Never Trump movement crippled at Republican rules committee vote

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The Republican National Convention rules committee voted on two measures that sealed the fate of the Never Trump movement late Thursday evening in Cleveland, Ohio.

The first measure was proposed by Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh, and allowed for delegates to “vote their conscience” in the first ballot on the convention floor. That vote failed, only earning 15 out of the 112-member committee. The second measure was proposed by pro-Trump delegates, and required delegates to vote the way they were instructed by their respective states on the first ballot of the convention floor. The measure was enacted by 100 members of the rules committee, all but silencing the Never Trump movement before the convention started.

Unruh has until Monday to file a petition with signatures of at least 28 members of the rules committee in order to get a floor vote at the convention. Only 15 members of the committee voted for the measure Thursday. “Go buy brass knuckles for the floor fight,” Unruh said after the vote.

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah put his political clout behind the petition, asserting it was important to allow all of the delegates to vote on the rule. “This problem, this angst as we will see in a few days isn’t going to go away just because we paper over it with a few rules,” he said. “Don’t make the case that their voices should be silent, that’s not going to help elect him president and it’s not going to help our party.”

“Sir, there’s nobody else running for president in this party other than Donald Trump, It is time, sir, for you and everyone else to come together and say we are united and we will defeat the Democrats.” Texas delegate Steve Munisteri told Lee.

The assumed beneficiary of the Never Trump movement is former Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz. He has the second highest number of delegates, granting him more legitimacy than any other candidate. Cruz remains silent on the Never Trump movement, especially after his meeting with Trump in Washington, D.C., last week. Trump announced shortly after the meeting he supported Cruz speaking at the convention.

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was a key organizer for the anti-Trump movement who didn’t support the motion to detach the delegates from their perspective state’s instructions. “We are not touching the unbinding issue,” Cuccinelli told reporters. “We have not and we don’t plan to.”

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