Hours before the close of the Republican National Convention, the mood of many of the delegates assembled was one of hope and optimism that in six months, the Republican Party will recapture the White House after the last eight years of the Obama administration.
“I think after (Republican vice presidential nominee and Indiana Gov. Mike) Pence’s speech Wednesday night and what we will hear from (Republican presidential nominee Donald) Trump, America will have a clear understanding of where he will take the country and the Republican Party’s vision for America,” Carla Young, Pettis County Republican Chairwoman, and Chairwoman for the 4th Congressional District and 52nd Legislative District, said by phone from Cleveland Thursday morning. “We want him in the White House because we know what the alternative is.
“As Americans we want to go forward and that is our future with a Trump presidency,” Young added. “As a parent and a grandparent you always worry about the future you are leaving for your children and the nation needs a change from the decline we have witnessed the last eight years.”
Young said the convention had been a fantastic event that had been building and leading toward Trump’s address to the delegation, America and the world Thursday evening.
“Throughout the convention we have been learning more about Trump as a person and have been given a much clearer picture of who he is and what he stands for,” Young said. “No party is perfect and no candidate is either; we know that but Trump and Pence offer a vision for the future for the nation to move forward.”
Young commented that despite the surprise and anger many of the delegates felt after Wednesday night’s remarks from Ted Cruz, former challenger for the Republican presidential nomination, the delegates were more resolved and united in their commitment to the Trump-Pence ticket.
“I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone, but I think we were all bitterly disappointed in Cruz and his remarks last night,” Young said. “I think we were all hoping for better from Cruz.
“He had the right chance to endorse Trump and the ticket and he didn’t do it,” she added. “Many of us were discussing what he did and we all feel he should have honored his pledge and supported the ticket. When he refused to do that most of us believe that (Cruz) no longer has any future in the Republican Party.”
Young explained that as the convention began the Missouri delegation was comprised of Trump, Cruz and grassroots supporters, but once it was clear that Trump was the nominee, personal differences and feelings were set aside for the good of the party.
“Trump won the nomination fair and square,” Young stated. “Yes, words are said and exchanged in the heat of a primary or any election, I don’t like it and I don’t support it, but when you run for office you know it can happen even though it’s not right that it does.
“For many of our delegates, especially those who were Cruz supporters, I have the sense that they are very disappointed in him. In fact I spoke to some individuals who were seated near me with their heads down and they were shaking them in disappointment while he spoke,” Young added. “We all expected better of him and wanted him to stand up on behalf of Trump and the party. I don’t think there are any Cruz supporters here today, even the Cruz diehards are disappointed in his actions.”
Young stated she had heard Trump’s comment that he had received a draft of Cruz’s remarks prior to his speech before the convention.
“I think that’s just another indication of the character of Trump,” Young said. “He took the high road and let Cruz speak and he didn’t have to permit it.
“I thought the timing of Trump walking in when he did was perfect,” Young added. “He is the nominee and it was well within his right to do so.”
From the Missouri delegation and Young’s seat location, which is within feet of the VIP seating, Young said she saw no indication that Cruz’s wife or family were in any danger Wednesday evening.
“I didn’t hear or see anything about it and I was right there,” Young said. “I know there were several boos and I’m sure there were comments made but there are security and secret service agents everywhere in the arena and I don’t believe there were any physical threats made.”
Young credited former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as someone who neutralized Cruz’s remarks.
“Gingrich had to depart from his prepared remarks to neutralize Cruz but he did so to do what is best for the party and he should be commended for that,” Young added.
Another speaker who Young felt captivated the audience and did his job was Pence.
“I absolutely loved Gov. Pence and his remarks last night,” Young commented. “I felt electricity among the delegates when he spoke and we are all very excited to have him on the ticket.
“He is a great candidate for the position and is right for Trump,” Young added. “The tone of his speech was perfect in explaining who he is and what he stands for.”
Young added that she was eagerly awaiting the speeches from Trump’s oldest daughter Ivanka and Trump himself.
“I have been very impressed with all the Trump children; they sit in the middle with the delegates and they are willing to sign autographs and talk to us,” Young said. “I think they would do more but the Secret Service steps in and cuts them off at times.
“Ivanka is a very poised and articulate young woman who I think will give us even more insight into Trump’s real personality and character.”
The direction of America under a Trump administration is something Young is excited to hear as well.
“Trump is very presidential despite how he has been portrayed,” Young said. “This week has done a great deal to let the delegates and America know the person behind the man and who he is and what he stands for.
“He makes no excuses or apologies and he is in it to win it,” she added. “(Thursday) night is his opportunity to let all of us know where he and the party will lead us.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.