Are you not entertained? Night Three of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland saw things go a bit haywire when Sen. Ted Cruz was booed during his Trump non-endorsement. But there was so much more, including Newt trying to play peacemaker. Here’s what you need to read to catch up.
Greg Bluestein and Tamar Hallerman have the day’s lede-all:
CLEVELAND — Mike Pence sought to introduce himself to the nation Wednesday and build unity around running mate Donald Trump during the third night of the Republican National Convention, but he was overshadowed by the deafening boos that chased Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz off the stage when he refused to endorse the party’s presidential nominee.
Cruz and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, two of Trump’s most formidable former opponents, were supposed to be a part of a powerful show of party unity. Instead, they both stopped short of embracing the man who, on Thursday, will accept the GOP nomination.
In an extraordinary address, restless delegates booed Cruz and drowned out part of his speech with chants as he trumpeted conservative principles, attacked Democrat Hillary Clinton — but never voiced his support for Trump. His lofty speech, one of the most anticipated of the week, evoked Trump’s name only once.
Rubio also refused to give Trump his outright endorsement — or even show at his party’s bash. He addressed the crowd on a video display.
Jim Galloway devotes his Thursday column to John Kasich, who played a far different game from Cruz this week, but one that suggests a similar eye on the next presidential cycle.
Bluestein: Newt Gingrich used his speech as a possible audition for the Trump cabinet, and to try to undo some of the Cruz fallout.
Bluestein/Hallerman: A flag-burning protest turned ugly outside the arena.
Bluestein: Mike! Pence!
Erica A. Hernandez has a cool Day in the Life video for Georgia GOP delegate Ashley Bell.
And don’t forget to stay on this page throughout the day for the AJC’s Cleveland coverage.
You’ve heard all the “lock her up” chants, and the base loves it, but Republican leaders aren’t so gung ho about putting Hillary Clinton in prison if they win the election. (Huffington Post)
Reuters reports that Oklahoma oil tycoon Harold Hamm, who spoke Wednesday, is in line to be Trump’s Energy Secretary.
Robert Draper at the New York Times Magazine has a talker on Trump’s VP search, including this amazing anecdote from the John Kasich camp:
According to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?
“Making America great again,” was the casual reply.
Time reports that the Cruz boos were orchestrated by Team Trump once they realized he wasn’t going to endorse.
Buzzfeed has the drama after the Cruz speech:
According to someone who witnessed the scene, Washington State Republican Party chairman Susan Hutchison went “bananas” on Cruz outside the elevators near the bottom level suites in the arena after Cruz’s speech, calling him a traitor. According to the source, “security kind of stepped in. Cruz folks dragged him and Heidi into an elevator and security kind of pushed her the other way. Wasn’t like anyone got arrested, it was just really dramatic.”
Hutchison confirmed the incident to BuzzFeed News, saying she called Cruz a “traitor to the party.”
“I just told him I thought his speech was inexcusable, and I was so disappointed in him,” Hutchison said. Hutchison said she didn’t recall Cruz’s response. “I was angry, everybody was angry. You heard everybody booing him. We were astounded at what he did.” Hutchison said she did not think security got involved.
Also after the speech, Cruz was turned away from megadonor Sheldon Adelson’s suite in the arena, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Yahoo’s Olivier Knox on how Trump’s most important advocate presented himself as the anti-Trump.
Maybe we’re not so entertained. CNN reports that GOP convention ratings are not up from previous years, after a year in which Trump drove cable news to new heights. But of course the headliner is not slated to have the stage to himself until tonight.
Don’t Forget About the Dems: NYT reports that Bill Clinton favors Tim Kaine as his wife’s Veep pick.
The Clinton campaign raised $36.4 million but spent $34.5 million in June — including $20 million on media in an attempt to define Trump quickly. (Politico)
Up Next: TRUMP is the headliner tonight. Also on tap: daughter Ivanka Trump, RNC chairman Reince Priebus, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, venture capitalist Peter Thiel and evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.
Today’s Discussion Topic: How does the ultimate showman meet the moment, after his convention has run off course? The Washington Post’s Dan Balz has the analysis.