Donald Trump’s convention speakers have a history of raising eyebrows – Politico
Donald Trump has been no stranger to controversial comments throughout his 13-month presidential campaign. He’s made a virtue of his unconventional speaking style, saying he’s “tired of this politically correct crap” coming from rival politicians.
“I can tell you that if I go too presidential, people are going to be very bored,” he said in April, explaining that his fans would “fall asleep” if he became more like other pols.
Story Continued Below
Trump, who has likened the upcoming Republican National Convention to a “monumentally magnificent” event that won’t put people to sleep like the 2012 convention, has now chosen his lineup of fellow speakers — and many of them share the brash reality TV star’s penchant for verbal fireworks.
While Trump’s family will play a large role in the convention — his wife and four adult children will speak — the slate of speakers includes a mix of Republican lawmakers, governors, U.S., state and local officials and athletes. While they may not all be A-listers, one thing unites them: They’re not going to be boring.
Here’s what some of Trump’s convention speakers have said in the past that has raised eyebrows:
Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White: I don’t believe in God; I f—ing hate golf
White told Playboy in 2008, “You’ll never hear me say a bad word about Donald Trump.” But God and golf are a different story.
Trump said last year during a Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, that he loves God. And the Trump Organization, which owns 17 golf clubs, labels Trump “an avid golfer” on its site.
But White, who told Playboy he was an atheist, said: “I don’t believe in God, the devil, ghosts or any of that s—. But I’m still fascinated by religion — how violent and crazy it is. That stuff sticks with you.”
As for golf? “I f—ing hate golf,” he said. “It’s a stupid game and a waste of time and good land.”
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr.: With more concealed-carry permits, we could end those Muslims
Falwell told students during the university’s convocation in December, following the San Bernardino, California, attacks, “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.”
Within days of the massacre and Falwell’s remarks, Trump himself called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: Trump is not a conservative
The former Georgia congressman, who was a finalist to be named Trump’s running mate, will speak at the convention just days after his private remarks from February surfaced, in which he said Trump is “not a conservative” and speaks at a “fourth-grade level.”
According to audio obtained Thursday by ProPublica, Gingrich told the Republican State Leadership Committee on Feb. 29 that Trump “talks at the lowest level of any candidate in either party.” Not because he’s stupid, though. But “because he knows if you talk a fourth-grade level everybody can understand you.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie: We don’t a need a reality star in the Oval Office
As the presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton is the primary roadblock on the former reality TV star’s route to the White House. But that’s precisely the kind of person who doesn’t belong in the Oval Office, Christie warned supporters in Iowa in December.
“We do not need reality TV in the Oval Office right now,” he said. “President of the United States is not a place for an entertainer.”
Following the suspension of his campaign, Christie endorsed Trump. Though reports suggest Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be named Trump’s running mate, Christie was also considered a top contender and is helping lead Trump’s transition team.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz: Trump is a pathological liar who will betray his supporters
Cruz has yet to endorse Trump but will speak at the convention, nonetheless. And as the Texas senator’s campaign neared its conclusion, Cruz went out with a bang — a blistering rant that came after the real estate mogul suggested Cruz’s father was involved with John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
“I’m gonna tell you what I really think of Donald Trump: This man is a pathological liar,” Cruz said in May. “He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth, and in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.”
He didn’t stop there. Cruz insisted Trump is a “narcissist” and a “pathological liar.”
“And I say pathological because I actually think Donald, if you hooked him up to a lie detector test, he could say one thing in the morning, one thing at noon and one thing in the evening, all contradictory and he’d pass the lie detector test each time,” he explained. “Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute he believes it, but the man is utterly amoral.”
Cruz added in his nine-minute diatribe that Trump was not only a “serial philander” but proud of it. “And he is lying to his supporters,” Cruz said. “He will betray his supporters on every issue.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
Flynn, a registered Democrat, seemed to be gaining steam as Trump’s potential running mate — and then he opened his mouth.
Flynn told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that he was “honored” to be in the discussion for Trump’s veep but expressed a pro-abortion-rights stance that he later reversed himself on following backlash from anti-abortion groups.
“I think it’s a — I think for women — and these are difficult issues, but I think women have to be able to choose what they — you know, sort of the right of choice, but I think that that’s a difficult legal decision that — and I think that women are so important in that decision-making process,” he said. “They are the ones that have to make the decision, because they’re the ones that are going to decide to bring up that child or not.”
Flynn, a former top intelligence official in the Obama administration, also has a habit of making controversial comments about Islam. In February, he tweeted: “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL: please forward this to others: the truth fears no questions.”
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Obama doesn’t love America
Giuliani knew he shouldn’t say it. He acknowledged that much before he let the words flow. But he didn’t heed his advice.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” he said last February during a private dinner in Manhattan.
He sought to clean up his comments with a Wall Street Journal op-ed, suggesting his blunt language overshadowed his message. He explained that his “intended focus was really the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance.”
Giuliani also made headlines as recently as this week. Following a week that involved high-profile police-involved killings in consecutive days — cops killed two black men, one outside a convenience store and another during a traffic stop, and a black man ambushed officers in Dallas, killing five and wounding nine others — the former mayor said that the Black Lives Matter movement was “inherently racist.”
“Black lives matter, white lives matter, Asian lives matter, Hispanic lives matter. That’s anti-American and it’s racist.” he said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke: BLM doesn’t care about black people any more than the KKK
Giuliani isn’t the only convention speaker to oppose the Black Lives Matter movement. He’s joined by others, perhaps most notably Clarke.
In an interview last month, he told Accuracy in Media the movement “doesn’t care any more about the lives of black people than the Ku Klux Klan.”
He even renamed the group “Black Lies Matter.” The group, which he specified was a “hate group,” is “nothing more than an astroturf operation,” he said. “It’s just the latest shallow, disguised confederation, if you will, of community organizers and leftists that specialize in fostering disorganization and rebellion in ghettos and other struggling areas throughout the United States of America.”
He added, “These are nothing more than riot makers and they stoke up bitterness and resentment in people; and they use the police as a distraction from the staggering failure of liberal politicians in these large urban areas where these ghettos are contained.”