- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CLEVELAND | The Trump campaign declared jobs and national security the themes of their convention, but a fierce anti-Hillary Clinton message has instead dominated the early going.

From the plane circling the city with the “Hillary for Prison 2016” banner to the chants inside the arena of “lock her up,” Mrs. Clinton has been the chief point of agreement for conservatives otherwise deeply riven over tactics, policy and their presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

From the stage Monday, Darryl Glenn, Colorado U.S. Senate candidate, mocked Mrs. Clinton’s penchant for wearing pantsuits, saying, “We should send her an email and tell her she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit.” And retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn cheered on delegates chanting for Mrs. Clinton to be put behind bars for what the FBI called her “extremely careless” handling of classified information.

“I have called on Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race because she put our nation’s security at extremely high risk with her careless use of a private email server,” Gen. Flynn said. “If I did a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail.”

The attacks are harsher than those of recent conventions, when parties attacked the other’s policies and politics and even persons, but rarely argued over criminality.

Some veteran Republicans caution the party risks turning off potential supporters with the calls to put Mrs. Clinton the slammer.

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“Something like ‘You and I would be fired, you and I would be fired,’ would be a better chant than ‘Lock her up’ because ‘lock her up’ — No. 1 it sounds harsh and No. 2 nobody is really talking about locking her up,” said Grover Norquist, chairman of Americans for Tax Reform.

“I think it would be more damning to say ‘She is above the law’ or ‘She thinks she is above the law’ — rather than punching down, you want to punch up,” Mr. Norquist said.

And Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who has stayed away from the convention but who watched the first night’s speeches on television, said the calls to imprison Mrs. Clinton were futile and would backfire, chasing independent voters away from the party.

“Some of the speeches last night — whenever anybody said that Hillary Clinton, for example, belongs in prison, belongs in pinstripes or in an orange jumpsuit, that is beyond the pale. That does not expand our base,” Mr. Flake said on KFYI radio.

But inside the hall, many rank-and-file Republican delegates think differently about Mrs. Clinton’s server and the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute her.

Mary Puckett, a vendor selling campaign paraphernalia outside the arena, said her hottest item was the “Hillary for Prison” button.

“I think if Martha Stewart had to go to prison, Hillary should too,” Ms. Puckett said. “I guarantee you that if I so much as stole one hundred bucks from my boss here that I would go to jail.”

Doug Wight, an independent from New York who backed Sen. Bernard Sanders in the Democratic primary, was protesting outside the arena, bellowing, “Help hold Hillary Clinton accountable.”

Mr. Wight told The Washington Times he plans on filing a class action lawsuit against Mrs. Clinton because she jeopardized government secrets.

“I think it’s appropriate is hold her accountable by taking her to a U.S. federal court and trying her,” he said. “I think that is what is fair because that is what any ordinary American should deserve. If this was Edward Snowden, in two minutes they would have him indicted.”

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