South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster had his moment in the spotlight Tuesday, winning the Republican National Convention’s approval with his speech nominating Donald Trump as the GOP’s presidential nominee.
McMaster opened with a joke at his own expense, saying he asked his wife if she had “ever, in her wildest dreams, seen me standing here nominating Donald Trump for president.”
His wife Peggy replied, “I hate to tell you, but I’ve never seen you in any of my wildest dreams.”
In January, the Columbia Republican became the first statewide elected official to endorse Trump. To thank him for his support, Trump asked McMaster to deliver a nominating speech.
“The American people have had enough. I’ve had enough. You’ve had enough,” McMaster shouted, raising a fist in the air.
McMaster said he was impressed with Trump, calling him a man of “uncommon strength” and determination. “He may be the only man equipped to win the ferocious battle ahead.”
McMaster said he was moved by the way thousands would wait in line for hours to see Trump at rallies and how Trump would spend time greeting supporters on the rope line.
“You must have glimpsed his tenderness last night with Melania,” he added, referring to Trump’s interactions with his wife before and after her convention speech Monday.
“We know this man loves his family, and he is walking away from a business enterprise ... because he loves his country. We are awakened, and we are filled with the furious resolve to fight and to win for our children and their children and their children and for the world.”
McMaster roused more approval from the audience with a folksy ending.
“To paraphrase one of the poets of our time, Buffalo Springfield, There’s something happening here. What it is is precisely clear.
“We are going to make America great again!”
S.C. delegates uninterested in plagiarism flap
The similarity between Melania Trump’s speech Monday and a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama was a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s convention breakfast for S.C. delegates.
The plagiarism claims drove Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus to say he probably would fire the speechwriter who helped Trump with the speech.
Melania Trump told NBC Monday that she “wrote (the speech) with as little help as possible.”
Some S.C. Republicans privately wondered how much – or little – oversight the Trump campaign gave the speech. Others blamed the media, saying it had drummed up the controversy.
“Once again ... the press ... always trying to tear someone down, particularly him (Donald Trump),” McMaster said.
“I know there’s a lot of talk today about the plagiarism,” said DeLinda Ridings, former S.C. political director for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. “I’m not going to go there, because a lot of the words I heard are just plain, simple words.
“It’s people trying to find something else to fight about,” she said, adding, “It’s time for the dividers and the haters to come to terms with this is our nominee.”
Other S.C. Republicans said they were moved by Melania Trump’s speech.
Richland County GOP chairwoman Eaddy Willard said the would-be first lady showed she can connect to people.
“She was so sweet but very dignified, well spoken. And the fact that she made a point of saying how important it was – the best day of her life to ... achieve her citizenship – that made such a huge difference. She just won over everyone’s hearts.”
S.C. GOP needs to help win N.C., pollster says
Conservative pollster and commentator Frank Luntz urged S.C. delegates to campaign in swing-state North Carolina if they want to win the White House in November.
Luntz was among the speakers Tuesday at the breakfast for the S.C. delegation.
If Republicans in solidly red South Carolina are unwilling to go to swing-state North Carolina to campaign for Trump, “This country is going to have a real, real challenge,” Luntz said.