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GOP Delegates Begin Roll Call Vote To Officially Nominate Donald Trump


And after a dramatic and very long primary season, the Republican Party is on the verge of formally nominating Donald Trump as its candidate for president. A roll call of the states - a roll call vote of the states is underway. Mr. Trump needs 1,237 votes to be nominated. He has already 1,131. And when New York state gets to cast its ballots, that will - its votes - that will put him over the top.

NPR's Scott Horsley is on the convention floor here at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, and he joins me. Scott, we're just about there.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: We are very close, Robert. This all began earlier this evening with nominating speeches from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Chris Collins, a congressman from western New York, and Henry McMaster, the lieutenant governor of South Carolina. All three of these men were early supporters of Donald Trump, and tonight, Senator Sessions called Trump a warrior and a winner, a singular leader who can get this country, in his words, back on track.

Congressman Collins, who represents western New York, spoke of the damage that his part of the state had suffered at what he thinks are unfavorable trade deals and vowed that Donald Trump would renegotiate those. And Henry McMaster of South Carolina, who was instrumental in Trump's win in that key primary, called Trump maybe the only man personally equipped to win the ferocious battle ahead.

SIEGEL: Now, yesterday we heard some vocal agitation from anti-Trump forces over the rules for the convention - tonight, not much drama.

HORSLEY: No, there was not. Some of the states like Colorado that were part of that agitation for a roll call vote on the rules yesterday - they did record votes which were not for Donald Trump. But even some of the states where other primary candidates carried a majority, some of them switched their votes for Donald Trump in a show of unity tonight.

SIEGEL: So within a few minutes the convention will get around to the New York delegation which passed earlier. Donald Trump's children will be at the microphone. They'll report their votes, and that'll put him over the top. We'll stop calling him the presumptive nominee. We'll just call him the Republican nominee for president. And a lot of pundits will be eating crow tomorrow.

HORSLEY: Oh, yes. The crows are just about to come out of the oven, I think. The sauce is on the stove top getting ready. Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort was crowing himself earlier this morning when he spoke to reporters and talked about - you know, a year ago when this campaign started, it was written off by a lot of people right out of the gate. It was an unlikely outsider campaign, but Manafort said, all of you who doubted that Trump could be nominated will no longer be able to say, maybe it's not going to happen because at that point, it will have happened.

SIEGEL: I know conventions are very carefully scripted. We see what's supposed to happen minute by minute if they stick to the schedule. It's designed to reach maximum audiences mostly on television. Everything we've talked about so far is before primetime. What happens after we hit 9:00 p.m.?

HORSLEY: That's right. I think the the actual nomination is going to come in just a few minutes as well - so before primetime. The theme of the primetime programming tonight is make America work again, to focus on pocketbook issues. Although most of the people we're hearing from are going to be politicians, including Republican House Speaker, Paul Ryan. He'll be speaking tonight. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will be speaking. Donald Trump's actually introducing Senator McConnell remotely from New York.

And then we'll hear from a couple of Trump's erstwhile primary opponents, Chris Christie and Ben Carson. And right now, Robert, Pennsylvania is tallying its votes, and I think we're supposed to go back to New York there for the actual over the top tally.

SIEGEL: And that's going to do it in just a moment. Thanks, Scott. That's NPR correspondent Scott Horsley talking to us from the convention floor. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.