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Mix of Trump Relatives, GOP Officials, Celebrities to Speak at Convention

  • VOA News

FILE - From left, Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump — shown with their father at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, July 23, 2014 — are among those scheduled to speak at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

FILE - From left, Eric, Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump — shown with their father at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, July 23, 2014 — are among those scheduled to speak at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump has lined up an array of family members, political supporters and a handful of celebrities to speak at next week's Republican National Convention, where he expects to claim the party's 2016 presidential nomination.

The list of more than 60 speakers set to support Trump includes his wife, Melania; his four adult children, Ivanka, Eric, Donald Jr. and Tiffany; and key Republican congressional leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

At least five of the 16 Republican presidential candidates Trump defeated in his yearlong surge to the top of the American political scene are also planning to speak, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Trump has also lined up other speakers for the convention in the Midwestern city of Cleveland, Ohio, who may not be as well-known to the American public as they watch on television.

Among them are two survivors of the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Mark Geist and John Tiegen; pro golfer Natalie Gulbis; Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin; PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel; and Dana White, president of the mixed martial arts Ultimate Fighting Championship.

One outspoken law enforcement official, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sheriff David Clarke, will also speak at the convention. Clarke has denounced the Black Lives Matter group that has drawn attention to the high-profile police killings of African-American men in street confrontations, saying the group is "unleashing" hate on U.S. police officers.

With the controversy surrounding many of Trump's political views — such as his call to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. — the list of convention speakers is as notable for the key Republican figures who have decided to skip the quadrennial gathering.

The past two Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush, are not planing to attend. The party's past two presidential contenders, Senator John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, also will be absent. Of the four, only McCain has endorsed Trump, and Romney has openly denounced Trump's candidacy.

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