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RNC Day 3: Cruz boos, an unfortunate salute and another Trump

From astronauts going off-script to dog tricks, the Cleveland convention pulled off another day of surprises
A vendor sells buttons in support of Trump outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Photograph by Sarah Palmer)

Booed off the stage

On paper and on the podium, Ted Cruz had by far the best speech of the night—if only it weren’t for all the booing. In a wide-ranging speech with the theme of freedom at its core, Cruz only mentioned Trump once by name in congratulating him on winning the nomination and failed to endorse the Republican nominee. Instead, Cruz told the audience to “vote your conscience” in November. As some goaded Cruz with chants of “Endorse Trump,” the Texas senator replied that he appreciated the enthusiasm of the New York delegates. A pause, and then the boos began again—only louder.

Newt goes into damage control

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tried to save face on Cruz’s non-endorsement of Trump by claiming that when the Texas senator told the audience to “vote your conscience” for someone who would uphold the Constitution, then that could only be Trump.

Perhaps. Though that’s hard to believe when Cruz tweeted out again that people should “vote their conscience” and began retweeting those who said he remained true and a man of principle by not endorsing Trump.

MORE: Republicans embrace a doctrine of pessimism

Meet Mike

In his opening remarks, vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence joked that nobody had heard of him. So he introduced his mom and wife, and talked about his kids and his upbringing. His wide-ranging speech touched on his values — anti-abortion, low tax, religion — and included a few shots at Hillary Clinton, calling her the “Secretary of the Status Quo.” Trump dropped by at the end for an odd attempted kiss. And just like that, he was gone.

Eric gets trumped

Aside from speaking right after Ted Cruz wound up the crowd (and not in a good way), Trump’s second-eldest son Eric also had to deal with a Jumbotron malfunction.

The third Trump child to give a speech at the convention thus far, Eric offered few personal anecdotes, instead pitching Trump’s candidacy as a selfless act.

What the heil

Conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham taunted Ted Cruz by calling him a boy with hurt feelings, adding he’d better endorse Trump later in the evening. She called electing Hillary Clinton a “joke” that’s akin to men wearing skinny jeans or man-buns. But it’s her wave at the end of her speech that will be most remembered — mostly because of it looked kind of like a Nazi salute.

Spaced out

On the 47th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, it seemed a bit odd to have Eileen Collins, NASA’s first female shuttle commander, give a speech in support a party that has supported budget cuts for the agency. Her prepared text included the words: “We need leadership that will make America first again. That leader is Donald Trump.” On stage, she omitted the part about Trump.


A three-ring speech

Small-business owner Michelle Van Etten began her speech with an anecdote about her own early entrepreneurial skills. When she was six, she ran a circus with dog tricks for her parents to pay and watch. In what was the oddest speech of the night — with bizarre references to homeschooling her kids and going to her high school reunion — she later endorsed Trump as the “ultimate ringmaster.”


The Trump campaign previously claimed Van Etten employed more than 100,000 workers, but she clarified earlier this week to the Guardian that she actually has zero. “I don’t employ,” she said.

Taking the blame

Meredith McIver, ghostwriter of multiple Trump books, including Think like a Billionaire and How to Get Rich, accepted the blame for the plagiarism scandal that has plagued Melania Trump since opening day of the Republican National Convention. “[Melania] read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches,” McIver said in a statement. The Trump in-house writer tendered her resignation, but the Trump family declined to accept it. For Donald Trump, there’s even an upside to her blunder:

A VIP VP offer

Donald Trump’s son, Donald Jr., reportedly asked if Ohio Gov. John Kasich was interested in being the most powerful vice-president in history. The New York Times claims Trump’s eldest son reached out to a Kasich aide in May saying, as vice-president, Kasich would be in charge of both domestic and foreign policy. Trump’s role, meanwhile, would be “making America great again.” Fast forward to today. Kasich wasn’t selected as Trump’s running mate and the popular governor of a key swing state has yet to endorse Trump for president, causing a Trump aide to call him “petulant.” The Trumps deny any such offer was made.

No, the other Scott Walker

Mere months ago, Donald Trump said Scott Walker would never endorse him. And yet, in a speech on Wednesday evening, Walker thew his support behind the Republican nominee. Trump tried to tweet out his thanks to the Wisconsin governor, but accidentally tagged the a New Orleans news anchor with the same name instead.

The other Scott Walker’s reply:

Bumpy landing

On Wednesday morning, Ted Cruz alluded to his loss to Donald Trump in the presence of a crowd of his own supporters. Cue the booing of Trump. Coincidentally enough, Trump’s plane passed through the background on its descent into Cleveland.


Mexico didn’t pay for this wall

It’s a wall of sorts, but Mexico didn’t pay for it. Protesters in Cleveland, some of them undocumented Mexican immigrants, held up a mock wall saying that the country should “wall off Trump” thanks to money from an Indiegogo fundraising campaign. It wasn’t popular among the pro-Trump crowd in Cleveland.

But it wasn’t the only wall built on Wednesday.