What’s up at the RNC?: Law Street’s Day 3 Coverage

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This year, Law Street Media is attending both the RNC and DNC conventions, and bringing Law Street readers the inside scoop. We’ll be doing day-by-day rundowns and exclusive features. Follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Snapchat for even more content.

Here’s a look at the third day of the festivities, courtesy of Law Street reporters Kevin Rizzo and Alec Siegel:

The big story of the evening, of course, was Ted Cruz’s speech…

Maybe His Nickname Should Be ‘Stubborn Ted’?

Wednesday evening’s theme was “Make American First Again.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, in one of the more anticipated speeches of the convention, struck that chord, but mainly just ruffled delegates’ feathers as he glazed over Donald Trump, his eyes dead set on a 2020 run. Cruz spent most of his speech expounding on freedom and American values, and the role of limited government:

America is more than just a land mass between two oceans, America is an ideal. A simple, yet powerful ideal. Freedom matters. For much of human history government power has been the unavoidable constant in life. Government decrees and the people obey, but not here. We have no king or queen, we have no dictator, we the people constrain government. Our nation is exceptional because it was built on the five most beautiful and powerful words in the English language, ‘I want to be free.’

And while he did congratulate the man who christened him ‘Lyin’ Ted’ during the bruising spring campaign season, Cruz did not explicitly endorse Trump. According to media outlets who received advanced transcripts of Cruz’s speech, Trump knew about the non-endorsement as early as Monday. The NYT reported that Trump called Cruz Monday evening in an attempt to secure his support.

Delegates on the floor showered Cruz with boos and chants of “Say it!” and “Trump!” as it became clear he would not endorse the man who–after an emphatic roll call on Tuesday–will be the official Republican torchbearer come November. As Cruz spoke, the interior of Quicken Loans Arena seemingly shook with the near unanimous discontent from delegates. “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation,” Cruz cracked. But it seemed like all 50 states and U.S. territories jeered in unison.

And of course, this quote garnered quite a few boos for Cruz: 

The Crowd Seemed to Enjoy the Music Selections

We Met Some Festively-Dressed Delegates

The conventions have long been known as spots for delegates to show off their patriotic fashion choices.

Here are delegates from the American Virgin Islands (left) and Hawaii (right).

Image courtesy of Alec Siegel for Law Street Meda

Image courtesy of Alec Siegel for Law Street Media


Image courtesy of Alec Siegel for Law Street Media


Police Officers Everywhere you Turn

Police officers from all over the country have a large presence in downtown Cleveland this week. I’ve spotted officers from bordering states like West Virginia and Pennsylvania as well as from states as far as Montana and California. While it’s hard to tell if this event is different from other conventions, the number of officers is particularly striking. There are officers everywhere you look, and so far, they have taken an active approach to maintaining law and order.

Image courtesy of Alec Siegel for Law Street Media

Image courtesy of Alec Siegel for Law Street Media

As is the case when a city hosts any major event, outside law enforcement officers are called in to help maintain order and respond to potential disruptions. But in the wake of high-profile and highly polarizing shootings, both of and by police officers, the tone is decidedly different. I’ve seen many people stop to thank police officers and when groups of officers walk down the street or around the convention area many have even been met with applause. That message is prominent in many of this week’s speeches, with frequent references to Blue Lives matter and some offering a full-throated defense of police officers.

A Few Protests But Nothing Big Yet

Image courtesy of Kevin Rizzo via Law Street Media

Image courtesy of Kevin Rizzo via Law Street Media

There were two incidents in particular when I noticed the overwhelming number of police officers. On Tuesday afternoon, competing protests drew large crowds in Cleveland’s Public Square. Before things escalated further police officers blocked off the square’s perimeter and filled the interior. They allowed protesters to leave but didn’t let anyone pass the barrier. Over time the situation diffused and police officers outnumbered protesters in the square.

Image courtesy of Kevin Rizzo for Law Street Media

Image courtesy of Kevin Rizzo for Law Street Media

On Wednesday, news broke that protesters were planning a flag burning on East 4th Street, right outside of the entrance to Quicken Loans Arena, drawing large crowds. Officers again flooded the area and blocked more people from entering while police riding horses helped disperse the crowd. Ultimately 17 people were arrested, but the situation never escalated.

Police officers have repeatedly stood in between different competing protests this week. The problem may be that not only are people protesting, but that both sides of a protest are represented and often engaging with each other. There are a number of people protesting at each other, which is what police appear to be most concerned with.  For example, there were anti-LGBT and pro-LGBT protests looking right at each other with a line of officers right in between.

Yet, People Seem Happy?

Alec Siegel
Alec Siegel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. When he’s not working at Law Street he’s either cooking a mediocre tofu dish or enjoying a run in the woods. His passions include: gooey chocolate chips, black coffee, mountains, the Animal Kingdom in general, and John Lennon. Baklava is his achilles heel. Contact Alec at ASiegel@LawStreetMedia.com.



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