Rhode Island’s delegation did the unheard of on Tuesday night.
During the nomination process at the Republican National Convention, when delegates typically brag about some aspect of their home state, Rhode Island’s Republican Party chairman chose instead to highlight some of the Ocean State’s shortcomings.
Brandon Bell told the convention hall and the millions of people watching on television: “We are constantly ranked near the bottom, recently ranked 50th worse in terms of our business friendly climate.”
He added: “The state is run by a corrupt Democrat political machine for the past 80 years. “
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Bell told NBC 10 that he “wouldn’t take it back. I’d double down and say it again if the roll call was tonight.”
In Warwick, Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Joseph McNamara responded Wednesday.
“I was shocked. In 40 years of watching these conventions, I have never heard on either side of the aisle, a delegation chair trash his state,” McNamara said. “We had a rare opportunity to nationally promote the assets of our state.”
He suggested Bell should adhere to a former Republican’s advice.
“The late John Chafee used to have a saying. He said be a rooster booster, meaning every Rhode Islander should feel some responsibility for promoting our state,” McNamara said.
Gov. Gina Raimondo agreed, saying negative comments hurt the state.
But Bell insists he only told the truth, and in an appropriate place.
“We’re a blue state. We want to turn red. Because I heard all these states like Alabama — because they’re my colleagues now, chairmen of their parties — they’re friends. Arkansas. They’ve turned their states around. We need to do that. In some ways, it was a cry for help,” Bell said.
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