Republican National Convention gets chaotic start in Cleveland

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A short keynote speech from Melania Trump closed out the chaotic first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland, Ohio. (WLS)

A short keynote speech from Melania Trump, introduced by her husband and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, closed out the chaotic first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Chaos reigned supreme as the day began. It took two votes, but delegates at the Republican National Convention were able to approve the rules that'll govern the convention.

The rules won approval in an initial voice vote, and then anti-Donald Trump delegates became raucous and started chanting, "Call the roll!" Others drowned them out with chants of "USA!"

There was a brief break before Steve Womack - the Arkansas congressman who was chairing the proceedings - returned to the podium and called for a second voice vote.

He said for a second time that the rules had passed.

The anti-Trump delegates wanted a state-by-state roll call vote on the rules. That would have been a drawn-out process and could have exposed party divisions.

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The four-day long 2016 Republican National Convention got off to a chaotic start at the Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland, Ohio, Monday afternoon.

Monday morning, Illinois delegates bellied up to a big breakfast sprinkled with a stern warning.

"I can guarantee you: It is now ironclad that nothing, nothing is going to stop Donald Trump from being our nominee," said Illinois State Rep. and Trump Illinois co-chair John Cabello.

That message was for the handful of Illinois delegates still not on the Trump train. Trump's team is circulating a pledge to state delegates asking them to confirm they'll back the businessman on nomination night.

Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) is what you might call a "conscientious objector."

"What we think is somewhat irrelevant; Donald Trump 1500-plus delegates, he's going to be the nominee." Rep. Harris says. Harris backed Kasich during the primary and intends to vote for him again as a delegate.

"I'd like to think I'm a man of conscience," he says.

"We have one goal in November and that's to defeat Hillary Clinton. We all need to be behind our nominee," said Illinois delegate Mark Fratella.

At Monday morning's Illinois meeting there was a telling moment: when asked to raise their hands if they were attending their first convention, a large group of hands went up - a sign of the upheaval Trump's rogue candidacy has caused in the party.

The Illinois delegation also includes a teenager who is possibly the youngest delegate at the convention from any state. Carl Miller, 17, of Downer's Grove has been crisscrossing the Midwest with his grandfather, meeting countless candidates.

"I'm an alternate delegate elected from Illinois, 17 years old, I'll turn 18 just in time for Election Day," Miller says.

"It's been a blast," says Art Siml, Miller's grandfather. "If it was me, a 75-year-old, I'd watch it all from you guys on TV, but if it's with my grandson I love, he's one of 11 grandchildren, you can't beat it!"

Hours of primetime speakers, more than two dozen in all, worked to make a case for Donald Trump and change.

"Our country is in a bad spot right now, you can see it. You can feel it everywhere," said actor Scott Baio.

"The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe, they fear for their children, they fear for themselves. They fear for our police officers that are being targeted," said former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Patricia Smith, whose son was one of four Americans killed in Benghazi, spoke about Hillary Clinton, who was Secretary of State at the time of that attack in Libya.

"That's right Hillary Clinton for prison," Smith said. "She deserves to be in stripes."

It was a repeated theme.

"We all know she likes her pantsuits. But we should send her an email and tell her she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit," said Darryl Glenn, U.S. Senate candidate from Colorado.

While presidential candidates typically do not appear until the final night or two of their conventions, Donald Trump bucked tradition and introduced his wife Melania, the final speaker of the night. She delivered a short speech touting Trump's business leadership qualities and praising him as a husband and father.


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It took two votes, but delegates at the Republican National Convention were able to approve the rules that'll govern the convention.

This evening Illinois' Republicans will gather at a high end steakhouse to meet with Ohio Governor John Kasich, the man many in the so-called "establishment" wanted to be the nominee.

"I got a lot of cheers and applause, not many votes, but what the hell - give it your best," Kasich said of his primary run.

Kasich is stiffing Donald Trump, not even setting foot in the convention hall, let alone offering an endorsement. Trump's campaign fired back, calling him "petulant" and "an embarrassment to the party" because he won't back Trump.

Some of Illinois' top Republicans, including Governor Bruce Rauner and Senator Mark Kirk are passing on the event. Other notable local Republicans skipping the convention include former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, Comptroller Leslie Munger, and North Shore Congressman Bob Dold.

Northwest suburban Representative Peter Roskam may be the highest profile Illinois Republican attending. Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider will also be in attendance to chair the state's delegation. Also making the trip are Congressman Adam Kinzinger and former gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard.

"We're here in Cleveland ready to nominate Donald Trump and defeat crooked Hillary Clinton in November," says Schneider, who is also chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.

Former President George H. W. Bush won't be in attendance. Nor will his son, George W. Bush. The last two Republican nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain, also aren't coming.


Late Sunday, a list of convention speakers and themes was officially released. Taking the stage will be former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Texas Governor Rick Perry - but the speaker spotlight will shine brightest on Donald Trump's wife, Melania.
Each day of the political pageant is a new theme based on the Trump campaign slogan "Make America Great Again". Monday is "Make America Safe Again", focusing on national security and immigration.

Five Trump family members will take the stage over the next four days, trying to show the human side of Donald Trump and make him more appealing to female voters he desperately needs in November.


The Republican Party has adopted what Christian conservatives are cheering as the most conservative statement of party policy principles in recent memory.

The GOP national convention has approved language reaffirming the party's opposition to gay marriage and bathroom choice for transgender people.

And there's new language condemning same-sex parenting.

Here's what it says: "Children raised in a traditional two-parent household tend to be physically and emotionally healthier, less likely to use drugs and alcohol, engage in crime or become pregnant outside of marriage."

The party's platform represents the GOP's formal policy positions for the next four years. The document serves as guidance for Republican leaders across the nation, but is not binding.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ABC7 Eyewitness News' Kathy Brock and Ben Bradley will have live reports from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland throughout the week.
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