Now that the delegates' votes have been counted, with Republican nominee Donald Trump hitting the magic number of 1,725, the RNC has moved on to its primary mission, attacking Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton.
Several Trump supporters, including Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, criticized Clinton's foreign policy experience as secretary of state.
"If we can't trust her to tell the truth, how can we possibly trust her to lead America," said Sen. Ron Johnson. "America needs strong leadership, someone who will strengthen our borders and defeat ISIS."
Political activist Van Jones just summed up the speakers we've heard at the RNC to this point. He said this convention was about "angers not answers," and the only goal was to attack Hillary Clinton. On a night there were supposed to be thoughts on the U.S. economy it appears to be just another anti-Hillary evening.
Pittsburgh City Paper Photo by Gabby Fellows
From Gabby Fellows: Folks are walking around inside the highest-trafficked areas outside of the Republican National Convention donned with safety-pinned red and white patches.
They call themselves the RNC Street Medics. They're a team of volunteers devoted to providing primary and secondary first aid to anyone participating in or listening to the protests in the high-stress areas of downtown Cleveland.
"We get all of our medical supplies through money we've raised or donations," a member of the street team told CP. "If we can't buy needed supplies or get someone to give them to us, we all pitch in and purchase them ourselves."
So far, the street team hasn't had to provide serious treatments to rally-goers.
"We just want to do what we can to help those gathered in Cleveland for this cause."
As Donald Trump prepares to address the delegates who have named him the Republican Presidential nominee, CP's Gabby Fellows is reporting that the scene outside the convention is more sedate, but the police presence is still quite large. But the protesters' message has largely remained the same.
Pittsburgh City Paper Photo by Gabby Fellows
Donald Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. just announced New York's 89 delegate votes for his father, putting the Republican candidate over the threshold of votes needed to win the nomination.
"I've been able to watch, as a small fly on the wall, all my father has done in creating this movement. Because it's not a campaign anymore, it's a movement, speaking to real Americans," Trump, Jr., said.
Republican delegates are taking a role call vote to finalize Trump's nomination.
The third session of the RNC got off to an unusual start this evening when Harmeet Dhillon, a self described Sikh American, delivered a Sikh prayer in Punjabi and English. The Republican convention and party have been criticized for a lack of diversity and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, especially, isn't known for embracing diversity.
But it didn't take long for the convention to return to form. Minutes later, when U.S. Senate. Jeffrey Sessions (R-Ala.) Took the stage to nominate Trump, he took the opportunity to criticize President Barack Obama for statements he made in response to the recent deaths of several police. Characterizing Obama's call for improved community-police relations as political correctedness, Sessions said the country needs a leader willing to tell the truth.
"The American voters heard his message and rewarded him with a huge victory in our primaries," Sessions said.
—Rebecca Addison 5:50 p.m. From Gabby Fellows:
Police officers, state highway patrolmen and bomb squads have all been spotted at this year's Republican National convention. Almost always, they are seen in groups of four or more.
“A lot of us cops are from out of state, but we stay in groups mostly because it's been policy to do so for this week,” one officer told CP.
“That way, if one of us gets hurt, there will be someone from our troop to witness it”, another said.
Both officers that spoke are not pictured in this photo.
Pittsburgh City Paper Photo by Gaby Fellows
A select group of merchants was allowed into the Freedom Marketplace inside the authorized zone, but luckily Rebecca Addison was able to find this:
campsite and churches to reach the Republican National Convention.
"Trump is trying to separate communities," said Landaverde. "He is terrorizing immigrants with his speech."
Landaverde is also a priest and he said that there is "evil" in Trump's message. He is also critical of Trump's, and many other Republican politician's, attach on Sanctuary Cities (municipalities that don't communicate with immigration officers).
Landaverde said Sanctuary Cities are important because they show we are welcoming and they "provide open doors" to immigrants who feel constantly under threat.
Our CP team is reporting that police have "pretty much taken over Public Square." Ashley Murray reports that Stevedor Crawford, of Columbus, Ohio, held a green toy gun and protested in Cleveland's Public Square, "Tamir Rice was murdered by a P-I-G, was a K-I-D, had a T-O-Y." He told City Paper that he came here, along with for kids, who also protested with him. "I came down here to let it be known that politics is never more important than a 12-year-old boy's life."
Billy Ludt was just at Public Square where he witnessed right wing talker Alex Jones get escorted out of the square by police after a "physical conflict." It's unclear exactly what happened and this cell phone video won't provide a much clearer picture, but the audio paints a picture. Video by Billy Ludt.
CP reporters and photographers in Cleveland say Public Square seems to be the assembly point for protesters and others wishing to speak their mind and assemble for marches, protests, etc. These photos are coming in from CP's intern duo Gabby Fellows and Billy Ludt. More police are beginning to assemble as are everyday citizens exercising their right to carry weapons in public. Also, everyone's favorite crazies from the Westboro Baptist Church are scheduled to be in town this evening. I think I'm really starting to feel America get great again! #sarcasmcrossing.
3:19 p.m. Ashley Murray reports that a small anti-Muslim protest is currently preceding down Euclid Avenue near the convention site. However, unlike other protests, that have gone on, This group is enjoying two columns of bicycle officers flanking them on either side. Murray attempted to interview the protesters and was prevented by officers. She identified herself as a reporter and showed her RNC-
issued credentials but was still told by officers, "I don't care."
Cleveland, Ohio might feel like the center of the political and cultural universe right now, but many local residents and business say they aren’t experiencing any of the positive side effects. The Republican National Convention, where presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will likely accept his party’s nomination, has received international attention and has people talking about Cleveland with the same excitement as when the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA championship in June.
RNC officials estimated that the Trump-sized event could have 50,000 attendees and bring in $400 million in economic impact to the city, however most of that appears to be centralized in the designated, partly-fenced-off area surrounding the Quicken Loans Arena, in Downtown Cleveland.
Lisa Rand, a driver with the ride-hailing company Uber, has been driving passengers to the convention and says the expressways heading into Downtown Cleveland were mostly empty during rush hour on July 18 and July 19. “It is kind of a ghost town here,” she said.
Because security efforts have been so extensive, many locals have felt pushed out of the nightlife district in Downtown’s Playhouse Square, according to Rand. “As I try to enter Downtown, the main attractions and where everything should be and where people should be out partying is [fenced off],” said Rand. “You don't really get to be a part of this, especially if you are from Cleveland.”
More than two miles of roads have been closed for the convention, cutting off more than a square mile of Downtown to those without an access pass who want to enjoy the Downtown attractions, including theaters, bars, clubs and restaurants.
In fact, many people City Paper spoke to said many Clevelanders have left town in attempt to avoid the chaos of the convention. “A lot of my coworkers are saying they are going out of town,” said Desmond Harrison, who lives in the east side of Cleveland.
Harrison bought $3,000 worth of unlicensed Trump merchandise in hopes of capitalizing on the popularity of the convention. But his booth, which was licensed by the City of Cleveland, was placed on the outskirts of the action, four blocks from the Quicken Loans and surrounded by eight-foot-high black chain link fence.
“It has been slow, not what I expected,” said Harrison. He thinks there is a bit of fear factor because the scene surrounding his booth looks like a “police state,” he said as 20 police officers in riot gear rode bicycles past him, in formation.
But not all areas to sell merchandise are so guarded. Many other vendors were located closer to the action on East 4th Street, a block from the arena entrance and next to temporary headquarters of many national media outlets. Some of these vendors were from as far away as York, Penn. and North Carolina. One vendor, who said he is a regular at events like these and asked not to be named, said he has spoken to other vendors who traveled from California, Georgia and Alabama. When asked if he had met any vendors from Cleveland, he said he had not.
CP reached out to the Cleveland city officials for comment on the vendor application process, but have not received a response.
And it is not just those looking to capitalize on the extra business the RNC brings who feel left out, Downtown brick and mortar shops say they are also losing business, too. Matt Schelkman, an employee at Phoenix Coffee, which is located less than half a mile from Quicken Loans, says the coffee shop has been very slow because many of their regular customers, employees of neighboring banks and finance institution, have decided to work from home during the convention.
“Not a lot of people know about us because we are a local coffee shop,” says Schelkman. “It’s unusual for a national event to not have a spotlight on local businesses.”
Schelkman expects things to improve and for people to loosen up and explore more of Downtown as the convention rolls on.
Multimedia Editor Ashley Murray talks to a local vendor trying to make some profit off of the Republican National Convention:
Vendors try to make a buck off Trump merch
By Ashley Murray
From rhinestone Republican elephants wearing signature Trump hair, to knock-off “Make U.S.A. Great Again” visors (because Trump’s got a trademark on it), everyone’s trying to make a buck.
Vendors try to make a buck off Trump merch in Cleveland.mp3
The Melania Trump plagiarism scandal train keeps on chugging along. Trump aide Paul Manafort went a little bat-shit crazy this morning over allegations that the speech was copied from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech. He called the notion "absurd" and said Melania used "use words that are common words." He even blamed Hillary Clinton. he said in the Wall Street Journal: “This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down.” I think we all need to calm down over this. In fact, in order to help bring peace, I've written a song of hope:
"When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Yeah, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be."
Shit's about to get real in Cleveland...literally... Apparently the highly contagious disease that can cause vomiting and a whole lot of diarrhea is making it's way through the California Delegation. In case you've forgotten, here's what happened the last time a high-profile Republican was feeling queasy in public.
"The message I have is that Kurds and Americans have a common foe and that foe is ISIS," Xulam said outside of the RNC secured perimeter earlier today, holding a sign that read "Free Hugs."
Throughout Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign, he's painted all Muslim people with the same broad brush, blaming Muslim-majority countries for the acts of ISIS and calling for a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants to the United States.
But Xulam told City Paper Trump's characterization is unfair. He says the United States has more in common with Muslim countries like Kurdistan than differences. And he worries about the future of the U.S. if Trump is elected. Instead of being divided he said the world should band together to develop solutions for fighting ISIS.
"What we have here is democracy in action. These delegates were elected and they in turn will possibly elect the next president," Xulam said. "It is important for your own self preservation that you help us defeat these bastards ISIS."
— Rebecca Addison
Cleveland: Open to Trump's of all walks of life. Here is Donald Trump impersonator Eric Jackman, who along with his twin brother, Michael, run a podcast called Jackman Radio. In fairness, this could be Michael.
Want to leave the RNC with a souvenir that says, "Hi, I'm Donald Trump and I want to take over the world with a fleet of flag-toting giant Eagles" ? Then CP's RNC correspondent Gabby Fellows has the item for you.