Report: Officials Nixed Idea Of Don King, Bill Clinton Accuser Speaking At RNC

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles as he speaks in New York, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Donald Trump reportedly had a hard time understanding that Republican officials didn’t view a boxing promoter convicted of manslaughter and a woman who accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault as suitable speaker choices for the Republican National Convention.

A New York Times report published Sunday shed some light on some of Trump’s speaker picks that were shot down by Republican officials, as well as the difficulties those officials had getting Trump to understand why those picks would be disastrous.

Trump said earlier this month that he’d told notorious boxing promoter Don King that he’d like him to speak at the convention. The real estate mogul had bragged about receiving King’s endorsement, although King denied giving one.

It turns out Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus had to explain that a man convicted of a felony could not speak at the convention, three anonymous GOP strategists familiar with those conversations told the Times. He reportedly reminded Trump that King had stomped a man to death, and Trump eventually conceded.

Another one of Trump’s picks that reportedly was vetoed by GOP officials was Kathleen Willey, the woman who alleged former President Bill Clinton had groped her in the White House (Clinton denied that allegation in a 1998 deposition). The Times reported that top Trump aide Paul Manafort confirmed some speakers would reference Bill Clinton’s “harassment” of women and Hillary Clinton’s “enabling” of that behavior, though.

Even those who’ve been approved for speaking slots seem to be in the dark about what’s expected of them, according to the report. As of Friday, some speakers hadn’t been given guidance by the campaign or been asked to submit speeches for vetting.

The actual convention speakers’ roster boasts reality stars, soap opera actors and every member of the Trump clan, minus 10-year-old Barron Trump. Manafort said that choosing those speakers had been no less of a challenge than it was for conventions past.

“It’s no more chaotic and no less chaotic than before,” he told the Times.

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: