The California delegation may have been the rowdiest of all the states Tuesday night, regularly erupting in cheers from their prime seats in the front rows of the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Prompted by enthusiastic young California Republican staffers, the delegates repeatedly burst out in cheers of “Trump, Trump, Trump” and booed any mention of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Tuesday night’s line-up of speakers at the Republican National Convention featured more heavy hitters than Monday, with Donald Trump’s children Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr. taking the stage, and political powerhouses including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
McCarthy, who hails from Bakersfield, had the delegates particularly excited when he opened by saying, “I’m proud to be a conservative from California.”
Mike Stoker, an agricultural lawyer from Santa Barbara and a delegate representing the 24th congressional district, said, “it was one of the best speeches of the night,” repeating a line from McCarthy’s speech: “The bad guys are winning and the good guys are losing.”
Stoker was looking forward to hearing more from Trump’s family after Melania Trump’s Monday night speech. Stoker disregarded the controversy over the originality of her address, which included passages nearly identical to the speech Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Stoker said Melania Trump, “knocked it out of the park” and “showed her love for her country as an immigrant.”
Stoker said the convention was a time for Donald Trump to show his personal side as a down-to-earth family man. “Nobody has seen that side of Trump,” Stoker said, and “family means a lot.”
Tiffany Trump, Donald’s daughter who recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, gave a speech that aimed to portray her father as an empathetic, sensitive man, a “natural-born encourager” who is “so considerate, so funny, and so real.”
Delegate Michael Der Manouel Jr., former state GOP party treasurer and Fresno businessman, said he thought it was important for Trump to show off both a calm preparedness and his fiery temperament. “You need someone who can turn it up a notch when they need to,” De Manoel said. “America has been very passive around the world. That has emboldened enemies of the west. That’s because they don’t fear or respect our country.”
The California delegation, made up entirely of Trump delegates, seemed to embrace the repeated attacks on Clinton by convention speakers and was often the first to start “lock her up” chants during New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s prosecutorial speech lambasting Clinton on Tuesday.
Brian Ward is a journalist and student at Case Western Reserve University. He is reporting on the Republican National Convention from Cleveland as part of a project allowing students to cover the event for local newspapers, TV stations and digital outlets.