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Donald Trump’s ‘Showbiz’ Convention Put to the Test With a Smattering of Celebrity

Donald Trump
Brandon Marshall/REX/Shutterstock

Donald Trump said that he wanted his Republican National Convention to have a bit of “showbiz,” and tonight that will be put to the test.

Scott Baio, Willie Robertson and Antonio Sabato Jr. will give brief speeches to the convention, part of a lineup that is themed to “Make America Safe Again.”

Sabato Jr., the model, actor and reality show star, said that he got the invite about a month ago and didn’t have hesitation. He had already been outspoken in favor of Trump.

“I was just doing my thing,” Sabato said. “I wasn’t looking for attention for me, or fame. I am just here because I love this country, and for the past seven years, we have really seen this country go in bad shape, and take a fall in many directions. It has not been good. It is like a child — you want to care so much for your country and you can’t do anything about it, but now we can.”

On Monday afternoon, he did a rehearsal and gave interviews to a few news outlets in the Quicken Loans Arena, before giving what he said would be a three-minute speech.

In a leftward industry, conservatives in entertainment have long said they have been hesitant to speak publicly about their views. Some fear losing future employment.

That may be more the case this year because of the friction even within the Republican party over Trump. One prominent conservative said he was not going, calling the prospect too “depressing.”

Also not expected: Broadcaster Stanley Hubbard, media investor Harry Sloan and attorney Bruce Ramer. Clint Eastwood would actually be quite a surprise, given his appearance in 2012 with an empty chair, but he’s not expected, either.

Others who have publicly backed Trump are not attending for logistical reasons and scheduling conflicts, like Jon Voight, who is shooting “Ray Donovan.” He has been at the past two conventions. Also not attending: Writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd.

But Sabato says that he doesn’t fear the potential blowback from progressives in Hollywood — albeit he says the negative comments have been on social media.

“Everybody is saying, ‘The liberals. They are in Hollywood.’ I don’t worry about it,” he said. “I got my Father and my heart and my soul, and I am going to speak my mind. I have always been like that.”

Sabato didn’t vote for Barack Obama in his two elections, but says “he has taken this country and just demolished it, and he’s done a really good job at that,” Sabato said. “We have to stop that.”

He said that he was “not really clear” about Obama’s faith, and “I don’t believe he’s a Christian.”

“We had great hopes for this man. He has just turned around and continued to divide this country, divide the world. His agenda has been really clear — look what is going on.”

He added, “The last few months of this guy’s term is turning into mayhem.”