McDaniel: Mich. ‘got something’ Trump vote pass

Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel commiserated with disappointed delegates Wednesday but promised them she got something in return for agreeing to “pass” Tuesday night during the initial round of voting to officially nominate Donald Trump for president.

“I was not happy, because of course all of us were here and I wanted to see Michigan go in,” Romney McDaniel told delegates over breakfast.

She explained again how the Trump campaign asked Michigan to delay its vote so his home state of New York could put him over the top, an accomplishment announced by Donald Trump Jr.

“They had said some other states were going to pass. I now know some of those other states were not as gracious as we were,” she said, going on to call it a “great privilege” to help put Trump’s son in a position to nominate his father.

Michigan and Pennsylvania where the only states to pass during the first round of roll call voting on the convention floor. They each announced their delegate tallies later in the night.

“I also want you to be assured that I got something for it,” Romney McDaniel said. “You’ll find out about that later. I’m not that nice.”

Meekhof grilled at GOP event

State Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof faced a series of combative questions Tuesday as he addressed Michigan delegates to the Republican National Convention, exposing continued conservative frustrations with some policies enacted under the GOP Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder.

Meekhof, who introduced headline speaker John Kasich at a Michigan Republican breakfast, volunteered to take questions when the Ohio governor was running late. He was subsequently grilled over votes to approve Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and a road funding deal that will phase in gas tax and registration fee increases beginning next year.

Conservative activist Tom Llewellyn of Milford asked Meekhof why state budgets have continued to grow under Republican leadership, arguing the majority legislators have been “growing the government and acting more like Democrats.”

Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema of Grandville, who did not run for re-election and will step down when the convention ends, asked Meekhof to defend the Healthy Michigan Medicaid plan and how much it will cost the state.

Meekhof said he did not have those figures on hand, but he told delegates “the governor under-calculated how many people were going to take advantage of it,” suggesting state costs may be higher than originally anticipated when full federal funding is gradually reduced.

But when people are “healthier, they’re not going to the emergency room, which is the highest costs we have,” he said, explaining the underlying argument for the Medicaid expansion.

“We passed Medicaid expansion because it was part of Medicaid,” Meekhof said. “I wouldn’t say it was part of Obamacare.”

The Medicaid expansion program is funded through the Affordable Care Act, which originally called for mandatory state expansion later made voluntary by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. But Michigan’s unique program, which includes cost-sharing and healthy living incentives, required special approval from the Obama administration.

Meekhof told delegates gathered at a hotel in suburban Cleveland that Michigan is in a better position to revisit its tax code after making a series of “really difficult decisions” in recent years that he said were necessary because of previous administrations.

“Now, as we continue to do these things and put money away in savings, we’ll have the ability then to look at our tax structure, our regulatory structure,” he said. “One of my big goals is to get us out of the pension system.”

Later asked about Agema’s comments, Meekhof responded with, “Who? Who?”

“I’m not scared of them,” Meekhof said of his questioners. “The most interesting thing is, when I give them a response, it’s something they’ve never thought of.”

Carson: Black outreach needed

Famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has become an active cheerleader for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump since ending his own bid for president, says the newly crowned Republican nominee plans to be “a lot more” proactive in his appeal to African-American voters.

Carson, one of the GOP’s most prominent African-Americans, hinted this week he may play a role in the Trump’s campaign’s efforts to drum up votes in urban areas traditionally dominated by Democratic presidential candidates. He is a native of Detroit who often emphasized poverty and morality issues on the campaign trail.

“He needs to specifically reach out to them and talk about the programs that we’ve been talking about that empower people, rather than things that just sort of keep people satisfied in a rather dependent position,” Carson told The Detroit News during an interview at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. “You’ll see that coming out.”

Contributors: Jonathan Oosting and Chad Livengood