Trumped-up talk of Tebow convention speech 'rumor,' QB says
The biggest story about the lineup of speakers at next week's Republican convention turns out to be about the Florida man who's not speaking.
That would be Tim Tebow, the star quarterback for the Florida Gators and leader of a faith-based foundation that helps children, who lit up social media Thursday after a flurry of news coverage that he would address Donald Trump's celebration on its final night next Thursday.
But it's not happening. Tebow, a Jacksonville resident, won't be there.
Tebow posted a Facebook video on Thursday evening calling it a "rumor" that he was supposed to speak in Cleveland. The New York Times first reported that he was slated to speak on Thursday, but Tebow's name was not included among the speakers provided by convention planners.
"What's up, everybody?" Tebow says on Facebook. "I just got back from the Philippines and I wake up this morning to find out I was speaking at the Republican National Convention. It's amazing how fast rumors fly, and that's exactly what it is — a rumor."
The Associated Press reported Friday that the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to questions about Tebow's departure from a convention program that his team had long teased would be an extraordinary display of political entertainment. But instead of sports stars and celebrities, as promised, the campaign is relying heavily on Republican establishment figures at the four-day convention at Quicken Loans Arena, and Trump campaign officials sounded tongue-tied as they tried to explain what happened.
"The convention (Committee) on Arrangements does the inviting … We're not the administrative agents of the convention," Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort told CNN's Chris Cuomo Friday morning. "I don't know what happened between the announcement of Tebow and an invitation."
The NYT's Maggie Haberman defended her paper's reporting on Twitter and said senior advisors to Trump's campaign had confirmed Tebow would be speaking. After Manafort's comments on CNN, she tweeted: "Pretty clear from Manafort on CNN they believed Tebow was coming — he puts it on committee on arrangements."
So Tebow's appearance is a no-go. Spiked, as it were. But how the mixup occurred still appears to be something of a mystery. As Trump himself might well ask: "What the hell is going on?"