There were a few elephants in room at the RNC – and by that we mean the numerous key Republicans who skipped the convention. Among those notably absent were President George W. Bush, Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush, Former Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, Presidential Candidate John Kasich, Former Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney, and Former Presidential Nominee John McCain. As the Democratic National Convention kicks off today, here’s what we know so far about who won’t be taking the mic this week for the Democrats:
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
In spite of her name being printed on every press pass at the DNC, the outgoing chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, will not address or gavel in the convention this week. She resigned over the weekend after leaked emails revealed DNC officials plotting against Senator Bernie Sander’s primary campaign to support Hillary Clinton’s nomination.
This morning, the embattled chair was booed by the Florida delegation at a pre-convention breakfast. Shortly after, she told the Sun Sentinel, “I have decided that in the interest of making sure that we can start the Democratic convention on a high note that I am not going to gavel in the convention.”
Right now, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not slated to speak this week at the DNC, even though he addressed the national convention four years ago. Since then, his administration has dealt with controversy around the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald at the hands of a Chicago police officer. Footage of the shooting wasn’t released until a year later, suggesting an effort to possibly conceal what happened. During that year, Emanuel was reelected mayor in a very close race.
President Bill Clinton’s Vice President, Al Gore, is skipping this year’s convention. A spokesperson told The Tennessean he will not attend due to “obligations in Tennessee.” Gore has yet to endorse Hillary Clinton, making him the last of eight Tennessee superdelegates to commit to a candidate.
After losing a historically close presidential election to George W. Bush in 2000, he was a featured speaker at the 2004 and 2008 conventions. However, he also skipped the 2012 DNC – that time to anchor coverage on Current TV, the liberal television network he later sold to Al Jazeera.
President Jimmy Carter also will not attend the DNC in Philadelphia this year. His spokesperson tells the Associated Press he videotaped a message though, like he did in 2012. While his spokesperson didn’t provide a reason for him not attending, the 91-year-old began receiving treatment for metastatic melanoma in August. In March, he announced that his doctors said he no longer needed treatment.
Billboard reports that Ariana Grande was asked to perform at the DNC closing ceremony this week, but had to decline due to a scheduling conflict.
That said, the pop singer’s name came up in those leaked DNC emails that caused DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schutz to resign. A 2015 email exchange reveals Grande may have been vetoed from performing at a different DNC event after she was caught on camera in a bakery licking other customers’ doughnuts and saying “I hate America.”