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BLOG: Local delegates have 'dust-up' with Ohio contingent

David Weissman

The GOP delegates representing Pennsyslvania's 4th Congressional District, which includes York County, are enjoying their time in Cleveland, save a "little dust-up" with several Ohio delegates.

GOP delegates Matt Jansen, of North Codorus Township, and Joe Sacco, of Shrewsbury, outside the Cleveland Yacht Club.

That's how delegate Marc Scaringi, of Cumberland County, described the words and looks he and several other Pennsylvania delegates exchanged with Ohio delegates during the Republican National Convention.

Ohio's delegates are sitting just behind the Pennsylvania contingent in relation to the stage, according to the seating chart posted on the GOP website, and Scaringi said he and fellow 4th District delegates Matt Jansen, of North Codorus Township, and Joe Sacco, of Shrewsbury, are among those sitting closest to the Ohioans.

"They may have been disgruntled because they're relegated to rear seating," Jansen said. "And maybe they should be in the front since they're the host state, but that's not the way it worked out."

The delegate seating chart for the 2016 Republican National Convention at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena.

Scaringi, Jansen and Sacco said many of Ohio's delegates have been displaying a lack of respect for Donald Trump, who was officially nominated as the party's candidate Tuesday night.

Scaringi said delegates were sitting with their arms crossed during moments everyone else was standing up and clapping, and several Ohio delegates walked out of the center prior to Melania Trump's speech Monday night.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who had been opposing Trump through much of the Republican primaries, had been scheduled to address the Pennsylvania delegates Wednesday morning, but he canceled, according to Jansen and Scaringi.

Jansen said they were told Kasich's cancellation was because of a scheduling conflict.

Scaringi said he was happy Kasich canceled, because the governor has refused to back Trump.

"What's the point?" he asked about hearing Kasich speak. "We're all here supporting Trump."

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, representing Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District, spoke to the delegates instead, and Scaringi said he was great.

Aside from the issue with Ohio delegates, Jansen and Scaringi said they've enjoyed taking in the entire atmosphere in and around the convention.

Jansen said the Pennsylvania GOP has been organizing fun events to keep the delegates busy before the convention begins each day, including a trip to listen to a doo-wop group.

Jansen said that he's been able to chat with "media celebrities," including MSNBC's Chris Matthews and NBC's Tom Brokaw. He added that he hasn't noticed a single protester since he arrived in Cleveland.

"It's remarkable," he said, joking that potential protesters must've seen the story written about how he was planning to "pack heat."

Several Associated Press reports have confirmed that protests are taking place outside the designated convention area.

From left: GOP delegates Matt Jansen, of North Codorus Township, Joe Sacco, of Shrewsbury, and Marc Scaringi, of Cumberland County, shared a novelty photo taken at the 2016 Republican Convention.

Scaringi said he has particularly enjoyed speeches by Donald Trump Jr., Patricia Smith — the mother of an officer killed during a 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya — and Melania Trump.

Melania Trump's speech has been scrutinized by national media outlets for a portion that appeared to be plagiarized from a speech given by the current first lady, Michelle Obama.

Scaringi called the criticism "much ado about nothing" and "almost laughable."

The parts of Melania Trump's speech that are being compared to Michelle Obama's are everyday colloquialisms, he said.

"She brought the roof down," Scaringi said. "Maybe the liberal mainstream media is just afraid of her speaking so eloquently."

Melania Trump's speech writer acknowledged on Wednesday that she had included passages from Obama's speech and offered to resign, according to an Associated Press report.

Scaringi added that he was close enough to the stage to notice Donald Trump's expressions during his wife's speech.

"The way he looked at her, especially after she was done, you could just tell how proud he was," he said. "It's nice to see those little moments to remind you that these are real people."

— Reach David Weissman at or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.