RNC Update, Day 2, With Amy Tarkanian


Nathan Rott/NPR

"Hillary for Prison" merchandise is a top-seller at the dozens of vendor stands outside of the Republican National Convention in downtown Cleveland.

The early news out of the Republican National Convention had to do with delegates.

Those representing Iowa and Colorado walked out after not getting a roll call vote on procedural rules that would have allowed delegates to vote for someone other than Donald Trump.

But, both delegations came back in later.

And there were lots of speeches.

Speeches accusing Hillary Clinton of being a criminal.

Speeches asserting that Black Lives Matter is an anarchist movement.

Speeches asserting that President Obama has not created any jobs.

Speeches explaining why Donald Trump would be the best choice for the country. 

And a speech by Melania Trump that garnered a LOT of attention.

With us to give us an update on what the Nevada delegation thought of all of this is Amy Tarkanian. She's a former chair of the Nevada Republican Party and a delegate at the convention.


The New York Times says the only thing unifying the Republican Party is hatred of Hillary Clinton. Chris Christie and others called her a criminal. Do agree with this?

Support comes from

It is definitely in question. You have the FBI basically saying she has said that things are true, when they're saying they're not true at all. She's been caught in several lies. Definitely her integrity and her character are in question.

Trump was nominated yesterday, but 721 delegates voted against him. Both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell seemed restrained in their speeches. Are you worried about party unity?

No, I'm not at all. In fact, I'm looking forward to today's speeches with Senator Cruz especially. I'm hoping he's going to give a unifying speech. It seems like Speaker Ryan is onboard. 

He didn't seem restrained to me, being here live in the audience. It seemed everyone was very energized. Everyone was very excited and I think we are finally moving in the right direction.

The Nevada delegation voted for Trump. It did not walk out with the Iowa and Colorado delegations. What did you think of the walk out?

From what I can tell, I don't think the entire delegation walked out. I think it was just some of those who were not happy walked out. But it was not entire delegations. I think that was blown out of proportion.

There some people here who are part of that Never Trump movement. I like to call them the Never Trump gnats. I find it counter productive at this point. 

Do you think Melania Trump is being treated fairly over the 52 words that some people say were taken from a speech by Michelle Obama?

You have somebody who speaks multiple languages, who is not an extrovert by nature, and you know she's spent hours on being prepped on how to present herself, on how to pronounce the words to the best of her ability. I think it's a shame that they're doing this to her. 

I don't know whoever was responsible for that portion of the speech is being held accountable or not (Following this interview, the Associated Press reported that speechwriter Meredith McIvers admitted the mistake and offered to resign but Trump rejected it.) Clearly, that part was pretty identical. But I think overall, she presented well. We are very proud of her. I thought she was stunning inside and out and I think when you have somebody like Hillary Clinton, who has been caught in multiple lies and untruths, why aren't we focused on that? Instead of somebody who is trying her very best to just do a good job for her husband and for her family and for her nation.

The theme of the day two of the RNC was "Make America Work Again," but Nevada is largely working again after the Great Recession. Where do you see Trump's policies adding jobs to the state?

He is definitely focusing on small businesses, which is important. Republicans do praise the entrepreneurs. We definitely focus on getting governments off our backs. We are not wanting to add any more tax burden on the folks who are trying to put food on the tables.

I'm not too happy with this last legislative session in Nevada, putting the largest tax increase in our state's history in our laps. But, I do believe overall that Republicans do want small government and less taxes. And that seems to be what Mr. Trump is focused on.

What are the state party and the Trump campaign doing to reach out to the immigrant community?

I think that is also something that media has done incorrectly and unfairly. If you were to look at the campaign staff and the worker bees and the people who are here representing each state as delegates it is pretty diverse.

There are a number of Hispanics who are onboard with Mr. Trump. There are number of African Americans who are onboard with Mr. Trump. In fact, one of my favorite roll call presenters was from California and she was an African-American woman and she had her three boys with her.

Mr. Trump has a lot of support from a diverse community and that's just something that the media wants to basically brush aside.


Amy Tarkanian, a former chair of the Nevada Republican Party and a delegate at the convention.

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