The latest: Trump lands, Pence prepares

By The Associated Press


For more on the GOP convention from Civitas Media and AP reporters, see inside.

CLEVELAND (AP) — The latest as of early Wednesday evening on the Republican National Convention as well as developments with the Democratic Party:

Donald Trump dramatically landed in Cleveland Wednesday in advance of accepting the Republican nomination for president.

Trump’s plane landed at an airstrip near Lake Erie and then the celebrity businessman took his helicopter to a landing field at the Great Lakes Science Center a short distance from the convention site. His wife, Melania Trump, was not with him.

Some members of Trump’s family, his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and some supporters were on hand to greet him. Amid swelling music, Trump and Pence thanked their supporters.

Trump was at the convention Monday to introduce his wife Melania but then returned to New York.

He is slated to address the convention Thursday night and may appear with Pence during the vice presidential nominee’s speech Wednesday night.

Eyes on Pence

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is preparing for his closely watched moment at the center of the Republican National Convention.

Pence, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate, will speak at the convention in Cleveland Wednesday night. He did a walkthrough at the Quicken Loans Arena that morning.

Joined by his wife Karen, Pence stood onstage at the arena for several minutes, checking the sight lines, doing a mic check and getting comfortable with the TelePrompTers.

Pence, who was selected by Trump last week after days of highly public debate, is expected to vouch for the celebrity businessman’s conservative credentials and call for unity in a Republican Party left divided after a bruising primary fight.

Melania speech backlash

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says that passages incorporated into Melania Trump’s convention speech from Michelle Obama’s convention speech in 2008 shows that Americans admire similar values in their political leaders.

Earnest was reacting to news that Meredith McIver, a Trump Organization staff writer, says she made a mistake in including the passages. He says that admiring the same values shows the nation isn’t as divided as it may seem. That’s a point made recently by President Barack Obama.

Earnest says Mrs. Obama’s speech in 2008 drew widespread praise. He says “I’m confident in the future, aspiring first ladies or potential first husbands will draw on the same kind of sentiments to advocate for their spouse.”

Meredith McIver explained her role in the Trump plagiarism controversy in a statement issued Wednesday.

Sen. Bob Corker says the controversy over passages in Melania Trump’s convention speech has been “aggravated by the response” from the Trump campaign.

The Tennessee Republican tells The Associated Press that he “can’t imagine that from her part there was anything nefarious under way.” Corker adds that he thinks the campaign should have found “a better way” to handle the situation “so that it’s not kept alive. She’s got to be mortified.”

Two passages of Mrs. Trump’s speech Monday night were nearly identical to passages from Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention eight years ago. But rather than acknowledge any error, Trump’s campaign is in denial mode, blaming the media for creating a controversy and suggesting Hillary Clinton bore some responsibility.

Corker is a Trump supporter who is in regular touch with campaign officials after taking himself out of the running for vice president. He is in Cleveland this week but declined a speaking role to the convention hall. He says teleprompter speeches aren’t his thing.

Some upset with Kasich

Some delegates to the Republican National Convention are upset that Ohio Gov. John Kasich is skipping out on the main events.

Kasich has avoided the convention hall in Cleveland and has refused to endorse his former presidential rival Donald Trump.

New Hampshire delegate Steve Stepanek, who is the state co-chairman for Trump’s campaign, says Kasich’s actions are a “real slap in the face” and an “insult” to Trump and Republican delegates from across the country.

Missouri delegate Dave Spence says he also is “a little miffed” at Kasich. Spence supported Kasich in Missouri’s primary. And Kasich helped raise money for Spence’s unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in 2012.

But Spence says Kasich is “trying to be too coy” and should be at the Republican convention in his home state.

NH remarks condemned

New Hampshire Republicans are strongly condemning a Trump supporter’s remarks that Hillary Clinton should be “shot for treason.”

New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro remarked earlier Wednesday that the former secretary of state should be, Clinton should be “put in the firing line and shot for treason,” over the Benghazi, Libya, attacks that killed four Americans.

State GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Horn says ina statement that Baldasaro’s comments are “appalling and have no place in public discourse.” She adds that she condemns his statements “in the strongest terms possible and urge him to immediately apologize.”

New Hampshire House Speaker Shawn Jasper, a Republican, said Baldasaro’s comments in no way reflect the views of the chamber.

He says that, like Hillary Clinton or not, “the idea that a New Hampshire lawmaker would suggest that a candidate should be executed is just outrageous.”

Cruz speaks in Cleveland

Ted Cruz was ruminating in Cleveland about “what the future is going to hold” for his presidential ambitions when Donald Trump’s personal jet appeared in the sky over head to remind him whose party he was attending.

Cruz, who finished second to Trump in the GOP contest, chuckled, “That was pretty well orchestrated.”

He spoke Wednesday to hundreds of supporters who chanted, “2020, 2020, 2020,” ahead of his speech to the Republican National Convention.

He left wide open a return to the presidential campaign trail in the future. The Texas senator is not expected to endorse Trump during his address to the convention.

Clinton VP list narrows

Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential search is centering on three main contenders, with an announcement expected as soon as this weekend as the Democrat prepares for her party’s national convention next week in Philadelphia.

Democrats familiar with the search say Clinton’s running mate process has focused on Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

That’s according to Democrats familiar with the process, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.

They cautioned that Clinton had not yet reached a final decision and was weighing a number of factors, including the person’s readiness to be president, personal compatibility and ability to help her administration govern.

Clinton is expected to announce her decision during a two-day campaign swing in Florida later this week.

Clinton in Spanish

Clinton’s campaign has launched a Spanish language Twitter account aimed at what it said were more than 40 million people who speak Spanish in the United States.

A campaign statement says Clinton “understands that our country’s diversity and multiculturalism is one of America’s greatest strength.”

That’s a shot at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who says he’ll rein in illegal immigration in part by building a wall along the southern U.S. border and make Mexico pay for it.

The Clinton account is called Hillary_esp. The campaign also has a website in Spanish and bilingual voter registration tool.

By The Associated Press


For more on the GOP convention from Civitas Media and AP reporters, see inside.