Donald Trump defeated 16 Republicans en route to winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. History books would be written very differently had that not happened.

The most famous escalator ride in American political history was almost an elevator ride. Donald Trump’s operatives couldn’t decide whether to send him down the escalator to announce his presidential candidacy or have him take the elevator instead. They landed on the escalator, and that moment would set in motion a 13-month ride that would ultimately ensconce him atop the GOP as its 2016 standard-bearer.

On Tuesday, Trump officially announced his 2024 presidential bid, marking the start of yet another race in his storied political career. 

Seventeen Republicans aspired to be president of the United States during the 2016 election cycle, one of the most unorthodox and unconventional the country had ever seen. Only one emerged from the pileup — Trump — who would learn he was the nominee on the Trump Tower elevator he almost descended on back on announcement day.

During those tumultuous months from June 2015 to July 2016, the Republican Party establishment’s reluctant journey to accepting a reality-TV celebrity as their presidential nominee laid bare deep ideological and cultural divisions within their ranks. Traditional Republicans found themselves outflanked by an insurgent former lifelong Democrat whose impulses and approach conflicted with their own. But by the time of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland five years ago this week, running from July 18 through the 21st, Republicans who did not support Trump fell in line.

In interviews with nearly two dozen people — including several 2016 Republican candidates, party officials, and both GOP and Democratic campaign operatives — Insider collected never-before-reported recollections from Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP. The story that follows covers the Trump Tower escalator ride that was mocked from all directions and yet started everything; the Trump official behind renting a crowd for the big campaign announcement speech; and Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech eight years earlier.

These 2016 insiders also described how the Trump team prepared for the first GOP debate in Cleveland by hanging with a member of Aerosmith and how his campaign polled Ivanka Trump as a vice-presidential candidate amid the RNC’s last-minute gambit to dump Trump.

The human drama of the Republican primary campaign has been all but forgotten, replaced by what came after: Trump versus Hillary, Russian hackings, WikiLeaks, and the …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

The definitive oral history of how Trump took over the GOP, as told to us by Cruz, Rubio, and 20 more insiders

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