Small Town News
Delegate from Union attends Republican convention
It's been an emotional two weeks for Union's Phil Wilson, who arrived in Cleveland early to lend a hand with the national Republican platform. Like most Republicans in Washington, Wilson supported Ted Cruz for the nomination.
By the time he was able to give an interview on Tuesday, he was exhausted and hoarse from the prior afternoon when a final push to change the rules, which would have allowed a candidate to challenge Donald Trump for the nomination, failed.
Admitting that he was new to the process, he witnessed a power struggle that would dismiss what he saw as an important companion piece to the party's platform and, later, a deal made in the Rules Committee that would prevent any usurpers from taking the nomination from Trump. Wilson said he was hesitant to support Trump.
Despite some hesitancy from some attendees, Trump was officially selected during the convention to be the Republicans' presidential candidate.
"I'm a conservative first and a Republican second," Wilson told the Journal, "And so I asked a guy from Alabama, 'Hey can you make me a Trump person?' He told me Trump is going to come in and blow things up, he's an outside person and so the establishment is afraid."
Wilson saw three strong factions struggling to find common ground in the committee meetings last week: conservatives, Trump supporters and the RNC (Republican National Convention). He described the RNC as "the establishment."
"We conservatives met for the Rules Committee and strategized on what we wanted to do. And when it came to rules, the Trump team was on the same page as us on everything except for unbinding people. We were very close, but it fell apart," he said.
Wilson said the Rules Committee, a group of delegates from across the United States that came together in Cleveland, met in a marathon session working late into the evening to settle the dispute.
"To make a change you need one RNC person from 10 different states and what they did is they changed it from one to two. That would make it almost impossible," he recalled. It was a session in which Trump's people made a deal with the RNC, ensuring that there would be no chance of a roll call vote from the floor of the convention, he said.
"The rules committee got slaughtered," he said.
"James Madison wrote that men are not angels and that's why we don't want to have one person having all the power. We want to distribute power. We want to push power out, to push decision-making power to the lowest level possible and then they have the responsibility for those decisions. Well, they pushed it up. They gave the RNC more power," he said. He added that he didn't fault those opposed to his own convictions.
"People need to vote for what they believe," he said.
On Monday night, a motion for a roll call vote to allow a change to the rules failed when the chairman ruled that several states that had earlier signed on to a roll call vote, had withdrawn. The Colorado delegation walked out of the convention in protest.
"I am upset after they announced the result and Colorado, they walked out. And when I rode home with them on the bus, they said they did not withdraw their votes and we started questioning whether that was true in other states; they didn't tell us which states withdrew. You really have a sense that there is process and it feels like the process is being violated," Wilson said.
The convention saw plenty of interesting occurrences through Tuesday, most notably Trump's wife, Melania, apparently plagiarizing part of a Michelle Obama speech from 2008.
Throughout the interview, Wilson interjected his pride about serving the people of Mason County.
"It's been such an honor to serve. It's just amazing that we can just sit down and listen to each other," he said, later adding, "What a fantastic opportunity to be involved. I've made a great number of connections and it was an honor to be able to come here, a wonderful privilege to be a part of that process and I have thoroughly enjoyed it."
Wilson, whose parents are missionaries, grew up in South Sudan and as he matured he began to investigate the cause of the disparities between cultures.
"When we got back to this country, I began to realize that the difference was because they had different foundations and that's because of what our country's founders laid out in the founding documents. And I came to have a great appreciation of our foundation and studied it and began to believe it to be true and I see the results and because of that I began to think, I had to stand up for that.
"From my perspective, we have people who are digging up those philosophical foundations and that concerns me. The building is not going to stand up the same when you dig into its foundation," he said.
"what a fantastic opportunity to be involved. I've made a great number off connections and it was an honor to be able to come here, a wonderful privilege to be a part of that process and I have thoroughly enjoyed it."
Phil Wilson, Union resident and delegate at the Republican National Convention
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