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'Rules Committee' Prepares To Establish Rules For Republican National Convention


It may not have the cool factor of the Rock and Roll Museum or a Beyonce concert, but next week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland is expected to draw a pretty big crowd. And the presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has also promised a few celebrity appearances. But before the RNC starts in Cleveland, Ohio, a small group of delegates, 112 to be precise, met to set the rules for the convention. The group is called the Rules Committee. Matt Micheli is one of the delegates on the Rules Committee, and from what we've heard, he's not slept much in the past few days. That true, Mr. Micheli?

MATT MICHELI: (Laughter) That is correct. We've put in a long day and a lot of hard work.

WERTHEIMER: Any controversy surviving the Rules Committee meeting? Are there still delegates who are trying to figure out a way to unseat Trump?

MICHELI: You know, there's been a lot of media attention around that. I think that has pretty well been decided. And that's part of what the Rules Committee does is meet and talk about those things. And I don't think there's anything going forward, but, you know, I guess we'll see what happens on Monday.

WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) So disturbances on the floor or in the hall or outside the hall, not necessarily under your control?

MICHELI: (Laughter) Yeah, yeah, and I don't have control over all of that. You know, that's part of why the Rules Committee meets early is some of those concerns get aired in that group, and I guess we'll see. But I would be surprised if there were anything going forward.

WERTHEIMER: So what was the most contentious issue you worked on this week?

MICHELI: For me personally, and I think for a lot of us, we were - like to see or we're talking about trying to talk about some changes to the process - and these are all for 2020, right? I think the media wants to talk a lot about this election and Donald Trump, but what we were really concerned about or working on were some changes to the process in 2020.

WERTHEIMER: Caucuses and primaries, that kind of thing.

MICHELI: Yeah, and probably the biggest one was open primaries versus closed primaries. Now, I'm from Wyoming, which is a conservative state, and certainly my constituents and the people that I talk to would like to see Republicans choose the Republican nominee and favor states that allow Republicans to choose a Republican nominee. That was probably the biggest single sticking point and talking point in the Rules Committee.

WERTHEIMER: So you're an unbound delegate.

MICHELI: (Laughter) That's correct.

WERTHEIMER: What are you going to do?

MICHELI: Maybe I'll vote for you.

WERTHEIMER: OK (laughter).

MICHELI: (Laughter).

WERTHEIMER: That's never happened but...

MICHELI: You know, there's been a handful of unbound delegates. Quite honestly, I'm not completely sure how I'll vote. You know, my state overwhelmingly voted for Ted Cruz, and I feel like I'm here to represent my state and to cast a vote in accordance with the will of my state. And I suspect that's probably how I will vote. But I'm going to meet with - my delegation comes in today and tomorrow, and we'll meet and we'll talk about it. And, you know, I'll probably follow what they want. But I would suspect that my vote would be for Ted Cruz, but that won't have any influence on the outcome of the convention. But I'm here to represent my state, and that was their overwhelming choice.

WERTHEIMER: Matt Micheli is chairman of the Wyoming Republican Party. He joined us from Cleveland, Ohio, where he's been attending the Republican Convention Rules Committee meetings. Mr. Micheli, thank you so much.

MICHELI: OK, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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