- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Thirty Nevada delegates, plus alternates, are spending the week in Cleveland, Ohio for the Republican National Convention. Here are some of their thoughts on the action:


Nevada delegate Amy Tarkanian said she was “in awe” of Melania Trump during her speech on the first night of the convention.

“She was stunning inside and out,” she said by phone Tuesday. “I love the way she loves her husband. You could tell by her body language - it did not come across cold and staged.”

Tarkanian, a former Nevada Republican Party chairwoman who publicly supported Carly Fiorina and John Kasich earlier in the race, said it was reassuring to get insights into the couple’s relationship.

“Even though I’m already on board (with Trump), it’s still good for me to feel good about being on board,” she said.

But coverage of Melania Trump’s speech quickly turned to passages that appeared to be lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 address. Tarkanian said she didn’t know who wrote the questionable portions of Melania Trump’s speech, but condemned plagiarism and said whoever was responsible should be held accountable.

“Obviously they need to be reprimanded and fired. Once again it takes away from someone who worked so hard,” she said.

Patty Cafferata, another Nevada delegate, called Melania Trump’s speech “riveting” and was surprised at the heavy emphasis on segments that sounded like Obama’s words.

“She was sincerely talking about her life and being a mother and wife,” Cafferata said. “A lot of mothers would say that.”


A movement to stop Trump appeared to be long dead among the Nevada delegates, especially after a failed attempt Monday on the convention floor to block rules backed by the Trump campaign.

“They’re like gnats right now,” Tarkanian said of Never Trump purists. “I would say that the Nevada delegation has 100 percent already moved on.”

Nevada Controller Ron Knecht said about three-quarters of the delegation has long favored Trump. He and the rest could not see “how it is that Trump is going to be derailed, so let’s deal with it.”

As for the Never Trump movement?

“It’s just this desperate, forlorn hope of the true believers,” Knecht said, pointing to a Tuesday night agenda that listed some of Trump’s children as speakers. “It’s obviously Donald Trump’s convention.”

Tarkanian was planning to attend an event with Ohio Gov. John Kasich outside of the convention. She endorsed Kasich earlier in the race, and she was disappointed he was boycotting an event that was bringing thousands of people and millions of dollars to his state.

“He doesn’t have to jump up and down on the couch, he doesn’t have to wear a Trump T-shirt,” she said. “But he could show up and be appreciative.”


The Republican Party adopted a platform Monday that some are calling the most socially conservative in recent memory. It reinforces opposition to same-sex marriage, formally opposes bathroom choice for transgender people and opposes public funding for Planned Parenthood.

Nevada delegate Juanita Cox, a platform committee member, said she failed in an attempt to change some social issue planks she characterized as “very restrictive” and potentially costing the party votes in the election.

“Perhaps it’s OK for the older Americans who lived in older days,” she said. “This is less appealing to millennials.”

Knecht he was more concerned about limiting the size of government than advancing a social agenda.

“The breakdown of the family structure is an overwhelmingly big problem,” he said. “At the same time, if we drift into mixing religion and government, we’re in real trouble.”


Nevada got a few moments in the spotlight when representatives announced its delegate count during a state-by-state roll call vote. But the chairman of the state Republican Party appeared to slip up on the remarks about the capital city.

Chairman Michael McDonald said Nevada stretched from “the great shores of Lake Tahoe to the most entertaining capital city, Las Vegas.”

The capital of Nevada is Carson City, although Las Vegas is sometimes called “The Entertainment Capital of the World.”

State party officials didn’t immediately respond to requests about what McDonald intended to say during his brief speech, which also included the pro-police rallying cry “blue lives matter” and a riff on the slogan “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Trump was formally nominated as the Republican nominee Tuesday evening based on his delegate count from the states.

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