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Who Is Speaking At The Republican National Convention? The List Is Really Weird


The RNC released the names of speakers for 2016. Who is speaking at the Republican National Convention? Some who made the list may be surprising.

Republicans traveling to Cleveland, Ohio for the July convention can expect to hear from more than 60 speakers. Some of the names on the list are expected: Trump's wife Melania and four of his five kids will give speeches (1o-year-old Barron may be a bit too young to step up to the microphone, but he'll likely be cheering on his dad). Several of Trump's most outspoken supporters will also get time at the podium, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

The list also includes some unusual picks, including a professional golfer, the CEO of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and two soap opera stars. Attendees will likely also be interested in hearing from speakers who hesitated to endorse Trump, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. It looks as though the RNC speakers will collaborate to make a strong case for Trump's nomination; but if the campaign so far is any indication, the speeches will be anything but predictable.

Here's the full list of RNC speakers:

Pastor Mark Burns

Burns founded The NOW Television Network focusing on Christian programming, and he currently serves as the network's president. He is expected to speak Monday night; he told Politico that he intends to talk about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump as a man with heart and a unifying mission.

Phil Ruffin

Businessman Ruffin is worth $2.6 billion, Forbes reported; he is ranked at 722 on Forbes' list of The World's Billionaires. Earning his fortune in casinos and real estate, he is known for buying the Treasure Island Resort & Casino during the recession and building it into a business worth an estimated $1.3 billion (it only cost him $755 million). He's campaigned for Trump in the past; according to The Wichita Eagle, he spoke about Trump's business record during a rally in Kansas.

Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke

Rep. Zinke served as a U.S. Navy SEAL before becoming a State Senator; his bio indicates that he is on both "the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources." He endorsed Trump in May, TIME reported; he indicated that Trump's experience as a businessman could help revive the economy.

Pat Smith

Though the list of speakers published on the RNC website doesn't give biographical information, Smith may be the mother of one of the victims of the attack in Benghazi, Sean Smith; according to MSNBC, she said that "Hillary didn't answer the questions" during the hearing in October.

Mark Geist

Geist served in Benghazi and helped with rescue work during the attack, according to a press release on Trump's website; he endorsed Trump in February and now appears in a National Rifle Association (NRA) commercial in support of the candidate.

John Tiegen

Tiegen served as a Marine Sergeant before joining the CIA's Global Response Staff; his bio on the Premiere Speakers Bureau website states that he co-authored the book 13 Hours that details the life-saving actions he took during the Benghazi attack.

Texas Rep. Michael McCaul

Rep. McCaul is in his sixth term in Congress; according to the biography on his website, he is the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and the Chairman of the U.S.-Mexico Inter-Parliamentary Group (I.P.G.).

Sheriff David Clarke

Sheriff Clarke serves Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He is the host of podcast The People's Sheriff, and The Atlantic reported that he is an outspoken critic of the Black Lives Matter movement and a major supporter of Trump.

Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy

Before entering politics, Rep. Duffy grew to prominence as a professional lumberjack athlete and a cast member on The Real World, according to his bio. Now, he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations within the House Financial Services Committee.

Darryl Glenn

A candidate for Senate in Colorado, Glenn is the El Paso County commissioner; The Denver Post reported that he is known as a strong speaker, but this will be his first big step into the national spotlight.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton

An Army veteran, Sen. Cotton served as a congressman before joining the Senate; according to his official bio, he is Chairman of the Air Land Power Subcommittee within the Armed Services Committee. He also serves on the Banking Committee and the Intelligence Committee.

Karen Vaughn

Vaughn is the mother of fallen Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, NBC Nightly News reported. Her son died in a 2011 helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 30, according to CNN.

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Huckabee served as the Governor of Arkansas between 1996 and 2007; his bio indicates that he is a New York Times bestselling author and a Fox News contributor. He ran for the 2008 and 2016 Republican presidential nominations.

New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani followed his tenure as New York City mayor from 1994 to 2001 with a 2008 run for president, according to HISTORY.com.

Melania Trump

Melania is Trump's third wife; according to her bio, she started modeling as a teenager, studied design and architecture at the University of Slovenia, and went on to create jewelry and skin care collections.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst

Sen. Ernst is a retired Lieutenant Colonel; her biography states that she spent 23 years in the military before becoming "the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the United States Senate." Though there was speculation that Ernst would be Trump's running mate, Politico reported that she told Trump she wanted to stay in Iowa.

Kathryn Gates-Skipper

Gates-Skipper was "the first female Marine to serve in combat operations," Refinery29 reported. She endorsed Trump in November.

Marcus Luttrell

Luttrell is a former Navy SEAL; according to his bio, he is the author of Lone Survivor (now a major motion picture), a book about Operation Redwing.

Dana White

Dana White is President of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), CBS Sports reported.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson

Before becoming Governor of Arkansas, Hutchinson was Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration; according to his biography, he was also the first Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Rutledge is the first female Attorney General of Arkansas; her bio states that she previously worked as Counsel for the RNC.

Michael Mukasey

Mukasey is a former U.S. Attorney General, MSNBC reported. He made headlines for his comments leading up to the FBI investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails.

Andy Wist

It's unclear who Andy Wist is; according to Vox his Google results only "reflect that he is, in fact, on the list of RNC speakers."

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions

Sen. Sessions was an early Trump supporter; NPR reported that he "was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump's candidacy."

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Michael Flynn testifies before the House Select Intelligence Committee on worldwide threats in the House Visitors Center of the US Capitol on February 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Flynn is the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Though The Intercept reported that he's a registered Democrat, Flynn is critical of Obama's approach to national security and is a vocal Trump supporter.

Alex Smith

Smith serves as the National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee. According to the CRNC website, she is a licensed attorney and a graduate of both The Catholic University of America and Seton Hall University School of Law.

Speaker Paul Ryan

Though he only became Speaker of the House in 2015, Ryan is in his ninth term in Congress. His bio states that he previously chaired the House Ways and Means Committee.

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Rep. McCarthy is the House Majority Leader; according to his bio, he started as a congressman in 2006.

Kerry Woolard

Woolard is the general manager of Trump Winery. The winery website lists her as one of three members of the team, with Eric Trump as president.

West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito

Sen. Capito is the first West Virginia woman elected to the U.S. Senate; according to her biography, she served in the House of Representatives for 14 years.

Dr. Ben Carson

After an unsuccessful run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, the retired neurosurgeon joined the selection committee to choose Trump's running mate, The Boston Globe reported.

Co-Chair Sharon Day

Day is the Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee; according to the GOP, she was the RNC Secretary between 2009 and 2011.

Natalie Gulbis

Gulbis is a professional golfer. In an essay for Golf Magazine, she revealed that she first met Trump as a 21-year-old and went on to be a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.

Kimberlin Brown

Brown is a soap opera star with roles on The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and The Restless, Soaps.com reported.

Antonio Sabato, Jr.

Sabato Jr. stars as Dante Damiano on B&B and Jagger Cates on General Hospital, according to Soaps.com.

Peter Thiel

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Partner at Founders Fund Peter Thiel participates in a panel discussion at the New York Times 2015 DealBook Conference at the Whitney Museum of American Art on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Times)

Thiel is the co-founder of PayPal; The Verge reported that the billionaire investor is also on the board of Facebook.

Eileen Collins

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images News/Getty Images
NEW YORK - AUGUST 30: NASA astronaut Eileen Collins, who commanded the Shuttle Discovery, listens to a question during an appearance at the American Museum of Natural History August 30, 2005 in New York City. Accompanied by two of Discovery's crew, they spoke about their mission and future space travel. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

Collins was the first female NASA astronaut to take the lead on a space shuttle mission, according to SpaceNews.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is waves to the media as he returns to his office at the U.S. Capitol, May 10, 2016, in Washington, DC. Presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled meet with Republican House and Senate leadership on Thursday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Though former presidential hopeful Sen. Cruz agreed to speak at the Republican National Convention, Politico reported that Cruz indicated in a June MSNBC interview that he hesitated to endorse Trump.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Newt Gingrich attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

After serving in the House as a congressman from Georgia, Gingrich ran for president in 2012. Gingrich is a strong supporter of Trump and, as CNN reported, became a top candidate to be Trump's running mate.

Michelle Van Etten

Van Etten's bio is unclear; the RNC did not list any information about her beyond her name. A Google search suggests she may be an entrepreneur.

Lynne Patton

Patton works as the Vice President of The Eric Trump Foundation (ETF) and is Senior Assistant to Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump & Donald Trump Jr. According to the foundation's website, ETF provides financial support to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Eric Trump

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
NEWMARKET, NH - FEBRUARY 08: Eric Trump visits with volunteers working to help elect his father Republican presidential canddiate Donald Trump at the Newmarket Trump campaign headquarters on February 8, 2016 in Newmarket, New Hampshire. Democratic and Republican Presidential are stumping for votes throughout New Hampshire leading up to the Presidential Primary on February 9th. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Trump's son Eric is the Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions for The Trump Organization; his bio indicates that he's in charge of the Trump Golf Collection.

Harold Hamm

Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Honoree Harold Hamm attends the TIME 100 Gala, TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World, cocktail party at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

Hamm is the Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources; Forbes reported that he has a net worth of $11.7 billion as of July 14.

New York Rep. Chris Collins

Rep. Collins started as a congressman in 2012; his biography indicates that he is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Brock Mealer

Mealer is known for making a remarkable recovery following a car crash, the Detroit Free Press reported. Despite a 99% chance that he would never walk again, the Wauseon, Ohio resident is now able to "walk unassisted."

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 24: U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) speaks to guests at the Iowa Freedom Summit on January 24, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The summit is hosting a group of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates to discuss core conservative principles ahead of the January 2016 Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rep. Blackburn is Vice Chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee and Chairman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, according to her bio.

Governor Mary Fallin

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 22: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin attends the T.J. Martell Foundation's 38th Annual Honors Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 22, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for T.J. Martell Foundation)

Fallin is the first woman to become Governor of Oklahoma; her bio indicates that she previously served in the House of Representatives.

Darrell Scott

Rev. Darrell Scott, senior pastor of the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights (R) and Republican Candidate Donald Trump speak to the press after meetings with prominent African American clerics at Trump Tower in New York November 30 ,2015. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Scott is the pastor at New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland, Ohio, MSNBC reported. He is also the CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump (NDC for Trump).

Lisa Shin

Dr. Shin is listed as a Korean-American for Trump on the NDC for Trump website; she is one of the organization's advisors.

Florida Governor Rick Scott

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ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 13: Florida Governor Rick Scott pauses during a press conference on South Orange Avenue down the street from Pulse Nightclub, June 13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The shooting at Pulse Nightclub, which killed 49 people and injured 53, is the worst mass-shooting event in American history. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Scott served in the Navy before attending law school, according to his bio. Founder of both the Columbia Hospital Corporation and Conservatives for Patients' Rights, Scott is now the 45th Governor of Florida.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 06: DNC Chairman Reince Priebus participates in a Politico Playbook breakfast forum, May 6, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Priebus is in his third term as Chairman of the Republican National Committee; his bio on the GOP website indicates that he previously served as chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Tom Barrack

Chairman of Miramax, Tom Barrack speaks at a ceremony honoring actor Rob Lowe with a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California, on December 8, 2015.AFP PHOTO /ANGELA WEISS / AFP / ANGELA WEISS (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Barrack is a real estate investor who founded Colony Capital, Forbes reported; he made the 2013 Forbes list of billionaires but dropped off the list in 2014.

Ivanka Trump

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NEW YORK, NY - MAY 25: Ivanka Trump attend the Cirque Du Soleil's 'Paramour' Broadway Opening Night at the Lyric Theatre on May 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Trump's daughter Ivanka is the Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions for The Trump Organization; her biography indicates that she is in charge of "domestic and global expansion of the company's real estate interests."

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

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TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 29: Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks during the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 29, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC, which is scheduled to conclude August 30. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Bondi started work as Florida's 37th Attorney General in 2011, according to her bio.

Jerry Falwell Jr.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
LYNCHBURG, VA - JANUARY 18: Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. introduces Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with a sports jersey after he delivered the convocation in the Vines Center at the university January 18, 2016 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Although Falwell said the university does not endorse a particular candidate, he left no question as to who he is supporting in the 2016 presidential race. Highlighting Trump's conservative credentials, charity and politically incorrect speech, Falwell said, 'I see a lot of parallels between my father and Donald Trump.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Liberty University President Falwell gave Trump an endorsement in January; the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Falwell is a fan of repealing the "Johnson Amendment" so that tax-exempt organizations can support political candidates.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

Daniel Barry/Getty Images News/Getty Images
NEW YORK - JULY 11: Orthodox Rabbi Haskel Lookstein (C) speaks to members of the media near the location of a four alarm fire at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue on East 85th Street July 11, 2011 in New York City. About 170 firefighters responded to the blaze which began at about 8:30 p.m and was under control in an hour. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

When Ivanka Trump decided to convert to Orthodox Judaism, Rabbi Lookstein supported her decision and helped her through the process, according to The Telegraph.

Chris Cox

Cox is Executive Director of NRA Institute for Legislative Action; the NRA-ILA refers to him as the "NRA's chief lobbyist and principal political strategist."

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), speaks during the Faith and Freedom Forum Coalition's 'Road to Majority' conference on June 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Donald Trump is also scheduled to speak at the conference. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sen. McConnell is the U.S. Senate majority leader; according to his website, he is "Kentucky's longest-serving senator," winning his first Senate election in 1984.

Tiffany Trump

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Tiffany Trump attends the Mara Hoffman runway show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015 at The Salon at Lincoln Center on September 6, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)

Trump's daughter Tiffany recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and is known as an Instagram influencer, The Washington Post reported.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump (L) shakes the hand of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie after an introduction during a rally March 14, 2016 in Vienna Center, Ohio. The six remaining White House hopefuls made a frantic push for votes March 14, 2016 on the eve of make-or-break nominating contests, with Donald Trump's Republican rivals desperate to bar his path after a weekend of violence on the campaign trail. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

After Christie ended his campaign to become the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, he made the shortlist to be Trump's VP, according to TIME.

Donald J. Trump Jr.

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 27: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump introduces his son Donald Trump Jr. as he addresses the crowd during a campaign rally at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on April 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Trump is preparing for the Indiana Primary on May 3. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

Trump's son Donald is an Executive Vice President at The Trump Organization; his bio states that he "directs new project acquisition and development."

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker watches as US President Barack Obama addresses the National Governors Association on February 22, 2016 at the White House in Washington, DC. / AFP / Mandel Ngan (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

After Walker ended his campaign for the Republican nomination, he held off on endorsing Trump, Politico reported.

The country will be watching when these speakers converge on Cleveland.