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There was a different kind of energy in the air Tuesday, and quite a bit of activity inside and outside the convention hall. Protesters of all sorts gathered in Public Square and vociferously held forth about a variety of causes and concerns. At one point, we heard at least five different demonstrations occurring simultaneously, focused on police-citizen relations, income equality, LGBTQ rights, immigration reform, and freedom of religion. A few scuffles erupted as counter-protesters faced off, but police intervened quickly to restore order. From the main platform, a member of a Cleveland international organization took the microphone and began to play Woody Guthrie tunes.
Inside the Q, the votes were tallied and Donald Trump formally secured the Republican nomination. He was put over the top by the New York delegation, which was represented by his children. The primetime portion of the convention included speeches by two of those children, Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr. The mood in the arena was relatively subdued for much of the program, but the delegates on the floor became extremely energized by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s call-and-response presentation, a mock trial of sorts for Hillary Clinton. The evening ended with a speech from former candidate Dr. Ben Carson, a crowd favorite.
Day Two brought with it more sightings of well-known political figures. We caught both Gov. Christie and former U.S. representative and Cleveland mayor Dennis Kucinich on camera downtown. We also ran into recent HB graduate Katie McCarthy ’16, who is attending the convention with her brother, Ryan. Katie works as an intern for Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
A strong journalism presence continues to dominate, and we found ourselves interviewed about the city and asked to pitch Cleveland story ideas by several national and international outlets. To accommodate and pamper the assembled media, POLITICO magazine opened a hub on the 21st floor of the Huntington building on the corner of East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue. There, you can view a gallery of election-themed artwork and memorabilia, pick up an array of tchotchke, nosh on a buffet spread, sample beverages from Diageo, and experiment with technology supplied by Microsoft. While the X-Box Zone appealed to many, the biggest draw seemed to be the oxygen bar in the “Relax and Recharge Room.” Guests strapped on nasal cannulas and had different concoctions of fruit- and herb-infused air (each promising different restorative results) piped into their nostrils for 10 minutes at a time.
All of the out-of-towners we’ve run into who are visiting Cleveland for the first time have remarked on how friendly and welcoming the city is and how grateful they are for the attention to detail that is so evident. Civic groups have worked diligently and intentionally for more than two years to pull off the #RNCinCLE, and their efforts are paying off. Several HB alumnae have been on the front lines, working as paid staffers and volunteers for the Republican National Committee on Arrangements and the non-partisan Host Committee. We plan to connect with some of those great Cleveland ambassadors on the job later in the week, before the convention wraps.
HB will continue to offer dispatches from Cleveland during the convention, and we’d love to add more voices to the mix. Have a story or perspective to share? Please email director of marketing & communication Kathleen Osborne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hathaway Brown is a non-partisan organization, and as such does not endorse any particular political party or candidate.