Republican Convention's Speaker Lineup is Largely White

ByMORGAN WINSOR via ABCNews logo
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Republican Convention's Speaker Lineup is Largely White
Texas Delegate Buddy Pilgrim takes photos on the first day of the Republican National Convention, July 18, 2016, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
ABCNews

Most of the speakers scheduled so far for this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland have at least one thing in common: They're white.

Although there are still three days until Donald Trump is expected to take the stage at the Quicken Loans Arena to accept the GOP presidential nomination, the list of 63 speakers scheduled so far includes only three black people: Cleveland pastor Darrel Scott, former GOP presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.

The complexion of speakers was similar four years ago at the 2012 Republican National Convention, where Mitt Romney accepted the party's nomination for president. Of the more than 80 speakers there, just five were black. So far, none of the African Americans who spoke four years ago is scheduled to speak at the 2016 convention.

At least one of those who spoke in 2012 is skipping this year's GOP gathering entirely. U.S. Rep. Mia Love of Utah told the Salt Lake Tribune that instead of attending the convention she is focusing on her re-election bid and going on a congressional trip to Israel.

"I don't see an upside to [attending the convention]," she told the newspaper last month. "I don't see how this benefits the state."

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Love said Trump would need a "positive agenda" to win her support.

"You have to come up with positive agendas moving forward, especially in light of what we have seen recently with all of the tragedies and the innocent blood that has been spilled," she said. "We need someone that will unify Americans. I am so sick and tired of the divisiveness."

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the senate, will attend part of the convention, but won't be delivering remarks as he did in 2012. The senator will instead be campaigning during some of the convention days -- with U.S. Sen Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley in Iowa on Thursday, a spokesperson for Scott told ABC News.

Scott, who endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida back in February, has denounced Trump's comments that a Mexican-American federal judge in a Trump University case would be biased against the candidate. Scott told CNN that Trump's remarks were "racially toxic."

As for the 2016 Democratic National Convention next week, a full list of speakers has not yet been released, but the partial lineup includes several black people -- most notably, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

The Democratic convention also has scheduled a group of speakers, Mothers of the Movement, to appear alongside former President Bill Clinton. The group is comprised of some of the mothers of black men, women and children whose deaths have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement. They include Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner who died in a chokehold by New York police; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin who was fatally shot by Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland who died in a Texas jail after a traffic stop.

Four years ago, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where Obama won the party's nomination to run for a second term, 23 of the more than 100 speakers were black, including the president and his family members.

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