CLEVELAND — The 2016 Republican National Convention was one for the books, a presidential nominating coronation like no other in recent memory.
The four-day gathering that crowned Donald Trump as the GOP’s contender for the White House — the victory for the real estate mogul and reality TV star that pundits scoffed at this time last year — was alternately kooky and chaotic. And now that the GOP fete is in the history books, here’s a look at who soared, who flopped and who heads out of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena with some soul-searching to do.
Trump’s children: Trump’s progeny got plenty of speaking time and were generally well-received by the crowd of about 5,000 delegates. Ivanka Trump in particular has emerged as a favorite — so much so that an “Ivanka 2024 — America’s first female president” sign was spotted in the arena.
Mike Pence: The speech by Trump’s VP pick played extremely well in the arena. The governor of Indiana impressed by demonstrating a good sense of humor, comedic timing and a unwavering dedication to red-meat conservative principles.
CNN: The momentum at the all-news cabler was evident in much-improved ratings for its RNC coverage compared to the 2012 GOP gathering. The CNN Grill installation right next to the security entrance to the arena gave it a high profile (and was a haven for hungry reporters even from rival news orgs).
Facebook: The social media giant had a big presence in the perimeter of the arena with a booth located adjacent to the GOP’s “Freedom Plaza.” Staffers manning the booth focused on introducing attendees to the world of Facebook Live and the whiz-bang features of its Oculus VR technology.
Washington Post: The deep pockets of the newspaper’s new owner, Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos, were on display in the paper’s lavish installation in a restaurant along the street leading into the arena.
Trevor Noah: “The Daily Show” host got a bit of a bounce by spending the week in Cleveland. He made the rounds relentlessly and delivered shows that were well-received amid the crush of late-night shows tackling the convention.
Stephen Colbert: “The Late Show” host made the most of the material provided by the GOP to generate renewed attention to his show. He went so far as to briefly resurrect his blowhard conservative talk show host character from his Comedy Central days. And his former boss Jon Stewart resurfaced on “Late Show” Thursday to deliver the anti-Trump rant that Stewart fans have been waiting for all year.
Michael Che and Colin Jost: The “Saturday Night Live” pair’s nightly reports for MSNBC demonstrated the mobility of the “Weekend Update” franchise. Undoubtedly, there will be more such extracurricular activity for the “SNL” anchors to come.
The Republican establishment: Attendees couldn’t stop commenting on how odd it was to have a GOP fete with no Bushes in sight, no John McCain, no Mitt Romney and not even the governor of the state hosting the convention, former Trump foe John Kasich. As CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell noted, more members of the Trump family spoke at the confab than sitting members of the U.S. Senate.
Civil political discourse: The ubiquity of “Hillary for Prison” T-shirts and buttons sported by attendees — and sold by opportunistic vendors — and the repeated chants of “lock her up” in the arena marked a new low for partisan brawling.
Fox News: The cabler was shaken to its core this week by the forced resignation of its founder and guiding force, Roger Ailes, amid growing allegations of sexual harassment over the years. The irony could not be escaped: The one-time media strategist for Republican presidents was dethroned the week of the convention crowning the candidate that proved he didn’t need the Fox News machine on his side.
Melania Trump: The prospective first lady’s big moment in the spotlight was quickly tarnished by clear evidence that her speech included lines lifted from Michelle Obama’s introductory address at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Political pros at the RNC marveled at how badly the Trump campaign handled the situation, extending the story through multiple news cycles with ham-fisted denials and obfuscations.
Megyn Kelly: The hordes of journalists working at the RNC could not stop talking about the Fox News anchor’s decision to show off her bare shoulders in a spaghetti-strap dress while anchoring Wednesday night’s coverage. Among men and women alike, the wardrobe choice seemed unprofessional and bizarrely timed given the focus this week on the treatment of women within the halls of Fox News.