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Trump's 'show biz' convention lacks A-list

Associated Press Associated Press 19/07/2016

The "show biz" in Donald Trump's Republican National Convention fell considerably short of A-list, kicking off the first of four nights with reality TV hunter Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty, in a flag-motif head scarf, declaring Trump "will have your back".

He was followed in rapid, prime-time succession by actor Scott Baio of Happy Days and Charles in Charge.

Baio, who campaigned for Ronald Reagan in his youth, built on Trump's "Let's make America great" rallying cry with this: "Let's make America America again."

Robertson, whose family has amassed millions through hunting ventures in Louisiana and on TV, played the regular-folk card on the Cleveland podium, chiding Trump detractors who "don't hang with regular folks like us".

He said he and Trump have three things in common: They're successful businessmen, they have hit TV shows, and "we both have intelligent wives who are much better looking than we are".

Trump's wife, Melania Trump, was opening night's keynote speaker.

Both Baio and the big-bearded Robertson, who sneaked into the 2008 GOP convention and described how on Twitter, kept their remarks short and on message.

"Donald Trump will always tell you the truth as he sees it," Robertson said.

Baio, in a bright red tie, addressed first-time voters on what it means to be an American. Or rather, what it doesn't mean.

"It doesn't mean getting free stuff," he said. "It means sacrificing, winning, losing, failing, succeeding, sometimes doing the things you don't want to do, including the hard work in order to get where you want to be."

And Baio answered his own question when asking: "Is Donald Trump a messiah? No. He's just a man, a man who wants to give back to his country, America. A country that has given him everything."

He whipped up some boos for Hillary Clinton in laying out the two parties' choices for president, before he called her a "woman who somehow feels she's entitled to the presidency".

Monday's celebrity trifecta ended with hunky former Calvin Klein underwear model and General Hospital star Antonio Sabato Jr, who has guested as a Chippendale and also appeared on Dancing with the Stars and Melrose Place.

Sabato was born in Italy, raised in the US and became a naturalised citizen in 1996. He said other immigrants "should follow the same rules".

He's also the father of three who said he was "concerned for my children's future", evoking worry over "socialism" and presenting Trump as standing for "unity".

"I've never considered myself very political," Sabato said. "I've never spoken out politically before."

The actor said he was compelled to this time around because - mashing up candidate with action word - "our rights have been trumpled".

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