How will RNC chaos impact GOP quest for unity?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 18, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In favor say "Aye."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All those opposed, "No."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the opinion of the chair the ayes have it and the resolution is agreed to.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, that was the scene on the convention floor earlier this afternoon, got ruckus there for some anti-Trump forces. You heard from Senator Mike Lee earlier in this show and the RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer.

Let's bring in our panel: Jonah Goldberg, senior editor of National Review; Kirsten Powers, USA Today columnist, Mercedes Schlapp of U.S. News & World Report, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, Charles, what about this start?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, it's rocky. It reflects the division of the party for more than any other convention we can remember. It's usually a television show. Everything is scripted. It's not because there is a large segment that is anti-Trump. Of course, he will prevail. But this is about Ted Cruz. It's about 2020. He is trying to play Reagan, 1976. You lose to Ford, and then you are the nominee four years later.

BAIER: Kirsten, are Democrats licking their chops on this first day?

KIRSTEN POWERS, USA TODAY: Yes, I think so. And I think if you talk to the anti-Trump people that were a part of this that they think that they wanted to force a vote on this even though they know Trump has the votes. But they think people are ashamed to basically have to come out and vote for him. And so they felt this was something they should force, and they think this was sort of a rigged system against them because they actually had the votes.

BAIER: Mercedes, I talked to some Trump people and the RNC. They say, listen, they are blowing this way out of proportion. Once you see tonight, everything is going to be fine.

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: It looks like a big Greek family fighting, breaking the plates with each other. But I think it is going to be fine. I think when you had Pence added to the ticket, he was able to bring those who were in maybe-Trump category to vote for the Trump- Pence ticket. This is emotional time for the party, but I do believe at the end we have more unity than he you will see. And you will have the fragment of those that might not agree with Trump, might not vote for Trump. But at the end you're going to see a majority of Republicans supporting him.

BAIER: So there are some people on the floor who said, OK, just let the vote happen.


BAIER: They are not going to have the votes eventually, so just let it happen. Play it out.

GOLDBERG: I think they should have. I think Mike Lee was very effective about that, and saying, look, if you want unity, give some people some buy.
Give some people the opportunity to say that they had their say. Instead they were steamrolled both on the rules committee and on the floor out here. I agree with Mercedes that absolutely Donald Trump will get the majority of Republicans. But he needs well more than the majority. He needs something like 90 percent of Republicans to turn out. And the point of conventions is to unify the party, not throw a party for the guy who gets the nomination. The party is divided.

SCHLAPP: The only alternative is Hillary Clinton. I think that's the message that you are going to get from Trump and from Pence.

GOLDBERG: I'm sure that's right.

SCHLAPP: Don't vote for our ticket, guess what. It's a binary choice.
It's going to Hillary Clinton for president for the next four years. Are we really going to wait for 2020?

BAIER: And Charles, is that the effective pitch for this entire convention, essentially?

KRAUTHAMMER: It is because it is an unusual Republican convention and electorate. You never had never Romney or never McCain. The never shows a level of opposition. It's not just that Romney wasn't candidate and you have to settle for somebody else. I think there's a visceral opposition that has to be overcome or at least neutralized and won over, unless Trump can do that. As you say, you have got to have a huge majority of Republicans if you want to win the presidency.

BAIER: Kirsten, the star speaker tonight is Melania Trump. What will she do? Try to humanize Donald Trump a little bit more than people see him on the stump.

POWERS: Yes, I think that's exactly right there. I think there is one thing about Donald Trump even people who don't like him will say, he seems like he has a great family. He seems to have a great wife. He has great children. She can really speak to what is he like as a father, as a husband. And give him -- humanize him for lack of a better word, and give a broader context to understanding him, not as just the guy who is attacking people on the stump.

BAIER: What do they need to get out of this week?

GOLDBERG: They need a positive, uplifting message. I think it's been a rocky start. And they need to give a sense that the party actually has galvanized around the nominee. And we will see if they can actually pull that off.

BAIER: Mercedes, last word?

SCHLAPP: I think for Trump, it's his opportunity to say I am here. I'm your candidate. I want to unify the party. All eyes are going to be on Cruz tomorrow. Let's see what message he's going to talk about, party unity. That's going to be key.

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