Cleveland – As delegates streamed out of Quicken Loans Arena late Monday, many gushing over Melania Trump’s speech, they looked down to their phones to discover the reports that she lifted entire sections from a Michelle Obama address in 2008.
Soon, there were groans throughout the bus ferrying delegates back to the hotel. “Don’t be telling me that. I was really trying,” said one. “Really, really trying.”
By the time Georgia’s delegation gathered for their morning breakfast, many were dismissing the reporting as an attempt by the media to divide the GOP.
“Let’s have fun. Because to the outside, they don’t want us to,” said Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville. “All they want to talk about is what divides us. Did you see two paragraphs that were lifted? Look, most Americans don’t care. All they want is to make sure they have jobs.”
Bill Ward, an alternate delegate from Muscogee County, blamed a “sensational” media.
“It’s a black eye for the press, trying to find something negative,” said Ward.
Much of the pep talk was about what went right: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s speech seemed to be the consensus favorite.
“Rudy, Rudy, Rudy,” chanted Georgia GOP chair John Padgett. “If he had given that speech earlier,” he quipped, “he might be the one getting the nomination.”
And there were more instructions for the 76 delegates and 73 alternates expecting another late night at the Q.
“Don’t direct your attention to people acting up,” Padgett said. “And when you see a camera going by, it’s not a good time to doze off.”
And Ryan Caudelle, a Trump field operative in Atlanta, reminded the crowd to mug for the cameras. With the delegation’s prime seating, Georgia was a constant presence on all the broadcasts.
“If you’re on the floor, be alive, be awake,” said Caudelle. “Because nine times out of 10 a camera is on you.”