The Buzz

Delegates a’Twitter about Trump

AP

S.C. delegates to the Republican National Convention tweeted their reactions to Donald Trump’s presidential nomination acceptance speech Thursday night – and the 2016 convention.

Some were positive. Some were ... more critical.

A sampling of what they said:

S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster tweeted highlight pictures from his time in Cleveland and his spot on the big stage.

“Otw home from @GOPConvention. Met w friends, chaired @SCGOP delegation & nominated next Pres of the USA @DonaldJTrump!”

Alternate delegate Eaddy Roe Willard of Columbia, whose first pick for the GOP nomination was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, tweeted during Trump’s acceptance speech: “Appropriate song for this primary season America, GOP: ‘You can’t always get what you want but you get what you need.’ ”

Delegate LaDonna Ryggs of Greer, who directed U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s S.C. GOP primary campaign, tweeted about the finale: “Love the balloon drop. ... Feeling blessed.”

But some of the social media buzz coming from the S.C. delegation illustrated the anxiety about the GOP’s nominee.

Sandy Chiong, a Kershaw County delegate, tweeted: “Trump needs to release his tax records. #Transparency”

Around the time that Trump took the stage Thursday night, Chiong tweeted a picture of a man holding a sign that said, “How d’ya feel about Trump’s fingers on the button?”

The “T” in Trump’s name was a drawing of a mushroom cloud.

Paige Duffy Lewis, a Charleston County delegate, tweeted a bit of skepticism from the convention floor throughout Trump’s speech.

“Trump never exaggerates. Never ever.”

“Was that scripted or ad-libbed humbleness?”

At one point Trump promised, “We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities.”

The crowd erupted in applause, but Lewis had a different take: “So glad drugs and violence do not exist among our native born.”

Friday morning, when news was breaking of Trump criticizing Cruz again at a press conference, Lewis was more direct with her critique: “Whatever positivity was present last night, Trump has washed it away today. #nutjobs2016”

Want a S.C. road named after you?

If you want a road named after yourself or a friend, you could lobby a member of the General Assembly.

Or, under the new law the Legislature passed at the end of session, you could lobby state Transportation Department secretary Christy Hall.

But the commission that oversees the Transportation Department took action Thursday to stay involved in the road-naming process, too.

The commission passed a resolution requiring it recommend naming or dedicating a road, bridge or highway facility after someone. The commission’s recommendation then would be forwarded to the secretary of Transportation, Hall, who would have the final say.

Hall says she supports discussing road-naming proposals at Transportation Department commission meetings. “We still want to continue this as a public process.”

The Buzz could see a big problem with the transportation secretary having the sole authority on naming roads.

Under that scenario, people who want a road named after someone – and want to bypass the Legislature – could just lobby Hall. That would eat up her time and divert her attention away from what she’s supposed to be doing – running the 4,500-employee Transportation Department that maintains the state’s highway system.

Transportation Department commission chairman Mike Wooten said the resolution passed Thursday was just cleanup to comply the existing process with the new law.

Since he has been on the commission, Wooten said most road-naming recommendations have come from the General Assembly. Only a handful have come directly from the Transportation commission, he added.

“The Legislature gives us plenty,” he said.

During the 2015-16 legislative session, for example, at least 50 bills were introduced dealing with naming a road, bridge or intersection after someone.

Naming roads and buildings – even boat landings – for living people, specifically public officials, has drawn scrutiny for years.

Last year, for example, the Legislature approved removing the name of disgraced former Lexington County Sheriff James Metts from a boat landing on the lower Saluda River, near his home. Metts’ name was removed after he pleaded guilty to a federal charge.

For the record, Wooten said he is not a fan of naming roads after people unless they died serving their state or country.

“Just about every ditch and guard rail is being named for somebody,” Wooten said.

Mulvaney speaks to John Birch Society

S.C. Democrats are making a fuss about U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s mid-July speech to a John Birch Society dinner in West Columbia.

Depending on where you stand, the society is either a conservative group that advocates for limited government or a radical bunch of far-right conspiracy theorists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and extremists, describes the society as a “conspiracy group exiled by the right a half century ago.”

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, that Mick Mulvaney would deliver a major speech to a fringe extremist group that openly brags about believing in conspiracy theories and has been barred by the conservative movement for being too extreme,” S.C. Democratic Party communications director Matthew Ellison said in an email. “Mick’s ideological extremism and his refusal to collaborate with those across the aisle and even with less extreme members of his own party have been harmful to his constituents.”

Mulvaney said the Democrats are trying to make something out of nothing.

“I regularly speak to groups across the political spectrum because my constituents deserve access to their congressman,” the Indian Land Republican said in a statement. “I can’t remember ever turning down an opportunity to speak to a group based on the group’s political ideology.”

Mulvaney was listed in a John Birch Society mailer as scheduled to speak on “the Federal Reserve’s role in bailing out Europe.” He was rated at 90 percent positive by the John Birch Society in March, according to Votesmart.org.

Mulvaney faces Democrat Fran Person, a former aide to Vice President Joe Biden, in November as he seeks re-election to his 5th District congressional seat.

House ethics chairman to work as consultant

Outgoing state Rep. Kenny Bingham, R-Lexington, will work as a government affairs adviser for the Adams and Reese lobbying firm.

Bingham, who chaired the S.C. House Ethics Committee, still will own his engineering practice, American Engineering Consultants. He also said he will not be lobbying for Adams and Reese clients, only consulting for the firm.

State ethics law bans former legislators from lobbying for a year after they serve. But Bingham said he had attorneys check out the arrangement before taking the job.

Good-government watchdogs have criticized the consulting-not-lobbying distinction, saying it is highly nuanced and subject to abuse.

Staff writers Jamie Self and Avery Wilks contributed.

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