Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel speaks at the opening of the first day of the Republican National Convention …Read More
WASHINGTON: US Republicans begin their four-day virtual convention on Monday night with family drama roiling the Grand Old Party.
Dubbed the Trumpublican Convention because it ostensibly celebrates the cult of Trump with the opening day featuring almost every member of the President’s brood and its fanboys as speakers at the expense of party stalwarts, the event is being buffeted by turmoil not only within the larger Trump family, but also in families of two prominent Trump supporters.
In an extraordinary case, the plaintive cry of a 15-year old daughter for help and attention has caused Kelly Anne Conway, the President’s longtime aide and senior counselor, to announce that she is leaving the White House at the end of the month to attend to family matters. Her husband George Conway, who is as ferociously anti-Trump as his wife is a fierce Trump defender, has also said he is stepping back from political activity to attend to the family.
“I will be transitioning from the White House at the end of this month. George is also making changes. We disagree about plenty but we are united on what matters most: the kids,” Kellyanne Conway said in a statement, explaining, “Our four children are teens and ‘tweens starting a new academic year, in middle school and high school, remotely from home for at least a few months. As millions of parents nationwide know, kids ‘doing school from home’ requires a level of attention and vigilance that is as unusual as these times.”
It is not unusual in the US for bedfellows to make strange politics (most famously James Carville and Mary Matalin, married to each other, staffed opposing party campaigns in 1992). But Conway couple’s political loyalties are so intense that it had caused their 15-year daughter to repeatedly go public about discord at home, including seeking “emancipation” from her parents and asking to be adopted by liberal firebrand congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
The parents finally put politics on the backburner after Claudia – who has called Trump an “effing idiot” — threatened to run away on finding out her mother was listed to speak at the Republican Convention. “For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama,” Conway said in a statement, pledging to spend more time with thec children.
In a separate family drama, Jerry Falwell, a prominent right-wing Christian leader whose endorsement of Trump brings him Conservative Christian support, claimed in a statement that his wife had an affair in 2012 with a 21-year old poolboy whose subsequent blackmail about the fling had disrupted his life. The scandal, which invited derision from liberal circles because Christian fundamentalists are always preaching family values, comes in the face of unstinting support for Trump from the religious right despite his own personal peccadilloes.
Between these two contretemps, there is Trump’s own family drama involving his elder sister and niece unloading on his character and integrity, calling him a cruel and unprincipled liar among other things. Trump and his aides have tried to brush the strife under the carpet saying it is typical family discord, but ]t beyond the immediate family and its timeservers, there is disquiet among many Republicans over what is now seen as the cult of Trump taking over the Grand Old Party.
Talk of the Trump cult was amplified in the hours leading up to the opening day when Trump’s family members took up nearly half dozen keynote speaker slots and the party declared it will have no platform (manifesto) other than to “enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.” Among the few non-Trump family members listed to speak is Nikki Haley, the former Indian-American governor of South Carolina, who is now firmly in the Trump orbit who did not back him in 2016 (causing Trump to tweet “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley”) but who has since been won over.
Trump himself is expected to speak on all four nights of the virtual convention — the standard template is the party candidate making one big acceptance speech on the final night – using the White House lectern as a bully pulpit to counter what he believes is a liberal narrative that does not recognize the greatness of his Presidency.