CLEVELAND - 6 p.m.: The South Carolina delegation to the Republican National Convention had a considerable amount of down time Thursday, the final day of the convention where Donald Trump will accept the nomination for president.
Gov. Nikki Haley, however, was busy.
Deputy chief of staff Rob Godfrey told The Post and Courier that Haley spent Thursday morning at a meeting related to Republican Governor Association business. Then, she and her husband, Michael Haley, “spent time visiting the area where Michael was adopted and grew up.”
Her afternoon schedule included an address to the Republican Jewish Coalition. Godfrey also said she planned to “thank members of South Carolina law enforcement who are assisting with the state of Ohio’s security efforts.”
Haley plans to attend the RNC’s Thursday evening programming but she might decide not to visit the convention floor if Wednesday night provided any preview of what to expect. Reporters, photographers and fans mobbed Haley when she came to visit the S.C. delegation, shoving microphones and cameras in her face while she tried to mingle with delegates. The field trip ended up being brief, with Haley retreating soon after she arrived. DeLinda Ridings, a Columbia delegate, said Haley told her she had to go so as not to distract from the main event.
“She said she had to leave the floor so we could enjoy the convention,” Ridings recalled.
The RNC program kicks off at 7:30 p.m.
10:30 a.m.: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham urged Donald Trump to clarify his position on defending European allies after a New York Times article quoted the GOP presidential nominee as not fully supportive of the NATO alliance treaty.
“Statements like these make the world more dangerous and the United States less safe,” Graham, R-S.C., said this morning.
“I can only imagine how our allies in NATO, particularly the Balkan states must feel after reading these comments from Mr. Trump,” Graham said. “I’m 100 percent certain how Russian President Putin feels – he’s a very happy man.”
Trump, in a New York Times interview today, broke from standing U.S. foreign policy in suggesting the U.S. wouldn’t defend its NATO allies, including the Baltic states against Russian aggression. He cited them not fulfilling “their obligation to us” including through adequate military spending.
Graham called on Trump to correct his statement.
“The Republican nominee for president is essentially telling the Russians and other bad actors that the United States is not fully committed to supporting the NATO alliance,” Graham said. “NATO has been the most successful organization in modern history to provide collective defense for democracies. If Mr. Trump is serious about wanting to be Commander in Chief he needs to better understand the job which is to provide leadership for the United States and the free world.”
8:30 a.m.: At the S.C. Republican convention delegation’s final breakfast gathering this morning Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has ties to Bob Jones University in Greenville, will deliver remarks.
8 a.m.: Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster must be feeling validated. During the early evening Wednesday on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena, McMaster said he received positive feedback from members of the delegation for his admonishment of those Republicans who were still reluctant to get behind nominee Donald Trump.
“Several said they were glad to hear that,” McMaster told The Post and Courier. His remarks at Wednesday’s delegation breakfast came directly following Gov. Nikki Haley’s; she did not mention Trump’s name once.
By Wednesday night, delegates from both in and outside the South Carolina contingent were booing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a former presidential candidate, for not endorsing Trump during his primetime speaking slot.
For some who have been critical of Trump throughout the campaign, Cruz’s unwillingness to get on board did not change their opinions. For others, however, it might have been the single most unifying moment of the convention so far.
Check back at www.postandcourier.com throughout the day for updates.