Republican National Convention underway in Cleveland - – Rockford’s News Leader

Republican National Convention underway in Cleveland


The latest on activity at the Republican National Convention. All times are local: 

10:39 a.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says "fears and concerns" about Democrat Hillary Clinton "are the most compelling things" that will unite Republicans behind Donald Trump.

Walker told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday from Cleveland that a central theme of his speech at the Republican National Convention there on Wednesday night will be that "America deserves better" than Clinton.

Walker has been a reluctant supporter of Trump, having urged his defeat after dropping out of the presidential race in September and endorsing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Wisconsin's primary. Walker says Monday that his concerns about Trump have been gradually easing.

He says he is "thrilled" with Trump's selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. Walker says that shows Trump is serious about governing.

10:36 a.m.

One Ohio Republican campaign says there's no feud here.

Sen. Rob Portman's campaign manager is denying reports of a rift between Portman and Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Corry Bliss says the report from Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is "totally false."

Earlier Monday, Manafort told an audience at a Bloomberg breakfast that Portman was "upset" with Kasich and believes the governor is hurting his re-election campaign.

Bliss later responded that the GOP senator and Kasich "are working hand in hand" to defeat Democrat Ted Strickland and said any suggestion otherwise "is inaccurate."

Manafort says Portman "is embarrassing his state" by refusing to endorse Trump and skipping the Cleveland convention.

10:29 a.m.

Donald Trump's campaign chair says he has "close to 20" states on his list of competitive general election battlegrounds.

Paul Manafort says that includes such states as Connecticut and Oregon, which he says are coming into play. Both states have voted for Democrats going back at least six elections.

Manafort says Trump has five or six pathways to getting the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency. He also mentioned states including Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and Virginia.

Trump has previously said he's interested in flipping states like New York that have long been Democratic strongholds. However, Manafort says New York is not on his target list.

Manafort spoke at a Bloomberg breakfast.

10:22 a.m.

Donald Trump's campaign manager says the celebrity businessman will speak at the Republican National Convention Monday night to introduce his wife, Melania.

Paul Manafort said in a news conference that Trump and his wife would fly to Cleveland in the hours before Melania's speech at the convention.

The GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting will introduce his wife onstage, Manafort said. Trump said earlier in the day on "Fox & Friends" that his wife will speak about her "love of the country" as an immigrant from Slovenia.

Melania Trump will be the first of several members of the candidate's family who will speak at the convention to "paint a picture" of Trump's character beyond what America "saw during the primaries," Manafort said.

The couple will then return to New York.

Trump is slated to return to Cleveland on Wednesday. His acceptance speech is scheduled for Thursday.

 10:01 a.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich's choice to skip the GOP convention in Cleveland is turning into a feud with Donald Trump's campaign.

State GOP Chairman Matt Borges tweeted Monday that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, "doesn't know what he's talking about" when he said Kasich is hurting his state and a key Senate incumbent in a tough re-election race.

Borges tweeted, "Manafort still has a lot to learn about Ohio politics," adding, "Hope he can do better."

Kasich has declined to endorse Trump and is spending convention week meeting with state delegations and other Republican groups.

9:41 a.m.

Paul Ryan is ignoring Donald Trump and focusing on the House GOP agenda as he opens his visit to the Republican convention in Cleveland.

The House speaker used an appearance at his home-state Wisconsin delegation breakfast Monday to talk about a six-plank "better way" agenda he's rolled out in Congress.

It deals with poverty, national security, health care and other issues. Ryan says the agenda is about "giving people a choice" in the election.

But the speaker made no mention of Trump as he spoke for more than 10 minutes. Ryan hesitated for weeks before endorsing the businessman.

Ryan will deliver a speech to the convention on Tuesday.

9:25 a.m.

Republican Donald Trump is suggesting the man who killed two police officers and a sheriff's deputy in Baton Rouge on Sunday had connections with "radical Islam," despite early indications he had no known ties to any extremist groups.

In a phone interview with "Fox & Friends" Monday, Trump said former Marine Gavin Eugene Long "seems to be a member of that group also. It seems to be something going on there."

A host interjected, saying the man belonged instead to the Nation of Islam.

Trump responded: "He is bad people ... no question about it."

It's unclear whether Long was a member of either group.

Trump also appeared to blame people who knew the gunman for failing to turn him in, saying it was clear he "had a lot of hate."

The attack comes less than two weeks after Alton Sterling, a black man, was fatally shot by police in the city.

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