‘Never Trump Is Officially Dead and Buried’: How Ken Cuccinelli, Mike Lee Sold Out Grassroots for Convention Floor Spectacle

John Moore, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ken Cuccinelli of the Senate Conservatives Fund and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) sold out grassroots conservatives so they could make a spectacle on the floor of the Republican National Convention as part of the last dying breaths of the “Never Trump” collective, which is now officially dead, Breitbart News has confirmed.

A senior Republican involved in the negotiations told Breitbart News that Cuccinelli and Lee “were given an opportunity to accept two different proposals by the RNC chairman Reince Priebus.”

“They walked away from both,” said the Republican strategist personally involved in the negotiations, someone who had friends on both sides. 

“The second [proposal] was this morning at 9 a.m. when Ken Cuccinelli could not deliver Sen. Mike Lee,” the strategist said. “The first deal [last Thursday night] was we offered 15 percent bonus delegates and there was a bunch of other stuff that’s been written about but that was their biggest thing for all these closed primary states. And then this morning, we offered them after winning in Rules [committee last week] 10 percent plus removing the language in the rules that would have made committee members information confidential, we would have removed that.”

Basically, what happened is, in order to have a spectacle on the floor of the convention where it looks like there was a battle inside the party, Lee and Cuccinelli turned down two packages that had almost everything they wanted in them. The first was last week, during Rules Committee negotiations when the “Never Trump” movement was soundly defeated there. That package would have changed the amount of delegates that are offered to states with closed primaries, giving them “bonus” delegates at a rate of 15 percent per the number of at-large delegates in a delegation. So if a state with a closed primary had 20 at-large delegates, they would have gotten 3 extra delegates. They turned that down and fought their battle in the Rules Committee.

As they planned to take their already losing battle to the Convention floor, Priebus offered them a similarly lucrative pro-grassroots package. They would remove language from the RNC rules keeping committee members’ information confidential—which means it would make it easier for grassroots activists to lobby the RNC—and they would still get 10 percent of “bonus” delegates per the number of at-large delegates per delegation from states with closed primaries.

What Cuccinelli and Lee purportedly wanted, however, was 20 percent of “bonus” delegates for the entire delegation—at-large and delegates—per state with closed primaries.

They got everything else they wanted, too, as during the Rules Committee meeting last week Priebus offered an amendment that dropped the number of states a candidate for president must win from 50 percent or more of the delegates to be considered at the convention for nomination from eight states back down to five. But Cuccinelli and Lee turned down these packages from Priebus and the RNC that would have significantly increased the power grassroots conservatives have over the Republican Party, and they did it so as to create a show on the floor of the convention.

“He never had any intention of doing anything but trying to create a scene,” the Republican strategist said of Cuccinelli. “He’s been working with the Never Trump folks, and they’ve been saying, ‘Oh no we’re not a part of that.’ Bullshit. They have been a part of that from day one.”

But after what just went down on the convention floor, as Cuccinelli and Lee sold out the grassroots for a floor fireworks show, this strategist—again, someone intricately involved in the negotiations—told Breitbart News that “Never Trump is officially dead and buried.”

Cuccinelli and Lee have not responded to Breitbart News requests for comment on this matter.


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