Convention incidents raise racial questions about GOP gathering
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - As the Republicans prepared for their convention finale, they had to cope with some incidents some would call more than a little embarrassing.
Do they reveal the party’s personality—or are they just the sort of slip-ups that can happen anytime you bring thousands of people together?
Of all things, peanuts play a role in this story—and not because they’re a favorite food of the Republicans favorite animal.
Convention organizers ejected two alternate delegates after they threw peanuts at a black, female photographer. Multiple witnesses said as the men threw the peanuts, they said, “That’s how we feed the animals here”.
Video of another incident has raised some eyebrows. A Hispanic woman, a senior delegate from Puerto Rico tries to speak but loud chants of USA, USA shout her down until the convention chairman gavels them under control.
To Democrats like Pima County chair Jeff Rogers the Republican drew out their own unflattering character sketch.
He says, "The Republican party right now, it feels like in order to win they have to appeal to what they call the angry white male and in fact the South Carolina Congressman just the other day said we're gonna have to change this party because there aren't enough angry white men to win offices anymore. So this is not terribly surprising unfortunately."
Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva sees the chant as more a matter of delegates disrespecting the dream of many Republican Puerto Ricans, to change Puerto Rico from a territory to the 51st state.
Congressman Grijalva says, "What happens on the floor happens on the floor but I think it would be horribly unfair of me to categorize all the Republicans as racist or prejudiced that would be unfair. But there is in the platform that causes great concern for many of us and questions whether or not the Republican Party is going to be inclusive in the future."
KGUN9 News did want to get reaction from Grijalva's Republican opponent in the November election, but Gabriela Saucedo-Mercer's campaign told us a last minute schedule snag forced her to cancel our interview at the last minute.