Who had vetted the long and rambling speech by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, which prompted so many delegates to walk out that the closing act by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa — a rare next-generation star willing to address Trump’s convention — came close to midnight in a mostly empty Quicken Loans Arena?
Why had Donald Trump called into Bill O’Reilly’s program on Fox News, resulting in the network cutting away from the emotionally resonant remarks by Patricia Smith, whose son Sean was killed in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya?
Then there were the day’s earlier developments: the brief revolt on the convention floor from rebellious anti-Trump delegates over a procedural dispute, as well as Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s decision to begin a week-long push for party unity by publicly chastising Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the Bush family over their refusal to support Trump.
The first 24 hours of Trump’s convention left Republican strategists — some of whom have long been at odds with Trump and his team — befuddled and concerned about the capacity of the Trump campaign to run a serious and effective general-election operation against the machinery of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Manafort and campaign spokesman Jason Miller worked to craft the campaign’s initial statement, which landed in reporters’ inboxes at 1:48 a.m.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” read the statement, which was attributed to Miller. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
The statement conflicted with what Melania Trump told NBC News before her appearance Monday night. Asked by Matt Lauer whether she had practiced her speech, she said, “I read it once over, and that’s all because I wrote it with as little help as possible.”