Committee shuts down effort by Never Trump movement to allow delegates to vote according to their conscience
The desperate last-ditch attempt to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee was quashed in a late night committee meeting on Thursday.
The rules committee of the Republican National Convention shut down an effort by the Never Trump movement to allow delegates to vote according to their conscience and not be bound by the result of their states primaries. The hope of these advocates of freeing the delegates is that, once unbound and free to oppose Trump, they would deny the presumptive nominee a majority on the floor of the convention and force a second ballot.
The process for them to do so was to gain to the support of one quarter of the rules committee so that they would have the backing of a minority report on allowing delegates to be unbound and freely votes their conscience. However, they fell far short of doing so.
The effort was shut down in a series of votes, many of which were held without debate as the Trump campaign organized delegates to force speedy votes. The only time there was a recorded vote on the topic, only a dozen members of the committee supported the Never Trump effort, far short of the 28 needed to force a minority report.
The Trump effort to shut down opposition featured Utah senator Mike Lee being left standing at a microphone unable to speak on a motion to allow delegates to freely vote their conscience if they had qualms about the candidate they were pledged to after a procedural motion to end debate passed after only one speaker.
The only proponent of the topic to speak before debate ended, Kendal Unruh of Colorado, compared forcing delegates to vote for a candidate to which they were morally opposed to forcing doctors to perform abortions.
There were occasional glimmers of debate as Lee argued that the Trump campaigns efforts to avoid a floor fight were counterproductive.
This problem, this angst is not going to go away because we paper it over with rules.
He argued the Trump campaign should make the case to those delegates that they should support him, dont make the case that they should be silenced.
Lee was immediately rebuked by Steve Munisteri, the former chairman of the Republican party of Texas, who argued that the Utah senator was ignoring the grassroots by trying ignore those who voted for Trump. He added passionately to Lee: Sir, there is nobody else running for president in this party besides Donald Trump.
The Trump campaign took a victory lap after their triumph. Although campaign staffers were feeling confident that they would hold Never Trump to about 20 votes, their efforts, buoyed by a text message based whip operation, were even more successful than anticipated.
Shortly after the last vote on unbinding delegates, Paul Manafort, Trumps convention manager and top strategist, tweeted: Anti-Trump people get crushed at Rules Committee. It was never in doubt: Convention will honor will of people & nominate @realDonaldTrump.