CLEVELAND, Ohio — The #NeverTrump movement suffered a punishing blow Thursday night at the Rules Committee in Cleveland ahead of the 2016 Republican convention.
A last-minute plot to push a “conscience” voting provision through the RNC Rules Committee failed, virtually eliminating any options for the “Free the Delegates” movement to go forward and stop Donald Trump from getting the nomination on the convention floor next week. The rebels were trying to unbind pledged delegates for Trump to allow them to vote their “conscience” in defiance of state party rules.
“The Rules Committee has been going all day long,” Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes told Breitbart News just moments after the Committee adjourned before midnight in Ohio. “They all got along and we are going to wake up in the morning to a unified Republican Party.”
An intense day of committee speeches brought out the remaining #NeverTrump heavyweights including Utah Sen. Mike Lee, delegate-revolt rebel leader Kendal Unruh of Colorado, Curly Haugland of North Dakota, and also former Virginia gubernatorial candidate and Ted Cruz-backer Ken Cuccinelli. Breitbart News can confirm that Cuccinelli spoke in favor of the “conscience” exemption.
But the conscience exemption failed to such a degree that the rebels are left with seemingly no options to go forward.
“That actually failed 87 to 12,” Hughes said. “So people are still going to be bound by their state party laws.”
#NeverTrump could still try to get 28 signatures from Rules Committee members to force the “conscience” provision onto the floor for a full vote by delegates — where it would need 1,237 votes or more to pass — but that seems unlikely. Only 12 committee members voted for it, so why would 28 suddenly sign a petition?
Hughes described the day’s process as “like Robert’s Rules of Order on steroids” and noted that “in the end the Trump campaign and the RNC had their game.”
Hughes noted that after about seven amendment proposals failed, the #NeverTrumpers “just started withdrawing their amendments.”
“They are feeling defeated tonight,” Hughes concluded.
Republicans are beginning to arrive in Cleveland ahead of Friday’s planned “Day of Rage” by left-wing protesters around the country, including in Cleveland. As the city braces itself for the historic political event, Donald Trump can now rest easier ahead of his own arrival.