Republican delegates and operatives who have resisted the inevitable confirmation of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump have made their final stand and lost with little fanfare.
On July 14, the Republican National Convention Rules Committee voted on a proposal calling for all GOP delegates to be unbound on the first ballot, meaning delegates could disregard how their state voted and instead vote based on their own conscience, according to The Daily Beast.
The effort failed, closing the book on the vocally outraged, but largely ineffectual, “Never Trump” movement.
GOP delegate Kendal Unruh of Colorado proposed the amendment as a last-ditch effort to unseat Trump from the party nomination.
Unruh and her fellow “Never Trump” delegates’ strategy was to lobby for at least 28 out of the 112 members of the Rules Committee to vote yes on the amendment, allowing them to submit it on the convention floor as a minority report.
This would have given the “Never Trump” movement the opportunity to turn on Trump on the convention floor, possibly swinging the nomination to a different candidate on the first ballot.
Unruh was adamant that she amassed enough yes votes on the committee to have her proposal passed as a minority report, but the measure failed, and only five delegates reportedly voted for the measure.
This was not the first time the “Never Trump” movement failed to back up its claims. After editor Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard spent months to find a suitably conservative challenger against Trump in the general election, the best candidate he could muster was journalist David French of the National Review, according to The Columbia Daily Herald.
The unbounding amendment allegedly never amassed enough votes to reach the 28 threshold, but the effort’s fate was sealed when GOP delegate Ken Cuccinelli, who Unruh was relying on to drum up more votes, turned on her during a last-minute meeting with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, according to the National Review.
Cuccinelli, an ally of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, allegedly agreed to not help Unruh in exchange for Priebus agreeing to new rule changes designed to give his friend an advantage in the 2020 GOP primary.
Priebus reportedly refused to implement Cuccinelli’s requested changes.
While the Rules Committee debated Unruh’s proposal, GOP delegate Steve Scheffler of Iowa voiced frustration with members of the "Never Trump" movement, claiming their efforts to pressure him and fellow committee members bordered on harassment.
“It’s over, folks,” Scheffler told his fellow delegates.
The measure failed to pass, and Trump being named the GOP nominee on the first ballot is all but assured.
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort took to Twitter to declare the presumptive nominee’s opposition effectively defeated.
“Anti-Trump people get crushed at Rules Committee,” Manfort tweeted on July 14. “It was never in doubt: Convention will honor will of people & nominate @realdonaldtrump.”