RNC 2016 Live Updates Day 1: Here's What Went Down During the GOP Convention's First Night

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The Republican National Convention kicked off in Cleveland on Monday, and with delegates opposed to the nomination of Donald Trump having already tried and failed to depose the real estate billionaire, the rest of the festivities are sure to be a wild ride.

The first of four nights of the convention, Monday's slate of speeches — titled "Make America Safe Again" — will reportedly center around the armed assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in 2012.

Speakers confirmed by the RNC include Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson; hardcore conservative and Charles in Charge star Scott Baio; Benghazi survivor Mark Geist; the family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry; outspoken Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke; Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton; retired Lt. General Michael Flynn; Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst (of hog-castration ad fame); Concerned Veterans for America adviser Jason Beardsley; and Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, who according to pre-released transcripts will be speaking on how "Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton brought us ISIS and brought down Benghazi."

Finally, Trump's spouse, fashion designer and former model Melania Trump, will have a headline slot.

Here are the biggest stories from the night:

(11:42 p.m.) And that's a wrap.

Tune in tomorrow for an economy-themed night Trump's campaign is billing as "Make America Work Again."

Headline speakers including Donald Trump, Jr.; U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia; presidential candidate Ben Carson; actress Kimberlin Brown; and, naturally, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White. Because that's the kind of election we're dealing with these days.

(11:24 p.m.) Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst tells Americans to be very, very scared of domestic ISIS attacks.

"According to the FBI, ISIS is present in all 50 states," Ernst told the crowd. "Terrorists from ISIS are in every one of our 50 states."

Ernst said terrorists have "guns, trucks, knives, poisons and bombs to kill innocent people. Under this current administration's wayward policies, ISIS continues to spread while the president fails to put forward a comprehensive strategy to defeat and destroy them. Donald Trump will not hesitate to call radical Islamic terrorism by its name."

(11:05 p.m.) Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn lays into Hillary Clinton.

Flynn was supportive of the crowd as it chanted "lock her up," and he called for Clinton to withdraw from the race.

"If I, a guy who knows this business — if I did a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today," said Flynn, echoing Trump's nickname for Clinton.

"Crooked Hillary Clinton," said Flynn, "Leave this race now!"

(10:39 p.m.) Melania Trump speaks.

Melania Trump made the case for a Donald Trump presidency in a speech differing dramatically in tone from those that preceded hers, touching on her migration to the United States, her domestic success and her love for her husband.

"We are all truly blessed to be here," Melania told the audience. "That will never change. I can tell you with certainty that my husband has been concerned about our country for as long as I have known him ... I have seen him fight for years to get a project done or even start it, and he does not give up. If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he's the guy."

"Donald intends to represent all the people, not just some of the people," she continued, adding that he would represent blacks, Latinos, the poor and middle class citizens.

She defended her husband's penchant for inciting controversy, insisting that "it would not be a Trump contest without excitement and drama."

(10:22) A silhouetted Donald Trump enters the arena to Queen's "We Are the Champions" to introduce his wife, Melania Trump.

He was accompanied by an apparent fog machine.

Source: Giphy

(10:12 p.m.) Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani goes HAM.

"There is no black America," Giuliani stated emphatically. "There is no white America. There is just America!"

"I am sick and tired of the defamation of Donald Trump by the media and by the Clinton campaign!" Giuliani continued. "This is a good man ... and America should be sick and tired of their vicious, nasty campaign!"

(10:09 p.m.) Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton lays into Obama's national security policies. 

"We'd like a commander-in-chief who speaks of winning wars and not merely ending wars," Cotton told the audience.

"We'd like a commander-in-chief who calls the enemy by its name," Cotton continued. "A commander-in-chief who draws red lines cautiously but enforces them ruthlessly."

(9:55 p.m.) Politician Darryl Glenn calls the RNC protesters "Black Panthers."

Glenn, a black Senate candidate from Colorado, denounced Obama's term as bad for race relations and referred to the "Black Panthers" protesting outside. At one point, Glenn joked that "somebody with a nice tan" needed to say that "all lives matter."

Glenn also denounced the Democratic Party as the "party of handouts," and in the same vein as earlier speaker Pam Smith, whose son died in the Benghazi attacks, said Hillary Clinton "deserves a bright orange jumpsuit."

(9:35 p.m.) Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. celebrates Monday's acquittal of Baltimore Police Lt. Brian Rice in the death of Freddie Gray.

Clarke took the stage to declare "blue lives matter" — and denounce the Black Lives Matter movement, which he called "anarchy."

Then, Clarke pointed to the Brian Rice/Freddie Gray decision as a reason for hope.

(9:30 p.m.) The crowd boos the mention of "Syrian refugees" by Texas. Rep. Michael McCaul.

]McCaul took the stage to list perceived threats to the United States, including "Obama's reckless immigration policies," "sanctuary cities" and "radical Islamic terrorism."

When McCaul mentioned "Syrian refugees," the crowd booed.

"America was a shining city upon a hill," McCaul said. "A beacon of hope to the world."

After eight years of Obama, he continued, the U.S. is a "city under siege. ... This did not happen by accident. It happened by design. It is the work of a Barack Obama and the architect of his failed foreign policy, Hillary Clinton."

(9:02 p.m.) Benghazi survivors rile the crowd with tampon jokes.

Benghazi survivors Mark Geist and John Tiegen took the stage to thunderous applause before launching into a speech replete with tampon jokes and gory descriptions of combat.

"Thank you America for showing us the support and dedication that should've been offered by Hillary and her State Department," said Geist.

Then came the rest of it.

(8:30 p.m.) Marcus Luttrell and Pat Smith appeal to emotions with personal stories.

Luttrell, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who won a Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions during a 2005 battle with Taliban forces in Afghanistan, called the incident the "worst week" of his life, but adding "it's important to say that we gotta make sure that the hell veterans return from is not the hell [they] come home to."

Luttrell was followed by Pat Smith, the mother of one of the four U.S. embassy employees who died during the 2012 Benghazi attack. 

Smith's teary address was replete with fighting words for presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. "I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son," said Smith. "Personally."

"If Hillary Clinton can't give us the truth, then why should we give her the presidency?" Smith asked, adding that Clinton "deserves to be in stripes."

(8:18 p.m.) Scott Baio defines "American" for the newbies.

Following shortly after Robertson, actor Scott Baio drew applause in a speech in which he addressed first-time voters. 

"Being an American doesn't mean getting free stuff," Baio said. "It means sacrificing, winning, losing, failing, succeeding."

Baio finished with a twist on Trump's ubiquitous campaign slogan

"So of course, let's make America great again," he said, "but let's make America America again."

(8:15 p.m.) Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson opens with a prayer.

In the first speech of the night, Robertson made the case for Trump's nomination in a short, folksy introduction.

"He may not always tell you what you want to hear... you may not always agree... and it may not always be politically correct," Robertson said. He added, "But when your dad is Phil Robertson, you get used to that sort of thing."

"Donald Trump will always — always — tell you the truth as he sees it," he concluded.

(7:55 p.m.) Marlana VanHoose sings "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Source: YouTube

Marlana VanHoose, a young singer from Kentucky born with Cytomegalovirus, kicked off the evening by singing the national anthem. 

(7:15 p.m.) Newt Gingrich waxes, erm, poetic about Melania Trump.

While covering the RNC for Fox News, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich — who recently lost to Mike Pence in his own bid to become Trump's vice presidential nominee — made the case that Melania is "not only very attractive," but living proof the candidate is "not anti-immigrant."

(6:50 p.m.) Iowa Rep. Steve King asserts that white people made the biggest contributions to Western civilization.

At approximately 6:25 p.m., Iowa congressman Steve King set a dubious tone for the night's proceedings by telling an MSNBC panel that "white people" built civilization without the contribution of any "other sub-group."

"This 'old white people' business, though, does get a little tired, Charlie," King told Esquire's lead political blogger Charlie Pierce. "I mean, I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you're talking about? Where did any other sub-group of people contribute more to civilization?"

"Than white people?" MSNBC's Chris Hayes shot back.

"Than Western civilization itself," King responded. "That's rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That's all of Western civilization."

Check back for live updates throughout the night.

Read more:
• Pandemonium Erupts as 2016 Republican National Convention Shoots Down #NeverTrump
• The RNC Rules Vote Explained — Here's What Led to Chaos on the Convention Floor
• The 2016 Republican National Convention Shows the Big Irony of Donald Trump's Campaign

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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