Chaos unfolded on the floor of the Republican National Convention Monday afternoon, just hours after the convention officially started.
At issue was the latest bid of the #NeverTrump movement to unseat the presumptive nomination of the billionaire businessman Donald Trump, submitting what they claimed were enough signatures from delegates to force a roll call vote of all delegates to either approve or reject the rules package put forward last week by the RNC Rules Committee.
According to Politico, rather than proceed with a full roll call vote, Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack instead called for a voice vote, declaring the “ayes” had it, approving the rules package, before walking off the stage.
The #NeverTrumpers had hoped to reject the rules package, specifically in order to amend the rules requiring delegates to vote for the candidate their state’s voters had pledged them to through their primary or caucus results.
Though there likely would not have been enough support to rewrite the rule, the roll call vote on the floor would have displayed the size of the opposition to Trump’s nomination that remains in the GOP.
However, Womack, who reappeared on stage and held a second voice vote with similar results, claimed that some of the signatures submitted had been withdrawn ahead of the original vote, leaving the #NeverTrump movement short of the required number necessary to force a roll call vote.
As could be expected, many were displeased to see their bid at defeating Trump fail yet again.
“I have never in all my life, certainly in six years in the United States Senate, prior to that as a lifelong Republican, never seen anything like this,” said Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a prominent #NeverTrumper.
“There is no precedent for this in parliamentary procedure. There is no precedent for this in the rules of the Republican National Convention. We are now in uncharted territory. Somebody owes us an explanation. I have never seen the chair abandoned like that. They vacated the stage entirely,” Lee added.
As chaotic as things were, this could very well be the final moments of the #NeverTrump movement.
Regardless, it still doesn’t look good – as Trump and the RNC are working to present an image of party unity going into the convention, and ahead of the Democrat National Convention next week, where unindicted presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is expected to be nominated to be their party’s candidate for president.