Henry McMaster to deliver nominating speech for Donald Trump

Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (right) points to the crowd as he stands with then-South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster during a campaign rally in February 2016 in Florence.

CLEVELAND — Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster has been rewarded for his loyalty to Donald Trump with the role of delivering the presumptive presidential nominee’s nomination speech Tuesday night.

McMaster will speak for roughly five minutes in the 5:30 p.m. hour, confirming his duty to two reporters during an interview Monday in a stairwell off the floor of the Republican National Convention.

McMaster will make remarks alongside the top Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Co-headlining the task of delivering a nominating speech will be U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y.

McMaster and Collins have something in common. McMaster was the highest ranking elected official to endorse Trump early on; Collins was the first sitting member of Congress.

McMaster, who is also the leader of the S.C. delegation to the Republican convention, was approached a few weeks ago about his role in the convention proceedings, South Carolina Trump campaign leader Ed McMullen said.

McMullen runs a public affairs firm in Columbia and has taken on an insider’s role in Trump’s national political operation after serving as the campaign’s South Carolina co-chairman.

Trump’s anointment as leader of the Republican ticket this week is a validation of McMaster’s instincts. On Monday, McMaster, whose name is in the mix for South Carolina governor in 2018, conceded that “a lot of my friends were surprised” when he came out in support of Trump earlier this year.

“He is the candidate of our times,” McMaster said of Trump. “He is exactly what we need right now. He is exactly what the doctor ordered. We need his strength, we need his vision, we need his determination and we need his ability to speak to the hopes and dreams of the citizens of the country.”

Without Gov. Nikki Haley or U.S. Sen. Tim Scott on tap to address the RNC as they did four years ago, McMaster is poised to have the highest-profile speaking role at the convention this year of anyone in the South Carolina delegation.

Emma Dumain is The Post and Courier’s Washington correspondent.