Donald Trump’s problems leading up to the Republican National Convention in mid-July now go way beyond the fact that it may not be well-attended by GOP elites. Now, the guy is struggling to find people to speak on his behalf.
Politico talked to dozens of top Republicans about whether or not they’re going to the convention and if they’d be willing to participate in a speaking engagement if asked. So we reached out to the top R’s in Pennsylvania to pull together a list of who’s going to the convention, who’d be willing to speak or take part and who’s snubbing Cleveland entirely.
We’re going to continue updating this post in the weeks leading up to the convention as we hear back from more of the top Republicans in the state on whether or not they’ll attend the convention and how, erm, enthusiastic their presence is there. Here’s who we have answers for at this point:
The top dogs
Sen. Pat Toomey
Endorsed Trump? Well, kind of. He hasn’t officially endorsed him — but he’s said he “hopes to” and has indicated he’ll vote for him over Hillary Clinton.
Comments: Toomey is facing a tough battle for re-election and had previously aligned himself with former presidential candidate Marco Rubio. Since Trump’s win, he’s said he’ll vote for the presumptive nominee, but has also — after being asked by the media — criticized The Donald for comments made that were widely seen as offensive. Toomey seems to be taking the safe route when it comes to the RNC. He says he’ll be out on the campaign trail instead.
Former Gov. Tom Ridge
Endorsed Trump? Nope. Ridge has been against Trump since the beginning, even saying in December there was “not a chance” he’d support him. The former Pennsylvania governor who went on to serve as the Secretary of Homeland Security under George W. Bush has indicated that he won’t vote for Trump or Hillary.
Comments: Steve Aaron, who handles public relations for the former governor, said only: “Gov. Ridge does not have any plans to attend the RNC.”
The congressional delegation
There are 13 Republicans representing Pennsylvania in Congress. Here’s who we have answers for, one way or another, on whether or not they’ll attend the convention.
Rep. Tom Marino
Where he represents: The 10th district of Pennsylvania, which includes rural areas in the northeastern portion of the state, as well as the Williamsport and Lewisburg areas.
Endorsed Trump? Oh, yes. He’s the campaign chair for Donald Trump’s efforts in Pennsylvania and has enthusiastically supported the candidate at rallies and events across the state. Marino was among the first members of Congress to support Trump, and when he did so, Politico wrote: “The congressman called endorsing Trump ‘one of my life-changing moments’ — along with quitting his job at 30 to go to college and law school, adopting his children, and deciding to run for Congress in 2010.”
Comments: His spokeswoman Ainsley Holyfield said this: “He will be attending, but as far as speeches go, we don’t have anything confirmed as of yet.”
Rep. Lou Barletta
Where he represents: The 11th District of Pennsylvania, which includes Columbia, Montour, and Wyoming counties and parts of Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin, Luzerne, Northumberland, and Perry counties.
Attending? Yes. He’s an at-large delegate.
Endorsed Trump? Yes. In March, Barletta endorsed Trump and told reporters that he hoped others would, too. He’s made appearances alongside Trump and Marino in Pennsylvania.
Comments: From Jon Anzur, a spokesman: “Rep. Barletta is attending the convention. He was appointed to serve as one of the PA delegation’s 14 at-large delegates and will be participating in various speaking engagements as a surrogate during the week.”
Rep. Joe Pitts
Where he represents: The 16th District of Pennsylvania, which includes parts of Chester County, Lancaster County and Berks County.
Endorsed Trump? No. But he has said he’ll vote for him. Pitts was among a group of Berks County lawmakers who slammed Trump in December before he headlined a fundraiser at the PA Society, saying about his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country: “The threat of Muslim terrorism is grave, but we don’t defend our core principles by sacrificing them during times of trial.”
Comments: His spokeswoman Anna Swick said only: “Congressman Pitts will not attend the convention.”
Rep. Ryan Costello
Where he represents: The 6th District of Pennsylvania, which includes parts of Berks and Montgomery Counties.
Endorsed Trump? No.
Comments: Costello was a delegate to the convention and actually stepped down from that post earlier this month. A senior campaign official told The (Allentown) Morning Call that he won’t be going to the convention, instead electing to stay home to work and spend time with his family.
Rep. Charlie Dent
Where he represents: The 15th District of Pennsylvania, which includes parts of Lehigh, Berks, Dauphin, Lebanon and Northampton counties.
Endorsed Trump? No, and he’s been among groups of sitting congressmen who have blasted Trump’s comments and positions. Dent told the New Yorker that he’s unhappy with Trump’s “lack of policy specificity, and the general tone and tenor of the campaign, and the never-ending statements that offend P.O.W.s, people with disabilities, Mexicans, Muslims, women, of course, the David Duke debacle”
Rep. Bill Shuster
Where he represents: The 9th congressional district, which stretches from Fayette County to the Maryland border all the way up to Clearfield County.
Attending? Yes — he’s a delegate for the 9th congressional district.
Endorsed Trump? Yes. Shuster was among the first congressional committee chairs to endorse Trump. In April, he said: “Donald is a private sector business leader who knows what it takes to get things done – and that is something that Washington desperately needs. ”
Rep. Mike Kelly
Where he represents: The 3rd district of Pennsylvania, which includes parts of Butler, Clarion, Erie, Lawrence and Mercer counties.
Endorsed Trump? Yes. He voted for Trump in the primary and urged party members to united behind the presumptive Republican nominee.
Comments: Kelly is an alternate for one of the at-large delegate spots, so he’ll be around for the RNC. We’re still waiting to hear on whether or not he’s open to a speaking engagement.
Rep. Patrick Meehan
Where he represents: The 7th district of Pennsylvania, which includes parts of Delaware county.
Endorsed Trump? Not really. It’s still unclear who he’s voting for.
Comments: He has made it clear he won’t vote for Clinton, telling the Inquirer: “I suspect we’re all going to end up supporting the Republican ticket.”
Where he represents: Nowhere yet. He’s running in a close congressional race in Bucks County.
Endorsed Trump? Not quite.
Comments: He released a statement to The Inquirer that was critical of Clinton and that expressed hope that Trump would go deeper into some of his policy ideas during the RNC.
House Speaker Mike Turzai
Where he represents: The 28th legislative district, which includes parts of western Pennsylvania.
Endorsed Trump? Unclear. He seems to be a little distracted by that whole state budget thing.
Comments: Turzai is an at-large delegate for the RNC, so unless something drastically changes, he’ll be at the convention.
Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati
Where he represents: The 25th district of Pennsylvania, which includes parts of Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Potter, Clinton and Tioga counties.
Endorsed Trump? Well, sorta. He endorsed John Kasich throughout the primary process, but basically said begrudgingly that he’ll vote for Trump now. Here’s what he said after being selected as a delegate: “At the convention, as a delegate and based on the wishes of the primary voters in Pennsylvania, I am bound to vote for Donald Trump. While the list of GOP presidential hopefuls has been vast over the last year, it is time that we come together and unify to stop democrats from advancing their liberal agenda.”
Comments: Scarnati is an at-large delegate for the RNC. Safe to say he won’t be a big speaker considering his lackluster support for the nominee.
House Majority Leader Dave Reed
Where he represents: The 62nd legislative district of Pennsylvania, which includes Indiana County.
Endorsed Trump? Unclear.
Comments: Reed is an alternate at-large delegate for the RNC.
State Sen. Scott Wagner
Where he represents: The 28th senatorial district, which includes parts of York County.
Endorsed Trump? Not formally. But the state senator (who is also a millionaire) has on many occasions been compared to Trump, and he attended a rally for The Donald in Harrisburg in April.
Comments: Wagner is an alternate at-large delegate for the RNC. And it’s possible the convention could do wonders for his profile, as it appears the outspoken state senator is considering a run for governor.