GOP delegates: Bashing Clinton can't be only Trump strategy
Jul. 20, 2016
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Donald Trump cannot win on bashing Hillary Clinton alone, Illinois delegates to the Republican National Convention said Wednesday.
Other Prairie State representatives at the Cleveland gathering argue that criticism of the former secretary of state is justified and won't hurt Trump among women voters.
Clinton was the target of disparaging speeches on Tuesday night, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former Trump rival, excoriating her foreign-policy record and statements she made about her handling of State Department emails that the FBI declared untrue. Another former candidate, Ben Carson, linked her to Lucifer.
Pat Brady, a delegate for Ohio Gov. John Kasich from St. Charles, said it's time to wind down the convention with positive, pro-GOP messages. It closes Thursday night when Trump, a New York real estate developer, will accept the nomination.
"I just want to hear about what Republicans will do, how Republicans will run the government," said Brady, a former state GOP chairman. "The tone should be that Republican policies work in reality and they're good for everybody. We've already won the argument that Hillary's a liar."
Another Kasich delegate, state Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights, acknowledged there's justification in Clinton condemnation, based on her public record, and said, "I wouldn't be surprised to hear the same type of rhetoric from the Democratic National Convention" next week.
But Harris added, "It can't just be an anti-Clinton message, but a message of where we are going to go strategically and where we move the country."
Clinton campaign spokesmen did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
Trump delegates say they have no problem with the Clinton-bashing and do not fear blowback from women voters, a problem area for Trump.
James Devors, a Trump delegate from Aroma Park, 60 miles south of Chicago, agreed that he'd "like to hear more positive stuff about Mr. Trump."
But the negative statements, Devors said, "are going toward those Republicans who are lukewarm to Mr. Trump. It's, 'You might not like Mr. Trump, but this is your alternative,' is the audience they're going for."
State Rep. John Cabello of Machesney Park, 95 miles northwest of Chicago, an at-large delegate and Trump supporter, said reprisals from women voters shouldn't be a problem because "Trump has a problem only with women who would never support him in the first place."
Brady isn't so sure.
"If you demonize her too much, she becomes a victim," Brady said. "When she's talking policy and substance, she doesn't do as well as she does when she's victimized, or perceived as being a victim."
Linda Lucchese, a Trump delegate from Park Ridge, Clinton's hometown in Chicago's northwest suburbs, disagreed: "It won't hurt with any woman who's got half a brain," she said.
"We all want a woman for president, but not Hillary, not this fall," Lucchese said. "I want a woman who's impeccable, without question, without a record of doubt."