The Republican National Convention is just over two weeks away and presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump has yet to finalize plans for his appearance, reports The New York Times
Trump, who's been reaching out to politicians, athletes, and other well-known figures to deliver speeches, revealed to the Times that he rejected one suggestion from the RNC.
"What they've asked me to do is to speak all three nights. I turned it down," he said. "I don't want people to think I'm grandstanding — which I'm not. But it would get high ratings."
Ratings are a large concern for Trump, who said previous conventions were "boring." He wants a fun convention that's also serious, tasteful and on message.
"There's a lot of sameness in conventions," Trump said. "At the same time you don't necessarily want to reinvent the wheel. You don't want to make it so different that it's no longer a convention."
Trump's status is already upending convention norms. Many Republican leaders opted to skip the event altogether.
"If there's no endorsement, then I would not invite them to speak," Trump said recently about defeated primary rivals John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Although Cruz, who won more delegates than any other Trump opponent, could still stand for the nomination and be guaranteed a speaking opportunity under GOP rules.
"Everyone has to make their own choice, but at this point, 70 percent of the American public doesn't like Donald Trump. That's as toxic as we've seen in American politics," Stuart Stevens, a longtime GOP strategist, told Politico
"Normally, people want to speak at national conventions. It launched Barack Obama's political career."
But with so many top Republicans shunning the candidate, it's unclear who will stand before the gathering and the global press to talk up the presumptive nominee.
Who did Trump want to speak? The list includes Mike Ditka, former Chicago Bears coach, who declined, saying that giving a speech at a large convention "isn't really my style." Trump also expressed interest in football players Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady, both of whom turned down the invitation.
"I'm sure it will be fun, I'm sure it will be entertaining," Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said to the Times. "And I can watch it on TV."
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