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Republican Convention 2016 speakers: Tim Tebow is on the preliminary list of RNC featured guests

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

The preliminary cast list for Donald Trump’s Republican National Convention looks a lot like a season of Celebrity Apprentice: It will feature former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, various soap opera actors, and Ivanka Trump’s rabbi. But so far, it includes just four of the party’s 31 sitting governors — and none of its former presidents, vice presidents, or presidential nominees.

The convention officially begins Monday, and Trump still hasn’t released an official schedule or speaker list (despite promising to do so a week ago). Everything we know so far is based on leaks and preliminary announcements.

Jeremy Peters of the New York Times got his hands on a preliminary schedule, which implied that major themes would include "the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, former President Clinton’s infidelities and border security."

The Republican National Committee has also released a partial list of speakers, although additions and changes could still be made before the final schedule is released. Here’s everything we know to date about who might be speaking:

Republican officials and party leaders expected to speak

Congressional leaders:

  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Trump’s former presidential rivals:

  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  • Ben Carson


  • Joni Ernst (Iowa)
  • Tom Cotton (Arkansas)
  • Jeff Sessions (Alabama)
  • Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)


  • Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
  • Mary Fallin of Oklahoma
  • Rick Scott of Florida

Members of Congress:

  • Ryan Zinke (Montana)
  • Michael McCaul (Texas)
  • Sean Duffy (Wisconsin)
  • Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee)
  • Chris Collins (New York)

Other party figures:

  • Reince Preibus, the Republican National Committee chair
  • Lisa Shin, a Republican delegate from New Mexico

State attorneys general:

  • Leslie Rutledge (Arkansas)
  • Pam Bondi (Florida)


  • Darryl Glenn, running for Senate in Colorado and the GOP’s only African-American Senate candidate this year

Not on the list: Given that Republicans currently hold 31 governorships, surprisingly few state chief executives are on the preliminary list. Among those not speaking, at least so far, are two women of color — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who delivered the State of the Union response this year, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez — and governors who successfully won in Democratic strongholds. The ranks of senators so far are fairly thin as well, including notable absences from Sens. John McCain, Rand Paul, and John Kasich.

Former Republican officials

  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  • Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
  • Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich
  • Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey (who has been a harsh critic of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server)
  • Former Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Christopher Cox

Members of the military and political activists

  • Two members of the Benghazi security team who have been publicly critical of Clinton, Mark Geist and John Tiegen
  • Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a critic of the Black Lives Matter movement
  • Karen Vaughn, who became an anti-Obama activist after her son, a Navy SEAL, was killed in action
  • Kathryn Gates-Skipper, the first female US Marine to serve in combat operations, who has endorsed Trump
  • Marc Luttrell, a retired US Navy SEAL and the subject of the movie Lone Survivor
  • Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, rumored to be among Trump’s possible vice presidential picks
  • Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant (Shaw is only on the New York Times’s list, not the RNC’s)
  • Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith, who was killed in the Benghazi attacks
  • Border patrol agents, so far unnamed

Athletes, religious leaders, and celebrities

  • Pastor Mark Burns, a pastor who frequently introduces Trump
  • Darrell Scott, a Cleveland pastor and prominent African-American Trump supporter
  • Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, an Orthodox rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump
  • Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the evangelical Liberty University
  • Kimberlin Brown, soap opera actress
  • Dana White, president of UFC
  • Natalie Gulbis, professional golfer
  • Antonio Sabato Jr., former General Hospital actor
  • Eileen Collins, astronaut
  • Brock Mealer, a man paralyzed in a car accident who learned to walk again with the University of Michigan football team

Business leaders

  • PayPal founder Peter Thiel
  • Phil Ruffin, an eccentric businessman and Las Vegas casino owner
  • Harold Hamm, oil and gas executive developing the Bakken shale in North Dakota
  • Tom Barrack, founder and executive chair of Colony Capital
  • Michelle Van Etten, marketing vice president at the Florida startup Youngevity quoted in a Breitbart article about businesswomen for Trump

Members of Trump’s family and business associates

  • Melania Trump, the candidate’s wife
  • Eric Trump, his son
  • Ivanka Trump, his daughter
  • Tiffany Trump, his daughter
  • Kerry Woolard, general manager of Trump Winery
  • Lynne Patton, vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation

A man of mystery

  • Andy Wist was the most "huh?" name on the list — Googling the name only returned copy after copy of the RNC's speaker roster — but the mystery has been cleared up! He's the founder of Standard Waterproofing, a company in the Bronx, and his wife is a volunteer for the Trump campaign, according to his company:

Correction: This article previously identified the wrong Pat Smith who would be speaking at the convention. Pat Smith's son Sean was killed in the Benghazi attacks.

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