Trump's running mate, rivals speaking at Republican National Convention

CLEVELAND -- Donald Trump's family, his former competitors in the 2016 campaign and his new vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will try to bring the Republican Party together Wednesday.

The third night of the GOP convention is a story of the running mate --- who will deliver a keynote speech --- and former rivals such Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, who will show good faith toward Trump, who vanquished them in the primaries. Trump's family will once again step forward to rally the nation to their father's side. His son, Eric, is slated to speak.

Trump is expected to appear on stage after Pence's speech, which would mark the nominee's third appearance at the convention this week.

In a dash of showmanship that emphasized his stature and flair for the dramatic, Trump touched down in Cleveland on his personal airplane earlier Wednesday and then flitted between the city's skyscrapers on his helicopter.

"I am convinced what begins in Cleveland will end in the White House," Indiana Governor Pence told Trump after he stepped off the helicopter to greet his children to the soundtrack of the movie "Air Force One."


Before Trump arrived, his campaign finally moved to clear up the self-made plagiarism controversy that has hovered over the convention since his wife Melania's speech on Monday night.

Meredith McIver, a writer who works for the Trump organization, issued a statement saying she was responsible for including material from Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech in Melania Trump's remarks.

She offered her resignation, but Trump declined, telling her "people make innocent mistakes," she wrote. The campaign hopes the move will put to rest a firestorm that has unnecessarily burned for the first two days of the convention, grabbing media coverage from an attempt to present a new image of the billionaire real estate magnate to a vast television audience.

The campaign recovered somewhat from its rocky start on Tuesday night, after a strong performance by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who fired up the crowd with a mock trial of Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr., the billionaire's son, stepped onto the national political stage with a rousing address presenting his Dad as a champion of blue-collar workers.

But divisions carved in the GOP by Trump's barnstorming primary run are still apparent.

That's where Pence comes in. The vice presidential nominee will leverage his strong relationships with the GOP establishment and credibility among social conservatives to ease suspicion of Trump.

He is expected to try to sell Trump as the new Ronald Reagan, touting his similarities to the former Hollywood star who won the White House as an outsider.

A source close to Pence predicted he would offer a more uplifting brand of politics than has so far been evident at the convention and present Trump as the ideal man to grow the economy, flush out a rigged political system and destroy ISIS.

But even as Trump works to bring the party together, the simmering ambition of some of its most high-profile figures will also be on show on Wednesday night.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was runner up the primary, will address the convention amid intense speculation about whether he endorse Trump.

Cruz, who is hardly known as a unifying figure, will be keen not to alienate Trump supporters he might need in a future presidential run. Many of his own own backers, however, remain uneasy about Trump.

The Texas senator held a rally on the Cleveland waterfront on Wednesday afternoon --- and in a moment of irony was interrupted by Trump's jet swooping into land.

"That was pretty well orchestrated," Cruz quipped.

Cruz endorsement?

Cruz is not expected to formally endorse Trump in as many words, people close to him say. But it is still possible that he could come up with some kind of rhetorical formulation that allows him to maintain his balance on the political tightrope that the evening represents.

Another possible future GOP candidate and defeated primary candidate, Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, is also due to address the convention on Wednesday. Sen Marco Rubio of Florida will appear on a video.

Another Trump son, Eric, will offer a personal view of his father, whose ubiquitous and brash media image makes it difficult for voters to get a true sense of his soul.

Trump's children are playing an increasingly important role in shaping their father's image in public and are potent forces in his political operation behind the scenes.

One person who is not on the speaker's list Wednesday --- but will likely everywhere -- is Clinton, following the barrage against the presumptive Democratic nominee over the first two nights.

"Lock her up! Lock her up!" chanted delegates on Tuesday, as Christie proclaimed her guilty on a series of charges, including over her private email server, her treatment of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and policies towards Boko Haram, an Al-Qaeda affiliated group in Nigeria.

In fact, the convention has so far been more about the case against her candidacy than about why Trump should be the next commander-in-chief.

That will delight the conservative base of the Republican Party and has the virtue of being one of the few topics around which establishment and Trump Republicans can unite. But it is less clear whether the Clinton-bashing will help the GOP nominee broaden his political base outside his own party.


(AP) — A call for Republican Party unity after a bruising fight for the presidential nomination.

It's the message Mike Pence plans to convey to GOP delegates when gives his vice presidential acceptance speech at the party's convention Wednesday night.

Also look for the Indiana governor to urge rank-and-file Republicans who may be uneasy about Donald Trump to no longer be reluctant supporters.

Among the many speakers scheduled to address convention goers tonight include:

- Florida Gov. Rick Scott
- Laura Ingraham, radio host
- Phil Ruffin, businessman
- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
- Eileen Collins, astronaut
- Ralph Alvarado, Kentucky state senator
- Darrell Scott, pastor
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
- Lynne Patton, vice president of The Eric Trump Foundation
- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas
- Eric Trump, EVP of Development and Acquisitions at The Trump Organization
- Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Callista Gingrich, president of Gingrich Productions

Campaign officials are previewing Pence's speech. They're speaking on condition of anonymity because they're not authorized to discuss Pence's remarks before he speaks.

Pence plans to make the case that he's prepared to govern. He's expected to point to Indiana's economic growth and to policy accomplishments under his watch — signs of experience and accomplishments. That could help a GOP ticket led by a political neophyte.

It's Pence's chance to introduce himself to the country. He's Indiana's governor and a former congressman, and now he's Trump's running mate on the GOP ticket.

And he's set to give his acceptance speech Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention.

Pence is regarded as soft-spoken, and he's a religious conservative from the Midwest. Campaign officials say he'll try to explain why he's signed on to a partnership with Trump, a brash celebrity businessman.