CLEVELAND — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, was one of several hundred
delegates on the floor of the Republican National Convention who loudly protested against their own party’s attempts to ignore their dissent on the first night of the four-day meeting.
Some delegates shouted because they wanted to be able to vote for a candidate other than the presumptive GOP nominee, Donald Trump. Others were yelling to protest rules that they believe are centralizing power among a small number of Republican National Committee members, and taking it away from delegates at the convention every four years.
Lee spoke with Yahoo News after the floor fight Monday, and explained why he had participated in the unruly spectacle.
“A lot of concerns with the rules relate to a fear that the RNC is consolidating too much power,” Lee said. “This is something that we as Republicans, we as conservatives, worry about a lot in our government. It’s no surprise — or should be no surprise — that we worry about it within our party, too.”
He also said the RNC’s refusal to allow all 50 states to vote one by one on the floor of the convention, to approve or reject the rules governing the convention, may set the stage for more unrest on the floor as the convention proceeds this week.
Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, center, and Phil Wright, vice chair of the Utah state delegation, left, shout no to the adoption of rules without a roll-call vote on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
“They’ve certainly created the possibility for that,” he said. “I think they could have avoided that possibility had they handled this in the appropriate way, had they just allowed some of this steam to be released, allowed for a roll-call vote, allowed people to air their grievances about this.”
He added: “Instead, they created a pretty unfortunate circumstance.”