We’re not even officially in the general election, but Hillary Clinton has a double-digit lead over Donald Trump, Republican luminaries like George Will have left the party, and now, nobody wants to speak at the Republican National Convention in less than a month.
Politico contacted 50 Republicans about whether they wanted to speak at this year’s RNC. Collectively, the answer was a resounding “meh,” with many prominent Republicans saying they wouldn’t even attend the convention, let alone speak at it. The non-attendees include New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte and South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham. Among those who won’t speak? Ohio senator Rob Portmann, who is hosting several events in Cleveland during the convention week. Former Trump opponent and current Ohio governor John Kasich declined to state whether he would speak at the convention.
This is a big reversal from years past, when party politicians would clamor for a speaking slot at conventions. After all, Barack Obama became known on a national scale after speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. In 2008 and 2012, John McCain and even Mitt Romney were able to attract a lot of prospective speakers to their conventions. It’s one thing for a ton of musicians to stop Trump from using their music, since they usually want to stay apolitical, or for a sponsor like Apple to refuse to participate, but the lack of Republican speakers speaks to (heh) how ambivalent the party feels about their nominee.
Trump has a solution, though. He’ll likely have his adult children Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka speak. Trump supporters Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ryan Zinke will probably accept invitations as well. Trump reportedly wants to spotlight celebrities like professional athletes at a “Winners’ Evening” as well. Good luck getting LeBron James to speak at that.