Some state delegates wore hats shaped like yellow wedges of cheese (Wisconsin), some of the hats were green and shaped like little trees.
But it was the dignified, albeit exultant red, white and blue state delegates from Donald J. Trump’s home State of New York who put the vote count over the top, and sealed his party’s nomination for president of the United States of America.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., led the state’s delegates in announcing they had the privilege of putting his father “it is my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top with 89 delegate votes” from the Empire State. Surrounded by his siblings, the younger Trump added in a happy shout, “Congratulations Dad, we love you!”
At the end of the vote, Trump had won 1725 votes; by comparison, opponents Texas Senator Ted Cruz had garnered 484, Ohio Governor John Kasich had 125, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio had 234.
The magic number needed to win the nomination was 1237. Alaska’s head of delegation came to the microphone after the roll call, saying it was contesting its delegate vote count and demanding a review.
House Speaker and Republican National Convention chairman Paul Ryan gravely acknowledged the demand; he also immediately agreed to hold the review, saying the delegation should meet with vote officials alongside the convention in order to address the issue.
Within minutes, however, it became clear the night was going to belong to Donald Trump despite the best efforts of Ted Cruz to up-end that eventuality.
Still to be heard from are the Trump children and the candidate himself, as well as the various other speakers who will talk about why they think the citizens of the United States should vote for Donald J. Trump.
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, rabbi emeritus of New York City’s Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun and the rabbi who is known for having converted Ivanka Trump, has backed out of his commitment to offer the invocation Monday at the U.S. Republican National Convention.
The rabbi was to offer the prayer in Cleveland but reconsidered out of his growing discomfort with having to deal with anti-Trump elements — including those he has found within his own congregation, according to a report by the New York Sun.
Rabbi Lookstein, who has also served as the head of the modern Orthodox Ramaz High School, said in an announcement that once he was listed as a speaker at the GOP convention “the whole matter turned from rabbinic to political, something which was never intended.”
According to the Sun, it was Ivanka Trump who invited the rabbi to offer the invocation in Cleveland.
But when faced with the naysayers in his own community — and those elsewhere — he reconsidered and instead, publicly released his prayer in a statement to the masses with the hope Ivanka’s father would forgive the move and release him from his commitment.
Rabbi Lookstein has recently experienced his own personal discomfort after having his conversions challenged by the Chief Rabbinical Court of the State of Israel, which backed a decision by the Rabbinical Court of the city of Petach Tikva.
It is possible that he decided he’d simply had his fill of controversy for one season.
The invocation he published, and was to deliver is as follows:
“Eternal God: We thank you for this blessed nation that for 240 years has translated into reality the Biblical command to ‘proclaim liberty throughout the land for all the inhabitants thereof.’ We thank you for our constitutional government that has created and fostered the American ideals of democracy, freedom, justice and equality for all, regardless of race, religion, or national origin...
“Almighty God: We know that we are living in very dangerous times, when all of these blessings are threatened from without, by forces of terror and unimaginable brutality, and from within, by those who sow the seeds of bigotry, hatred and violence, putting our lives and our way of life at risk. And so we pray, Dear God: Help us to form a government which will protect us with sound strategy and steady strength; which will unite us with words of wisdom and acts of compassion; and which will thereby bring peace and harmony, safety and well-being to our beloved America and to all of humankind, and let us all say, Amen.”
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has chosen Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate — but Trump has deferred making the official announcement, planned for a Friday news conference — “out of respect for this horrible, horrible attack that happened in Nice…. It would be totally inappropriate to have a new conference on this in light of the terror attack in France.”
Trump condemned the attack with a statement approximately eight minutes after news of the attack broke on worldwide news networks.
Instead he said he would reschedule the official announcement, he told commentator Billy O’Reilly on the “Spin Zone” program on Fox News on Thursday evening.
Pence, 57, is a “born-again” Conservative Christian who signed into law a ban on abortions when the fetus has a disability, a major Republican move — but he grew up as a Democrat and to this day loves the late “Camelot” U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
He is known as a strong supporter of the State of Israel, which he says is a result of his Christian faith. This year he signed a bill divesting Indiana from local businesses that participate in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Pence met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders during a trade mission to the Jewish State in 2014.
The first-term governor spent 12 years (six terms) as a member of Congress and earlier in the campaign was a supporter of Texas Congressman Ted Cruz.
House Speaker Paul Ryan refers to him as a “personal friend.”
During his time in Washington DC, Pence served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and also on one dealing with technology. In 2008 he was elected chairman of the Republican Conference, the Number 3 spot in the party.
Pence has long experience in foreign affairs and has been a major critic of the JCPOA nuclear deal signed last year with Iran by the five world powers led by the United States, saying it was a threat to Israel.
Pence has also maintained a vigorous relationship with the pro-Israel AIPAC lobby organization. During his tenure as a member of Congress pushed for military defense aid for Israel.
Ginsburg had said in a New York Times interview published Monday, “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president … For the country, it could be four years. For the Court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.” She added a remark her late husband would say on such occasions: ‘Now it’s time to move to New Zealand.”
After a firestorm of criticism that followed the report, however, Ginsburg said in a statement released Thursday morning by the Court: “On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them. Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office.
“In the future I will be more circumspect.”
The Times had asked Trump for a response to Ginsburg’s comments following her interview. “I think it’s a disgrace to the Court, and I think she should apologize to the Court,” he told the newspaper.
Alan Clemmons, a member of the GOP Platform committee, who on Monday wrote on his Facebook page that he was “honored to propose a strong Israel Plank of the GOP Platform” (See Lori Lowenthal Marcus’s report in today’s Jewish Press), also mentioned that “unfortunately, the saga is not over. The rumor is that AIPAC is trying to recruit surrogates on the Committee to oppose and weaken our strong Israel Plank language tomorrow when it comes before the full committee for approval.”
Last week, the Washington Free Beacon revealed that “AIPAC pursued a quiet campaign to weaken pro-Israel language in the Republican Party’s 2012 platform.” According to the WFB, “AIPAC-backed changes to the 2012 platform included the removal of support for an ‘undivided’ Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the removal of language calling for the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,” ostensibly to insure a balance on Israel between the Democratic and the Republican platforms.
AIPAC’s success in weakening the 2012 pro-Israel language left some Republicans angry, according to sources who told the Free Beacon that the fight over the platform’s Israel language is likely to renew next week in Cleveland.
AIPAC denied working to cool down the pro-Israel language in the 2012 GOP platform.
But Jeff Dunetz, writing for The Lid, reported Monday that he “was able to contact another person involved with the committee who [confirmed] that they too heard that AIPAC is working on a full court press to roll back the 2016 GOP language.”
Jeff Ballabon, chairman of Iron Dome Alliance, who told the Jewish Press‘ Lori Lowenthal Marcus on Monday evening that AIPAC “is amongst the most firmly pro-Two States,” and that “Republican pro-Israel legislators have grown increasingly less enthusiastic about AIPAC,” also told Jeff Dunetz that he is “personally familiar with a number of instances where AIPAC lobbied against Israel’s clear interests and stated policies in pursuit of their own agenda.”
Clemmons, who posted a link to the Dunetz story on his Facebook page, called on his fellow registered Republican Jews: “If you know any Platform Delegates please send them a note to STAND STRONG FOR ISRAEL!!!”
At this point, these are only rumors based on last week’s story about AIPAC and the 2012 GOP platform language. It should be said that, even if AIPAC denies the new rumor, which they probably will, their involvement in preventing a war between the GOP and DNC over who is more pro-Israel is understandable. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have attempted to make Israel the battlefield where the two sides in this election would fight each other, and no one in their right mind would want this — especially not a political PAC investing in ongoing, day in and day out pro-Israel lobbying.
“He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what? He did well. He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over,” Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina Tuesday. In comparison, Trump said, “today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard. Okay? So sad.”
That assertion may be challenged by Israelis, as Clinton’s senior campaign adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN, “In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism — one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes.”
Then Sullivan added that “Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
Not necessarily so. In retrospect, after the violent collapse of the “Arab Spring” everywhere but in Tunisia, Trump’s assessment of what the Arab world requires to keep it stable is not necessarily democracy. Back in October, 2015, Trump said he believed Iraq and Libya would be more useful in forging a stable Middle East if ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi had not been terminated by a succession of American presidents.
“If you look at Iraq from years ago,” Trump said in October, “I’m not saying [Hussein] was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rushed to the defense of both Bushes and Obama, telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Saddam Hussein “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.”
Yes, but, in the immortal words of FDR, when someone asked him about the wisdom of supporting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB.” Back in 1979, when Iran’s Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which drove the US out of Iran (and kept hundreds of American hostages), only Saddam Hussein was able to limit the spread of Iranian influence in the region. The Iran–Iraq War lasted from September 1980 to August 1988, exacting millions of victims in the service of Western interests in the region. No Arab democracy (an oxymoron if ever there was one) could have stopped Iran. The only force able to facilitate Iran’s yearning for regional hegemony were presidents Bush I and Bush II, followed by Obama.
On July 25, 1990, US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie held an emergency meeting with Saddam, who attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Saddam complained bitterly: “So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights.”
Saddam was referring to his neighboring oil sheiks “drilling sideways” into Iraqi deposits. Saddam viewed the entire concept of there even being a country named Kuwait to have been a conspiracy of British Petroleum and Her Majesty’s government to steal oil-rich Iraqi land. Saddam felt that in light of his service to the US, he should receive its support in his conflict with the Kuwaitis.
Ambassador Glaspie replied that the US would rather see the conflict resolved through peaceful means, but in the end, “…we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”
And so, after his ultimatum to the Sabah ruling family of Kuwait had failed, Saddam invaded Kuwait, believing the US was going to take a neutral position on his move. But his move frightened the Saudis, whose Ambassador under both Bush administrations had his own desk in the Oval office, and they pressured Bush I to start what is now a 26-year program of completely destabilizing the Middle East, complete with attacks on US soil, lingering civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, two worldwide Islamic terrorist armies, one of them a Caliphate wannabe blowing up half of Europe. All of which could have been avoided had the Bush I and certainly Bush II administrations been more accommodating to the monstrous dictator who used to be our monstrous dictator.
The Democratic and Republican establishments insist on presenting Trump as an admirer of dictators, which he may be — but that was not the case Trump has been making for boosting rather than unseating dictators, such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Trump has a much clearer view regarding US foreign interest than do the establishment politicians on either side of the aisle, and it ain’t about spreading the spirit od democracy and goodwill to all mankind.
A U.S. Jewish political action committee (PAC) called the ‘Iron Dome Alliance‘ is calling on the Republican Party to recognize Judea and Samaria as the indigenous homeland of the Jewish People, and Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.
The PAC actually has asked both the GOP and the Democratic Party to include the recognition in their official platforms, including the regions under a geographic description of the ‘Land of Israel.’
The Alliance states on its website the belief that the ‘State of Israel is the modern re-establishment of the sovereign nation state of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland and that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish State of Israel, and the spiritual capital of the Jewish people.”