The Latest: Action, mischief are players at GOP confab


CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (EDT):

3:20 p.m.

There is no shortage of action inside the convention hall as anti-Trump delegates work to cause mischief behind the scenes.

A steady stream of speakers has already been featured at the podium. They include several state and country Republican officials, with a special welcome from one Democrat: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. He got a warm reception from the hundreds of Republican delegates seated in the main convention hall.

In between speakers, loud music is pumping throughout the basketball arena. A band set off to the side of the stage played a cover of the popular Canadian band, Rush, among others.

At other times, Republican governors from across the nation are featured on video screens throughout the arena — including some governors who are not participating in the formal convention program. They include Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Susana Martinez, who are in Cleveland this week, but boycotting Trump’s’ convention.

The higher profile-speakers, such as actors Scott Baio and Duck Dynasty star Will Robertson will take the stage later tonight.

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3:15 p.m.

The Trump campaign is fighting back against an attempt to force a state-by-state roll call to approve the rules of the convention.

Anti-Trump delegates have submitted petitions from delegates in at least nine states calling for the roll call vote. Such a vote probably won’t change the outcome of the convention, but it could disrupt the first day of an event designed to show GOP unity behind Donald Trump.

However, Utah delegate Aimee Winder Newton says the Trump campaign is passing around a form allowing people to remove their names from the petition. Basically, it’s a second petition to un-sign the first. She says no one appears to be taking them up on it.

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2:49 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie describes presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as generous, citing as proof his quick offer to donate money to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts.

But Trump isn’t listed in a final report thanking the more than 150 people and companies that donated at least $25,000 to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund effort run by Christie’s wife, Mary Pat, after the devastating 2012 storm.

Christie told Michigan’s Republican delegation in Ohio Monday that the billionaire businessman asked Mary Pat “How much does the check need to be?” and said “just tell me, and I’ll send it.”

Spokespeople for Trump, Christie and a board member of the fund didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

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2:46 p.m.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson says that Donald Trump made the right choice when he selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, describing the ticket as “anti-establishment, but not crazy.”

Carson tells The Associated Press in an interview Monday that he believes Pence adds crucial experience to the ticket — along with fundraising prowess.

He also expects a Trump presidency would be very different from the unconventional campaign that he’s been running.

Carson says that, “we’re more the WWE Raw society right now” and says candidates need to understand that when they’re running for office.

“You have to give to people the raw meat that they seek,” he says.

But he expects Trump would mellow if he won the White House. “I don’t think he would be the WWE president,” he says.

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2:40 p.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is on his way to Cleveland to be confirmed as Donald Trump’s running mate.

Pence boarded a private jet Monday afternoon at Indianapolis International Airport with his wife, Karen, and one of his daughters for the trip to the Republican National Convention.

The Republican governor had returned to Indiana on Saturday following his formal debut that morning as Donald Trump’s running mate in Manhattan.

Pence didn’t make any remarks or take any questions before his Monday departure, which wasn’t open to the public. Pence is expected to speak Wednesday during the GOP convention.

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2:25 p.m.

Members of the GOP convention’s rules committee say there will be no changes that could deny the Republican nomination to Donald Trump.

There are still efforts to force a state-by-state roll call on the rules for the convention. Such a maneuver could draw out the process and disrupt the flow of the convention. But it won’t change the outcome.

“The war is over, Donald Trump will be the nominee,” said Bruce Ash, an Arizona delegate who sits on the rules committee.

Dissident delegates want to change the rules to allow them to vote their conscience. Under current rules, they must vote for the candidate who won them.

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1:44 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is condemning the killing of three Louisiana law enforcement officers, saying police represent the “rule of law” and the shootings amount to taking aim “at all of us.”

Clinton was speaking Monday at the NAACP national convention in Cincinnati. The Democratic presidential candidate says after the shooting of the officers in Baton Rouge, “this madness has to stop.”

Clinton says the recent killings of police officers in Dallas and now in Baton Rouge threaten the ability of the nation to make progress. She says police “represent the rule of law itself. If you take aim at that and them, you take aim at all of us.”

The former secretary of state says anyone who kills a police officer or acts as an accomplice must be held accountable.

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1:34 p.m.

Newt Gingrich says the Bush family is behaving “childishly” for skipping this week’s Republican National Convention.

In a Monday morning interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” at the RNC site in Cleveland, the former GOP House speaker said “the Republican party has been awfully good to the Bushes and they’re showing remarkably little gratitude.”

He says the family needs to “get over” former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s loss to presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in the primary race.

Gingrich also says he’s not disappointed that he was passed over by Trump for the vice presidential slot on the Republican ticket in favor of Indiana Governor Mike Pence. He says if the job is to court support from “regular Republicans,” then Pence “will do a much better job.”

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1:24 p.m.

A group of dissident conservatives says it’s gathered the signatures needed to force a showdown vote over Republican rules on the GOP national convention’s first day.

Party leaders have been trying to avert the clash in hopes of projecting an image of a united party as delegates gather to formally nominate Donald Trump to be president. They’ve been lobbying to try to head off the clash, and expect to win if such a vote occurs.

But just after the convention was gaveled into session on Monday, a dissident group called Delegates Unbound said in an email that it had gathered statements calling for a roll call by a majority of delegates from 10 states. Under GOP rules, a roll call can be demanded if most delegates from seven states sign such a statement.

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1:00 p.m.

Republicans have opened their convention in Cleveland where they’ll nominate Donald Trump to be the party’s presidential standard-bearer in November.

Party chairman Reince Preibus kicked off the four-day event. He almost immediately asked for a moment of silence to remember those who been killed during recent “troubling times.”

The major speakers are slated for the evening when Melania Trump, wife of the candidate, addresses the delegates.

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11:59 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is condemning the killing of three Louisiana law enforcement officers, saying police represent the “rule of law” and the shootings amount to taking aim “at all of us.”

Clinton was speaking Monday at the NAACP national convention in Cincinnati. The Democratic presidential candidate says after the shooting of the officers in Baton Rouge, “this madness has to stop.”

Clinton says the recent killings of police officers in Dallas and now in Baton Rouge threaten the ability of the nation to make progress. She says police “represent the rule of law itself. If you take aim at that and them, you take aim at all of us.”

The former secretary of state says anyone who kills a police officer or acts as an accomplice must be held accountable.

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12:29 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says that he’s relieved Donald Trump chose a governor to be his running mate and that “we don’t need another big mouth from Congress.”

Christie told a group of Michigan Republicans gathered in Ohio Monday that Trump needed someone with him who has governed.

Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were runners-up to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in Trump’s vice presidential search. Christie didn’t mention Gingrich when making the “big mouth” comment.

Christie told reporters Sunday that he was disappointed he wasn’t chosen, but has “no discontent.”

Speaking at a hotel outside of Cleveland, Christie told the Michigan delegation that the GOP needs to come together to defeat Hillary Clinton .

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12:12 p.m.

Melania Trump is drawing lots of online interest ahead of her prime time speech at the Republican National Convention.

The wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday morning was the most widely searched of the convention’s GOP speakers among Google users.

Google Trends says actor Scott Baio and David A. Clarke Jr., the sheriff in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, also are drawing wide interest.

Baio is a veteran actor who has starred the shows “Charles In Charge,” ”Joanie Loves Chachi” and “Happy Days.” Clarke, who is African-American, has spoken out against the Black Lives Matter movement and blames its supporters for inflaming racial tensions.

Meanwhile, the top searched political issues on Monday were “police,” ”race issues” and “ISIS.”

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12:06 p.m.

Newt Gingrich says last-ditch efforts by conservative delegates to block Donald Trump’s nomination at the Republican National Convention are “silly” and should stop.

Gingrich is among those that Trump considered to become his running mate and is the former House speaker.

Some outnumbered delegates are trying to force the GOP to make rules changes that would include letting delegates back any presidential candidate they’d like and weaken the power of Republican Party leaders.

The Georgia Republican says of that effort, “It’s silly. Trump carried 37 states. He’s going to be the nominee.”

Gingrich spoke to a reporter outside the convention center as delegates filed into the Quicken Loans Arena for Monday’s start of the convention.

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11:55 a.m.

Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers?

The speaker of the House is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan and part owner of the publicly-owned team. But at a breakfast appearance before the Pennsylvania delegation Monday, Ryan was not afraid to pander to his audience, including dozens of ardent Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

“I want to win this election so darn badly that I am willing to do this!” Ryan shouted as he waved a yellow-and-black “Terrible Towel” waved by Steelers fans at NFL games. The crowd cheered wildly.

Ryan said he was relieved that the towels no longer are made in Wisconsin, as they were when he campaigned in Pittsburgh as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2012.

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11:49 a.m.

Republicans are delicately thinking of the 2020 presidential campaign before Donald Trump even accepts the 2016 GOP presidential nomination in Cleveland.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton didn’t speak of the next presidential campaign during an address to about 100 Republican activists at a downtown convention center as the GOP convention opened. But some delegates present said they heard a potential 2020 candidate speaking.

Jane Page of Aiken, South Carolina, said the group is “really good at identifying candidates four, even six years out,” and added that Cotton, a freshman senator, is “impressive.”

Cotton, a 37-year-old former U.S. House member and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, railed on Democratic President Barack Obama’s national security policies, and touted a more aggressive military policy.

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11:23 a.m.

Minnesota Republicans are backing a last-ditch effort that could hinder business mogul Donald Trump’s nomination for the president.

Republicans prepared to start their convention Monday, with an expected vote in the afternoon on the rules that will govern the week. Insurgent delegates have circulated a petition to force a state-by-state vote as part of their bid to deny Trump the nomination.

Minnesota delegate Matt Pagano confirmed a majority of the state’s 38 delegates supported a roll call vote. A majority of delegates from seven states must back the effort to force a roll call vote.

Minnesota handed Trump one of his worst finishes in an otherwise strong primary season performance this winter. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio won the state, and Trump finished third with 8 delegates.

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