Most up-and-coming politicians would love to have a prime time speaking slot at a major party convention.
This year, however, prominent Republicans are avoiding the Republican National Convention like the plague — and it’s all thanks to Donald Trump.
Politico recently surveyed “more than 50” prominent Republicans and asked them if they planned to speak at this year’s RNC — and the vast majority said they wouldn’t even bother attending, let alone speaking there.
“I am not attending,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told Politico.
“I’m not,” echoed Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC).
“I won’t be there,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL).
Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), who has been seen as a potential contender for vice president, tells Politico that she will skip the convention because “I don’t see any upsides to it.”
These newest defections are in addition to top GOP senators such as Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Mark Kirk and Kelly Ayotte, all of whom said they will be skipping this year’s convention.
Even top Republicans who do plan to attend the convention, such as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, have expressed reluctance to speak at the convention on Trump’s behalf.
“Everyone has to make their own choice, but at this point 70 percent of the American public doesn’t like Donald Trump,” longtime GOP strategist Stuart Stevens tells Politico. “That’s as toxic as we’ve seen in American politics. Normally people want to speak at national conventions. It launched Barack Obama’s political career.”
For Republicans in the year of Trump, however, speaking at the 2016 RNC looks a lot more like a career death sentence.