LAS VEGAS — Thirty Nevada delegates, plus alternates, are spending the week in Cleveland, Ohio for the Republican National Convention. Here are some of their thoughts on the action:
ON CRUZ’S ENDORSEMENT SNUB
Delegate Amy Tarkanian was in luxury box Wednesday night with GOP megadonor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam. Tarkanian said she was jumping up and down and pumping her fists when Cruz urged attendees not to stay home in November, waiting for a Trump endorsement, when he said “vote your conscience” instead.
“I fell back into my seat, disgusted,” she said, adding that she looked back and saw Miriam Adelson’s jaw had dropped, too. “There were Cruz supporters who weren’t fully on board, and now they’re 100 percent (for Trump). I think it’s actually unified the party more than not.”
The Adelsons then invited Trump into their box and indicated they were fully on board with his bid, according to Tarkanian, who also snapped a photo with the nominee and posted it on Twitter.
“He was calm. He didn’t seem flustered at all,” she said.
Jesse Law, a Nevada delegate, said he joined in the booing when Cruz failed to endorse.
“Mr. Trump absolutely showed respect. He didn’t need Mr. Cruz to show up on stage. And it was not returned,” Law said.
The deafening boos were “absolutely organic” and “completely deserved,” he said.
Delegate Erin Phillips said Cruz’s move solidified the pro-Trump mood in the convention center. But she thinks Cruz is playing the long game in service of his future political ambitions, gambling that “a Trump election would be a mess, and if or when that happens, he won’t be tied to it.”
“The people who have supported Cruz and are really staunch conservatives say it absolutely has raised him” in their estimation, she said.
ON TRUMP’S NATO STATEMENTS
On Trump’s statement that he might not defend allies in NATO against possible Russian aggression, Danny Tarkanian, a Nevada congressional candidate and husband of delegate Amy Tarkanian, said he believes Trump is saying NATO members should follow through on their promises to other members.
“We should not be the only nation that fulfills their obligations and the other countries don’t,” he said.
Law said he agreed with some of Trump’s sentiment, although he believed Trump would ultimately back up allies that were invaded because “we’re kind of an anti-injustice country.”
“Our system has gone so far toward military-industrial complex. It’s a very bloated approach,” said Law, who previously supported Ron Paul and described himself as a non-interventionist.
Phillips said Trump’s comments on NATO could be problematic and said the nominee has a big learning curve on some policy issues. She thinks he was serious about reconsidering America’s role in NATO.
“He’s a person who follows through on things that he says,” she said.
ON TRUMP’S BIG SPEECH
Law said he didn’t have anything specific he needed to hear from Trump during the nominee’s major speech on Thursday evening, adding that “I’m under his spell.”
“I have so much respect for someone who’s willing to lead like he is. I trust his decision making,” Law said.
“Whatever he does is probably going to work.”
Phillips, who previously supported Cruz, hasn’t been so enthusiastic.
“I’m looking at this as a Supreme Court race,” she said, referring to the future president’s role in nominating justices for the high court. “That’s what I’ve told myself in order to be able to vote for Trump.”
Amy Tarkanian said she’s still learning more about Trump’s policy positions and family because she spent much of the primary season supporting Carly Fiorina and John Kasich.
“His vision would be incredibly important to hear,” she said about the speech. “This convention’s been really more of an education for me.”