- The Washington Times
Monday, June 8, 2020

They’ve got 77 days to find a new venue. That would be the Republican Party, now in search of a replacement site for the Republican National Convention, originally set for Charlotte, North Carolina, but now without a home after White House and venue disagreed over coronavirus safety precautions.

But not to worry. The GOP is entertaining alternative ideas for the mammoth event, including a possible “rolling” convention which would unfold in several cities over four days.

Rolling? Did someone say rolling? All aboard the Trump Train. For real. Perhaps President Trump should opt for an authentic whistlestop-style convention, touring several states on a private rail car, as six other presidents have done before him. That idea would thrill Trump fans who have long compared their ardent support for the president as being on the “Trump Train.” Intrigued news media would jump on board, but not without complaints of say, the carbon footprint of a custom railcar.

And there is a custom railcar. The “Ferdinand Magellan” — the nation’s only official presidential railcar — was fabricated by Pullman in 1942. It has been designated a national historic landmark, has two escape hatches plus nickel-steel armor plating, and bulletproof glass. It weighs 142.5 tons.

“It is the heaviest passenger railcar in the U.S.” advises the Gold Coast Rail Museum in Miami, which now houses the behemoth car.

It is of note that some historians cite Harry Truman’s surprise reelection victory in 1948 to his decision to tour the American countryside aboard the Ferdinand Magellan for four months. Ronald Reagan made a 250-mile, five-city tour aboard the car during his successful 1984 reelection campaign. Before he took office in 2009, Barack Obama also made a grand entrance in the nation’s capital aboard another private train car in 2009.

Meanwhile, Republican planners have multiple cities in mind to replace Charlotte for the potential “rolling” convention.

“Part of the appeal of the roadshow approach is that it could allow President Trump to claim having commanded the highest-attended convention audience in history, and to accept his renomination with all the fanfare he envisioned,” NBC reported.

“GOP officials are already on the ground in places like Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas; Phoenix; and New Orleans. They may also schedule scouting visits to Atlanta; Savannah, Georgia; and Las Vegas in the weeks to come,” the network said.


Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, recently issued a public statement criticizing President Trump and declaring that he was dividing the nation.

“Shortly after Mattis’ statement became public, former White House Chief of Staff retired Gen. John Kelly — like Mattis, a Marine — said that he agreed with Mattis’s statement. The media are — falsely — characterizing the Mattis and Kelly statements as proof that Trump isn’t and can’t be trusted even by his closest advisers and that there is a breakdown of trust between Trump and the military. They tried the same thing in the 2006 ‘generals’ revolt’ against George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld,” writes Jed Babbin, contributing editor to the American Spectator.

“Mattis’s severe criticism of Trump, joined in by Kelly, does not mean that Trump has lost the respect of the military. Statements by two generals cannot and should not be imputed to the rest of the professional military. But it does mean that Mattis has crossed a line he had honorably drawn for himself. Mattis’s statement and Kelly’s agreement won’t disappear amidst the presidential campaign. The media will ensure that. The only question is whether or not Mattis and Kelly will allow their personal dislike for Trump to be used in Joe Biden’s campaign against him,” Mr. Babbin advises.


George Bush, Colin Powell, and Mitt Romney say they won’t support President Trump — but they find no one cares” notes an editorial headline for RedState.com.

“The fact that these people are refusing to vote for Trump says in the way that no Trump campaign video ever can that Trump has delivered on his promises and the powers of the status quo are terrified of what a second Trump administration will do to their cozy little deal,” the editorial advises.

Sen. Tom Cotton — whose recent op-ed for the New York Times caused a revolt at the news organization — had an addendum.

“I respect Colin Powell’s service and he’s entitled to his opinion, like every other American. But he hasn’t voted Republican for sixteen years. Apparently John McCain and Mitt Romney were ‘too extreme’ for Secretary Powell,” the Arkansas Republican tweeted Monday.


Some observers note that Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden has been a little, shall we say, coy about the issue of defunding of city police departments.

Here is some advice from a lawmaker who knows about public violence.

“Joe Biden’s trying to play both ends of this and hide out in his bunker and not directly address it while yet trying to embrace, quietly embrace the defund movement. He ought to be very vocal about where he is on this,” Republican Whip Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, tells Fox News.

He was gravely wounded by a shooter during practice for a charity baseball game in 2017, along with five other people. The third anniversary of that attack is June 14.


• 43% of U.S. adults say they currently use Facebook; 48% of Republicans, 39% of independents and 43% of Democrats agree.

• 24% overall say they use both Facebook and Twitter; 16% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.

• 4% overall say they use Twitter only; 4% of Republicans, 3% of independents and 7% of Democrats agree.

• 29% overall say they do not use Facebook or Twitter; 32% of Republicans, 30% of independents and 25% of Democrats agree.

Source: A Monmouth University poll of 807 U.S. adults conducted May 28-June 1 and released Monday.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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