavily armed federal agent on board. The road to the event was blocked off at many places and police were positioned everywhere along the route. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen that many police and federal agents in one location before. I hear the Bikers for Trump are also rolling into Cleveland to help…I hope I manage to catch a glimpse of that!
Cliff and I had a wonderful evening talking with Republicans from all across the country. Some were wearing outfits representing their state and others were outfitted in all the bling that one might imagine.
Most seemed very excited to be there and were just as strong in their support of the presumptive nominee. If there is still a Dump Trump movement, we didn’t see it…the only interesting tidbit we heard on the ground was the number of high profile hotels that George Soros rented out to house the protestors he has sponsored.
We’ll keep you posted with highlights from the events today. The theme this evening is Make America Safe Again and will feature Melania Trump, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Senator Jeff Session, Senator Joni Ernst, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty and my favorite, Scott Baio of Happy Days fame.
An interesting thing happened on my flight up to Cleveland this morning. The plane was full of Republicans heading to the RNC and dozens of men and women on their way to Cincinnati for the NAACP convention. You talk about an eclectic dynamic on board!
While I sat in my seat listening to some Big Daddy Weave and getting my game face on for take off (because flying has never been my thing), I couldn’t help but hear the discussion taking place behind me between two strangers – one headed to Cleveland and the other headed to Cincinnati. Before take-off they had debated the economy and by the time we got to 10,000 feet, the conversation had moved to Benghazi and the Clinton Foundation’s ties to terror.
You would think that these two strangers with little in common would be in a raging fist fight by the time we reached cruising altitude, but instead they were laughing about their politics and seemed to enjoy chatting about their backgrounds and various political opinions.
Just goes to show you that if civil political discourse is possible on a Southwest airplane, then it can happen anywhere. I just wish more people were like my fellow passengers and instead of pitting one side against the other in violent protest, made a conscious effort to talk peacefully about our differences? Who knows, but if what I witnessed this morning is any example, a healthy dialogue about same could lead to common ground. At the very least, it will bring forth a better understanding and respect for one another which would be such a beautiful thing. Especially today.