The California delegation may have been the rowdiest of all the states here Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, regularly erupting in cheers from their seats in the front rows of Quicken Loans Arena.
Prompted by enthusiastic young California GOP staffers, the delegates repeatedly burst out in “Trump! Trump! Trump!” cheers and booed any mention of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield had the delegates particularly excited when he opened by saying “I’m proud to be a conservative from California!” Delegate Mike Stoker, an agricultural lawyer from Santa Barbara, said, “It was one of the best speeches of the night,” repeating a line from McCarthy’s speech: “The bad guys are winning and the good guys are losing.”
Stoker said the convention is the time for Donald Trump to show his personal side as a family man who is down to earth. “Nobody has seen that side of Trump,” Stoker said, and “family means a lot.”
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Tiffany Trump, Donald’s daughter who recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, pounced on the family theme in her speech Tuesday night, portraying her father as an empathetic, sensitive man – not the ruthless, sexist, xenophobe that many of his critics paint him to be. Trump’s daughter characterized him as a “natural-born encourager” who is “so considerate, so funny, and so real.”
Michael Der Manouel Jr. of Fresno, president and CEO of Der Manouel Insurance Group in Fresno and a Trump delegate, said it’s important for Trump to show off both his calm, prepared side and his more bombastic character. He emphasized that “you need someone who can turn it up a notch when they need to. America has been very passive around the world. That has emboldened enemies of the West. That’s because they don’t fear or respect our country.”
Der Manouel’s confidence in Trump’s ability to instill fear likely comes from Trump’s statements on foreign policy, in which he often pledges to bomb ISIS relentlessly. In his most detailed foreign policy speech, Trump said he has a simple message for ISIS: “their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. We must as a nation be more unpredictable.” Trump’s critics say that while details of military strategy should be unpredictable, the Commander in Chief’s actions should be steady.
you need someone who can turn it up a notch when they need to.
Michael Der Manouel Jr., on a trait he says Donald Trump exhibits
Der Manouel acknowledged that Trump’s fiery temperament might contribute to his difficulties appealing to women. Der Manouel’s perception of this year’s election is that it “seems to be men versus women.” He added, “Hillary’s problem with men is horrendous,” and suggested that some men don’t like Hillary because she is “unwatchable,” “unlikable” and “comes off as perpetually angry.” Der Manouel said he personally doesn’t like Clinton because he finds her “incompetent.”
A Gallup poll conducted at the end of May found that Clinton had a 19-point advantage over Trump among female voters, whereas Trump had a 6-point advantage with males.
The California delegation, made up entirely of Trump delegates, seemed to embody Trump’s audacity Tuesday night: It was often the first to start “Lock her up!” chants in the middle of Gov. Chris Christie’s prosecutorial speech about Clinton. Overheard near the California delegation was a delegate who said he hopes Clinton is put in maximum security prison, where each morning a Trump Hotel mint is placed on her pillow as psychological torture.
Brian Ward is a freelancer covering the convention for The Bee. He is a fourth-year English and political science student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Photos with this story were contributed by Taylor Moran, also a Case Western student and editor of the university’s student newspaper.