While the RNC was, in itself, a pretty bizarre spectacle, there were a few key events that really stuck out. (And yes, there will be a DNC list in the coming weeks!)
1The band who trolled RNC concertgoers
Third Eye Blind, known for its series of 1990s alt-rock hits, upset guests during a charity concert held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The band was expected to cover several pro-America anthems—and play their hits, of course—for the RNC-friendly audience in attendance, but that's not how things went down. Instead, frontman Stephan Jenkins frustrated the crowd over and over again by expressing his displeasure with their conservative views. He showed support for things like gay rights and science (both of which received boos) and then played nothing the crowd recognized. Jenkins didn't seem to care. "You can boo all you want, but I'm the motherf****** artist up here," he proclaimed.
Later, the band responded to fans who expressed their displeasure on social media through its official Facebook account:
2The convention speaker who claimed Hillary Clinton was influenced by Lucifer
Former presidential candidate Ben Carson not only threw his weight behind Trump at the RNC, but he also raised a more than a few eyebrows when he veered off his prepared remarks to suggest Lucifer influenced Hillary Clinton. That's right–old Beelzebub himself.
When later asked to explain the Clinton/Prince of Darkness connection, Carson pointed out that Clinton considered community organizer Saul Alinsky her mentor, and had referred to his famous book Rules for Radicals in her college thesis. Alinsky, meanwhile, had once appeared to praise the devil. “On the dedication page, he acknowledged Lucifer in an admirable way, saying that he's the original radical who gained his own kingdom,” Carson explained. “Please read the book, because it's very interesting how it uses controlled anarchy to change us from a democratic republic to a socialist society.”
Baffled newsman Chris Cuomo brought up Carson's history of excusing his own previous behavior—such as trying to stab a friend when he was a young man—and asked why he was so quick to forgive his own past while hammering Clinton's undergraduate Alinsky connection. “It was something that was personally important to her in 1969. I think there's no question about that,” he elaborated. “It's just what you choose to use as criticism, especially as somebody who has said many times, 'don't judge me by something that long ago, judge me by right now. ' If she believed that at that time—and now you look at her actions—you look at what she advocates, the killing of babies, the dissolution of the traditional family, all these kinds of things—those are pretty consistent, quite frankly."
3Male escorts made mad money from RNC attendees
According to the New York Post, business boomed for gay escorts in the Cleveland area during the RNC. Convention attendees—most of them married—allegedly clamored for their services.
The Post interviewed several escorts who claimed they were raking it in. One said he had already earned $1,600 since the convention started—over six times the amount he usually makes in any given week. Another claimed he made about $800 per day since the convention kicked off (he typically charges $250 an hour)—all from men visiting from Florida, Louisiana, and Washington, DC. (The clientele included mostly married white men between the ages of 40 and 50, said a third escort.)
Unfortunately, females didn't fare as well—those who were interviewed by the Post said business for them was slower than usual.
4An unusual selection by the RNC house band
The Republican Party has become notorious for playing music for political affairs that are totally unaligned with its views. But this year, the RNC house band did something that may strike you as even weirder—they played Bowie. Led by ex-Saturday Night Live musical director G.E. Smith, the band broke out in a version of Bowie's "Station to Station,” singing the lyrics, “It's not the side-effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love.”
The album that “Station to Station” comes from—also titled Station to Station—was recorded by Bowie while he was using heavily, and the late musician claimed not to remember any of the creative processes behind it.
The song comes from Bowie's "Thin White Duke" phase, during which time he bore a controversial fascination with fascism and, particularly, Nazi symbolism. Could Smith, who is not a Republican, have been implying something in his musical choice?
5The anti-Trump movement that died at the RNC
A last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the Republican Party's presidential nomination was quickly silenced on the opening day of the RNC.
Trump opponents of wanted to free up delegates to support another candidate. The Republican Party was having none of it, however, and shut down the protest vote with authority.
Chaos on the floor quickly streamed to social media where “Never Trump” supporters could be heard chanting “roll-call vote” over and over. But in the end, the group lost their bid for such a vote, eliminating their chances of a coup and forcing delegates to vote along their state's primary results. That's because the convention chairman claimed that three of the nine states withdrew their request for a roll call, and the movement lost the minimum number of states it needed to try and force a formal vote.
6The writer who took responsibility for the controversy surrounding Melania Trump's speech
We reported on Melania Trump's partially plagiarized speech recently. Now, a writer has come forward to take responsibility for the gaffe.
Meredith McIver, an in-house staff writer for the Trump Organization, released a statement saying she wrote down portions of the Obama speech—with Mrs. Trump reading them to her over the phone—and included them later in the draft. She apologized, saying, "I did not check Mrs. Obama's speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant."
McIver offered to quit, but the Trump family refused to accept her resignation. "Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences," she said. "I asked to put out this statement because I did not like seeing the way this was distracting from Mr. Trump's historic campaign for president and Melania's beautiful message and presentation," McIver concluded.
7The laundry list of musicians who are upset that their music was used at the RNC
It seems almost every musician whose music was played at the RNC has come out against its usage at the event. The Rolling Stones, the O'Jays, Free, Queen, and the estates of Luciano Pavarotti and George Harrison have all made statements saying their music was used without their permission, but do they have a legal leg to stand on?
James Grimmelmann, a copyright scholar at Cornell University, believes the GOP probably did need to acquire a license before using any music, but it wouldn't have to do so from the artists in question. The necessary permissions are available from a performing rights organization called Broadcast Music Inc. Securing rights from organizations like BMI is a standard step in organizing any big campaign event where music is going to be played. The question remains as to whether or not the Trump campaign actually did so.
BMI operates under close antitrust scrutiny; it's required to license its music to all comers on a nondiscriminatory basis. In other words, a band doesn't have the option of licensing its music to BMI with a "no Donald Trump" or "no Republicans" restriction.
The vast majority of the time, musicians' complaints about politicians using their music don't go anywhere. The goal of the complaint is more to send a political signal to their fans than it is to stop the use of their music, and what exactly happened at the RNC remains to be seen.
8The former presidential candidate who refused to endorse Trump and suggested Republicans "vote their conscience"
Former presidential candidate Ted Cruz ripped apart GOP unity at the RNC before vice presidential nominee Mike Pence took the stage when he urged Republicans to "vote your conscience," instead of the candidate.
The result was a moment of high drama in the convention hall, as delegates booed Cruz angrily and waved their arms. Some even rushed the stage. The next morning, Cruz was met with anger and denunciations from many sides and was even heckled at a breakfast meeting of his own Texas delegation, where a vocal minority of the crowd was furious.
Cruz remained defiant, and it made it clear he was not about to endorse Trump, after a brutal primary campaign where the candidate dismissed him as "Lyin' Ted," mocked his wife's looks, and linked his father to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
9The sexist, misogynist anti-Hilary swag sold outside the RNC
The swag offered outside the RNC during its run was seen as a humorous (i.e., sexist, racist, xenophobic) spin on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's platform. Buttons featured phrases like "KFC Hillary Special: 2 Fat Thighs, 2 Small Breasts, Left Wing" and "Life's A Bitch — Don't Vote For One," with Clinton's face contorted in the center. Some of the sexism is a little more subtle, but one of the underlying messages behind these souvenirs is clear—don't vote for Clinton because she's a woman, and in Trump's world, women are "fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals." Unless they're hot, which then means they are totally into him.
10The delegates that were sickened by the highly contagious norovirus
During the RNC, at least 12 staffers on the California delegate team reported symptoms that seem to indicate a norovirus infection, giving new meaning to the term "shitshow."
The infected team members, staying an hour outside of Cleveland, were put under quarantine. A state party leader warned delegates to stay off the buses that shuttle them to the Quicken Loans Arena if were experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above.
Health officials said those affected by the virus were plagued with symptoms which included vomiting and diarrhea.