CLEVELAND, OH - The 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) begins Monday in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the next four days, the Convention will host approximately 2,470 delegates and 2,302 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories.
The Convention theme for Monday, July 18 is “Make America Safe Again.”
Headline speakers include Melania Trump, Lieutenant General (ret.) Michael Flynn, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Jason Beardsley, and U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Montana). Delegates and the international audience following the RNC online will also hear from American heroes such as former U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and advocates for the reform of our nation’s broken immigration system.
Here is a program speakers and their backgrounds:
Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander and Buck Commander, star of Duck Dynasty
The star of A&E’s hit series Duck Dynasty, Willie Robertson, is the CEO of Duck Commander and Buck Commander, a New York Times bestselling author, traveling speaker, father of five, and an avid outdoorsman.
Governor Rick Perry, Former Governor of Texas
A fifth-generation Texan, Perry grew up in Haskell County. His parents were cotton farmers, and Perry was among the first in his family to attend college. Perry served as Texas’ lieutenant governor from 1999 to 2000. In 2000, he was elected governor and remains the longest-serving governor in Texas history.
Marcus Luttrell, U.S. Navy SEAL
Marcus Luttrell is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL and author of the book Lone Survivor, in which he tells the harrowing tale of a fierce battle in eastern Afghanistan in 2005. Since returning from war, Luttrell has started the Lone Survivor Foundation and become involved with The Boot Campaign. He also has written a second book, Service, which honors and praises all members of the military.
Scott Baio, Actor and Television Producer
Scott Baio is an actor and television producer. He landed his first starring role in the 1976 movie Bugsy Malone and is known for portraying memorable characters on several hit television shows, including Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi, and Charles In Charge. More recently, he has appeared in the Emmy Award-winning show Arrested Development and the Nick at Nite comedy See Dad Run, which he also produces. When he was young, Baio campaigned for Ronald Reagan, and in the 2016 GOP primary, he endorsed presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
Pat Smith, Mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith
Patricia (Pat) Smith is the mother of Sean Smith, who was killed during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. Ever since that night, Smith has sought to learn the truth behind the events that led to the death of four Americans, including her only child.
Mark Geist, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Fought in Battle of Benghazi
Mark “Oz” Geist was a member of the Annex Security Team that fought the Battle of Benghazi in Libya from September 11 to September 12, 2012. A Colorado native, Geist joined the United States Marine Corps in 1984 and served for 12 years.
John Tiegen, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Fought in Battle of Benghazi
John “Tig” Tiegen was a member of the Annex Security Team that fought during the attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. He is responsible for saving many lives and has been recognized for his bravery. He has since co-authored the New York Times best-selling book 13 Hours, the harrowing tale of what really happened in Benghazi.
Kent Terry and Kelly Terry-Willis, The Brian Terry Foundation
Brian Terry was a Border Patrol agent who died tragically while protecting our nation’s border with Mexico. His death was a result of Operation Fast and Furious, a gun-walking operation gone wrong that put assault weapons into the hands of Mexican narco-terrorists. Kent Terry and Kelly Terry-Willis, Brian’s siblings, carry on his legacy through the Brian Terry Foundation.
Antonio Sabato, Jr., Actor
Daytime television viewers know actor Antonio Sabato Jr. for his roles on General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful.
Mary Ann Mendoza, Immigration Reform Advocate
Mary Ann Mendoza is a passionate advocate for immigration reform because she has experienced the consequences of our failed system. This May marked the second anniversary of her son Brandon’s death. Brandon, a Mesa Police Sergeant, was 32 when a drunk driver traveling on the wrong side of the highway crashed head-on into the car he was driving. The drunk driver was in the United States illegally, and despite being convicted of crimes years earlier, he was not deported.
Sabine Durden, Immigration Reform Advocate
Sabine Durden is an advocate for immigration reform. In 2012, her son Dominic died in a motorcycle accident when he was a hit by a truck driven by an unlicensed, uninsured, and unregistered driver who was in the United States illegally. In the wake of losing her only son, Sabine has been a vocal critic of our immigration system and has lobbied the federal government to defund sanctuary cities that do not actively search, prosecute, or detain unauthorized immigrants.
Jamiel Shaw, Immigration Reform Advocate
On March 2, 2008, Jamiel Shaw’s son, Jamiel Andre’ Shaw, II (Jas), was murdered while returning home from the Beverly Center Mall in Los Angeles, California. The shooter was a gang member in the United States illegally. He had been released from jail less than 24 hours before he killed Jas, even though there was a deportation hold on him. In honor of Jas’s life, Jamiel Sr. has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about our broken immigration system.
U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (TX-10)
U.S. Rep. Michael T. McCaul is currently serving his sixth term representing Texas’ 10th District in the United States House of Representatives. During his tenure, McCaul has developed a strong track record of fighting for lower taxes and less government spending. He serves as Chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee.
David Clarke, Sheriff of Milwaukee County
David Clarke is the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He began his career in law enforcement with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD). In 1992, he was promoted to lieutenant of detectives, and in 1996, he earned a promotion to captain of police and became part of the department’s command staff. As captain, Clarke was responsible for the department’s First Division, and in 1999, he became commanding officer of the MPD’s Intelligence Division.
U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (WI-7)
U.S. Representative Sean Duffy serves Wisconsin’s 7th District. Duffy is married to Rachel Campos-Duffy, whom he met while appearing on MTV’s hit television show The Real World, and the couple now has eight children. In Congress, Duffy is working to reduce government spending, lower taxes, promote individual freedom, and limit government intrusion.
Rachel Campos Duffy, Author and Commentator
Rachel Campos-Duffy is an author and commentator who began her television career on MTV's iconic reality television show, The Real World. She also met her husband, U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (WI-7), through the show. The couple now has eight children. Campos-Duffy can be seen as a frequent commentator on a variety of television programs, including NBC's Today Show and ABC's The View.
Darryl Glenn, El Paso County Commissioner
County Commissioner Darryl Glenn is the current Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Colorado, running to defeat incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet in the general election this fall. Glenn won the Republican nomination with 37.5% of the vote in a crowded primary field.
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)
For nearly five years, Cotton served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He completed two combat tours, serving in Iraq with the 101st Airborne and in Afghanistan. Upon returning home, Cotton worked for McKinsey & Co. and served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2015, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he represents the state of Arkansas.
Karen Vaughn, Mother of fallen U.S. Navy SEAL
Karen Vaughn is the mother of fallen U.S. Navy SEAL Aaron Carson Vaughn (SEAL Team VI). On August 6, 2011, Aaron was killed in action in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan when a chopper (call sign Extortion 17) carrying thirty Americans was shot from the sky while rushing into battle. Over the past four years, Karen has emerged as a powerful spokeswoman for American forces fighting on foreign soil and securing peace across the globe.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions is serving his third term representing the people of Alabama. A senior member of the Armed Services Committee and the Budget Committee, he is also a member of the Judiciary Committee and chairman of its subcommittee on Immigration and National Interest. A strong advocate for securing the border, Sessions was the first U.S. Senator to endorse Donald Trump and has acted as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Capitol Hill.
Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City
Giuliani was wrapping up his second term in office when New York City was attacked on September 11, 2001. Immediately following the attack, Giuliani coordinated rescue operations that saved as many as 20,000 lives. Because of his strong leadership in the aftermath of September 11th, Americans came to see him as a voice of reassurance and consolation during an uncertain time.
Melania Trump, Businesswoman and Wife of Donald Trump
Melania married Donald Trump in January 2005. In March 2006 they had their first child, Barron William Trump. Born on April 26, 1970 in Slovenia, Melania Knauss began her modeling career at the age of sixteen. At the age of eighteen, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan. After obtaining a degree in design and architecture at University in Slovenia, Melania was jetting between photo shoots in Paris and Milan, finally settling in New York in 1996. Melania is dedicated to helping others, and her generosity has been noted. She was Honorary Chairwoman for Martha Graham Dance Company in April 2005; is an active member of the Police Athletic League which honored her with Woman of the Year 2006; has been an Honorary Chairwoman for The Boy’s Club of New York for five consecutive years; and in 2005, the American Red Cross awarded her with Goodwill Ambassador, which she has proudly served for four years. In April of 2008, Melania was asked by Love Our Children USA and NASDAQ to participate in the Fifth Annual National Love Our Children Day and the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention month by ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ.
Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, U.S. Army (ret.)
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn has spent his entire life and career serving his country. He served in various command and staff positions in the U.S. Army and as Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Partner Engagement before becoming Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency on July 24, 2012. During his time in the Army, Lieutenant General Flynn held high-ranking leadership posts at the Joint Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command. He served in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has dedicated her life to Iowa and her country, having served in the military for over 23 years and now in the United States Senate. In November 2014, Ernst was elected as the first woman to serve in federal elected office from the State of Iowa and also became the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the United States Senate.
Jason Beardsley, former Master Sergeant, U.S. Special Forces
Jason Beardsley is a decorated military veteran with a combined 22 years of experience in the Army and Navy, and over 15 years leading Army Special Operations and Joint Special Operations task forces with hostile deployments to Iraq, the Horn of Africa, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. After enlisting in the Navy in 1990, he joined the Army Special Operations Forces in 1994 and moved into Joint Special Operations in 2005.
U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (MT)
Congressman Ryan Zinke is currently serving the state of Montana’s at-large district in the United States House of Representatives. A former Navy SEAL, Zinke spent 23 years serving our country and fighting for America before entering public office. Continuously focused on giving back to the community that he grew up in, Zinke has used his time in office to push for improving the VA, reforming management of federal lands, preserving the future of family farming and ranching, and defending the Constitution.