Report From The Floor: First Day Of GOP Convention ‘Exhilarating’


Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani practices his speech early in the day. Photo: Brian Levine.

By Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine.

There is an air of exhilaration in the atmosphere at the Republican National Convention at “The Q,” even if attendees were supporting a different GOP candidate. Seeing delegates from all over America in one location is witnessing our democracy in motion.


Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine.

It started as we approached the Quicken Loans arena, known as “The Q,” from our hotel, which is about twenty minutes outside of downtown Cleveland. There was a large secured perimeter around the arena; we saw no protesters from our vantage point. Those of us who can enter the Q every day are given passes to wear on a lanyard around our neck; in addition, we have a New Jersey GOP ID with our name printed on it. I am an alternate delegate, so am likely not to actually cast any votes, but I do have access to enter the arena every day.

Security is tight – there was a police officer as we got on and off of our bus. Both of my IDs were checked a few times before entering The Q. As we entered the arena, TSA officers checked our bags and watched as we went through a metal detector. I did not encounter anyone who seemed fearful or anxious about potential danger; the Cleveland and Ohio police deserve great credit.
Everyone I encountered, from police to TSA to Q staff to security personnel have been extremely friendly and helpful.

Those watching on television, ironically, have an advantage over those inside The Q regarding how the speakers play out on a national level. I was not aware of the Melania Trump controversy until after most Franklin Reporter readers, as I was in the arena and did not hear analysis until Tuesday morning. Within the arena, it seemed to me that former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani received the strongest, most positive response from the delegates. Just to the side of me and below, I was able to take video of a woman who was trying to display a pink sign (I could not read it from my vantage point) that a woman in the row in front of her tried to take from her; they had a little tug-of-war with it until staff stopped it.

After one day, I am anticipatory as to how the remainder of the convention will proceed through the remainder of this week.

Editor’s Note: Freeholder Levine is an alternate delegate for New Jersey. He will be supplying us with his observations of the Republican National Convention.

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