For those who’ve complained political conventions are overly controlled exercises in public relations, the Republican National Convention may be a dream come true.
Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump’s top competitor for the Republican presidential nomination, refused to endorse the New York businessman in a prime-time speech last night. The crowed jeered during his talk, and he left the stage to emphatic boos.
Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, shifted the mood of the evening.
His well-received remarks were aimed at social and ideological conservatives, making the argument that Trump shared their values and beliefs. That’s a message he’ll undoubtedly hit many times during the campaign.
The drama that surrounds Trump culminates in his acceptance speech tonight.
AirTalk spoke with Ben Clymer Jr., a first-time Republican delegate from the Inland Empire, about the California delegation’s reaction to Cruz’s speech and Trump’s appeal to small business workers.
“The Cruz [speech] that just happened last night had a lot of the delegates pretty upset, and the boos were intensely loud inside the stadium,” said Clymer, who works for his family’s auto repair business in Riverside County.
The interview that follows has been edited for clarity. You can listen to our full conversation with Ben Clymer, Jr. by clicking the blue play button above.
Larry Mantle: What about from the California delegation? Were most of you booing the senator by the time he was done?
Ben Clymer: Yeah, I think I was the only one perhaps not booing him. The delegation was 172 for Trump, and keep in mind he won [Riverside County] with nearly 81 percent of the vote, so it was pretty unified that they weren’t happy about that sentence he put in there.
LM: What led you to cut him slack?
BC: I don’t mind rhetoric as much as I’m a sucker for votes. [Sen.] Cruz’s votes have always been amazingly consistent. Like Bernie Sanders, he was someone who had his principles. It doesn’t matter if I agree with Bernie Sanders. I think those that were supporters of him were hoping he would have enough backbone to stay true to his convictions. But he didn’t. Ted Cruz, in his own opinion, stayed true to what he felt his convictions were. I think it could’ve been delivered a lot more effectively, and found the win-win, but he chose not to go that route. That’s Ted.
LM: How much of the fact that you work at a family business has led you to have an affinity for Donald Trump?
BC: We know firsthand what it’s like to try and keep up each and every year with all the regulations and all the rules. California every year passes approximately 1,000 new bills; the federal government — approximately 1,000 new bills. Considering 25 percent or more affect small businesses and large businesses, we simply don’t have the capacity to make sure we’re complying with 500 new business-affecting bills, which lead to thousands of pages of additional rules and regulations. The only companies that can would be your Apples and your IBMs and your Wal-Marts.
Further, when Donald Trump Jr. was talking about his time as a young man growing up with the employees that helped make his family’s company successful, I personally could resonate with that. My brother and I started very young at our family’s business, and my father did not teach us every single step of the way. He too entrusted our business education to those who helped make our company a success. That made the [Trump] family a lot more real to us, despite the fact that their success on many levels is higher [than] our own.
Ron Elving, Senior Editor and Correspondent, NPR’s Washington Desk; he joins us live from the RNC
Ange-Marie Hancock, associate professor of political science and gender studies at USC
Pete Peterson, dean of the School of Public Policy and executive director of The Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University
Ben Clymer Jr., CFO of Ben Clymer’s The Body Shop and president of the Lincoln Club of Riverside County; he is also a delegate for Donald Trump