Instead of crowding a packed and lively stadium, Lancaster County’s Republican National Convention delegates are tuning into the first virtual GOP nominating convention just like the rest of America: by watching from their homes.
The Republican National Committee on Monday officially nominated President Donald Trump as the party’s candidate for president, and former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta carried proxy votes for all of Lancaster County and Pennsylvania’s delegates.
Voters in the 11th Congressional District, which includes Lancaster and southern York counties, elected Lancaster County Commissioner Josh Parsons, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker and York County Prothonotary Allison Blew as delegates.
Unlike the Democratic National Convention, which was held virtually last week, the Republican National Convention does not have caucuses for delegates to tune into. The delegates signed over their proxy votes to Barletta.
Parsons said Tuesday the first night of the convention was overall a positive and forward-looking production, noting South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott gave an “outstanding, moving speech” and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley “laid out a real contrast between the Democrats’ vision and the results delivered by the president.” Blew also said these speeches were highlights of the night.
Scott, the Senate’s lone Black Republican member, reflected on his experience working under his mentor, a Chick-Fil-A operator. This experience helped inform his work with Trump on creating Opportunity Zones, for which he praised Trump, as well as his criminal justice reform and funding of historically Black colleges and universities.
Throughout the evening, speakers went back and forth between crediting Trump for his accomplishments prior to the pandemic and for his coronavirus response, as well as casting the shadow that much of the American way of life would be threatened if former Vice President Joe Biden is elected. Just like it was mentioned multiple times during the DNC, several speakers Monday said American voters are deciding the “soul of America.”
Parsons and Blew both said Republicans made the case that Trump is the person America needs.
“When you look at the results prior to corona, that’s what should matter,” Parsons said. “He built the greatest economy of a generation, rebuilt the military. … Those are the results. Not everybody likes President Trump, but they like the results. That’s why you’re going to see Republicans and Independents vote for him.”
The first night of the Republican National Convention had 15.8 million viewers across six TV networks, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Democratic National Convention’s first night had 18.7 million viewers.
First Lady Melania Trump headlined Night 2 of the Republican National Convention, where she is set to deliver a speech from the Rose Garden of the White House.
Blew said she was excited to hear from Melania Trump because she is “an example of an American success story,” noting her knowledge of five languages. She is also excited to hear from Ivanka Trump on Thursday.
“I like the hope that the Republican party is painting for America,” Blew said. “We all need hope after what we’ve been through with COVID and [social] unrest. It speaks to the American soul.”