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Monday was a bad day for the Trump campaign: GOP strategist

Inside Trump's world

The Republican National Convention got off to a shaky start in the estimation of Republican strategist and former White House political director Sara Fagen.

Fagen, a CNBC contributor who supported Jeb Bush, said the day was overshadowed by an outcry from some delegates after the presiding chairman declined to hold a vote on rules changes backed by anti-Trump Republicans. The long-shot effort sought to allow delegates to vote for whomever they wished, rather than being bound to Trump.

She also pointed to a public squabble with Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who opted out of the convention in his home state, and the brouhaha over a small portion of Melania Trump's speech that bore a strong resemblance to remarks by Michelle Obama and attracted accusations of plagiarism.

"Yesterday was a bad day for the Trump campaign. You attacked Kasich. You had a floor fight. And you had a plagiarism," the former aide to George W. Bush told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Melania Trump is not a politician and is held to a different standard, but the flap provides a window into the Trump operation, Fagen said.

"Well-oiled machines do not make these types of mistakes, and you can see how something like this would happen," she said, noting that the insular campaign has relied on a small group of close advisers, including many members of the Trump family.

"My question is who wrote this speech, and how did no one vet this?" she asked.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said the 21 words in question in no way detracted from Melania Trump's message that she loves America and would focus on opportunities for children as first lady.

Nor, she said, will the incident overshadow the night's theme — make America safe again.

The RNC comes on the heels of a devastating terror attack in Nice, France, two fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana, and fatal attacks on police officers by African-American men in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"Most Americans do not feel safe. We know that we're being attacked here. Our allies and our interests and our friends are being attacked over there," said Conway, president and CEO of The Polling Company, which has worked for Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, for several years.

Tuesday night's speakers will include House Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump's former primary rivals Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Ben Carson, Trump's children Donald Trump Jr. and Tiffany Trump, and celebrities including Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White.

In order to move past the first day of the RNC, Fagen said Trump must deliver a great speech when he takes the stage and assure no further outbursts occur on the convention floor. It would also be a boon if protests outside the convention remain peaceful, she added.

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