US Republican convention's 'celebrity' speakers fall short of being household names

Former US Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18.
Former US Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18. PHOTO: REUTERS
Actor Antonio Sabato Jr pumps his fist as he speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18.
Actor Antonio Sabato Jr pumps his fist as he speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18.PHOTO: REUTERS
Former Texas governor Rick Perry delivers a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Former Texas governor Rick Perry delivers a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.PHOTO: AFP
Tiffany Trump listens to a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Tiffany Trump listens to a speech on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. PHOTO: AFP
Ms Pat Smith, mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith, speaks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18.
Ms Pat Smith, mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith, speaks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 18. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Tom Cotton delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention on July 18 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Tom Cotton delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention on July 18 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. PHOTO: AFP

CLEVELAND (WASHINGTON POST) - Presumptive United States Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, true to form, has promised big things for the line-up of convention speakers at this week's Republican National Convention (RNC).

There will be sports figures ("winners", as he calls them). It would be a "showbiz" spectacle. Big names - boxer Mike Tyson, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady - were floated.

But in the end, the celebrities studding the roster of those taking Republican National Convention stage in Cleveland are not exactly household names.

Monday's speakers were an eclectic mix of television stars, military veterans, members of Congress and Mr Trump's wife Melania. On Fox, Mr Trump said his wife would talk about her immigrant experience and "love of country".

 

Two of Monday's speakers were US senators and Iraq war veterans: Mr Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ms Joni Ernst of Iowa.

 

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served in the top job in New York City during the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, was also slated to speak.

 

But the biggest "get", added to the line-up on Sunday, might be Scott Baio, the actor whose biggest roles - in Charles in Charge, Joanie Loves Chachi and Happy Days, are a good quarter-century behind him.

Baio, on his a prime-time slot at the RNC on Monday night, tore into former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, saying: “Hillary Clinton wants to be president for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump wants to be president for all of us.”

Baio went on: “There’s no stability. Nothing seems right and all the things that we hold dear are being attacked every single day. We cannot go down this road anymore. We need to stop. We need Donald Trump to fix this.”

And there are not one but two soap-opera stars. Antonio Sabato Jr, who previously endorsed Mr Trump, appeared in the early 1990s on General Hospital and more recently on The Bold and the Beautiful.

Another Bold and Beautiful star, Kimberlin Brown, might be the most out-of-left-field pick. It does not appear that the actress, who played the soap's baby-switching, murdering villainess for 16 years until 2006, previously publicly expressed support for Mr Trump - or any candidate. (She's an avocado farmer these days, according to the convention folks).

At morning lighting and sound check

At morning lighting and sound check

A photo posted by Kimberlin Brown (@kimberlin_brown) on

GOP stand-by celeb Willie Robertson, of "Duck Dynasty" fame, was also among the speakers.

The long-bearded star of the TV series took the podium wearing an American flag bandana around his head and vowed repeatedly that Mr Trump would “have your back”.

"If you're an average American who feels like you've been forgotten... neglected by far away leaders... that the deck is stacked against you and you just can't win... Donald Trump will have your back," he said.

And as for sports figures, pro golfer Natalie Gulbis is the lone athlete on the programme.