ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel in Cleveland for day two of the Republican National Convention. Tonight, if all goes as planned, Donald Trump will officially become the Republican Party's nominee for president. The official nomination process is in fact underway. His name has been placed in nomination by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the first senator to support Donald Trump, seconded by Representative Chris Collins of New York. And in the background you can hear the lieutenant governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster, offering the second seconding speech.
SIEGEL: I'm joined by NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. And Mara, any moment we'll hear this hall erupt into applause for all the speeches placing Donald Trump's name in nomination. What happens then?
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Right. Then we'll have the roll call of the states. There might be some dissenting votes. But New York state is going to put Trump over the top. That's his home state. And of course they re-jigger the math so that New York peaks just right at the moment.
SIEGEL: States can pass and...
LIASSON: Yes, yeah.
SIEGEL: ...Call upon other states...
LIASSON: It's a...
SIEGEL: ...To vote.
LIASSON: It's a convention ritual.
SIEGEL: After that happens, after Donald Trump ceases to be the presumptive nominee and we just call him the nominee, then we enter prime time. This is - these are all the preliminaries as far as the television audience is concerned.
LIASSON: That's right. Then we enter prime time. And last night's program established the Trump campaigned theory of the case. They believe this is a country where enough voters are angry and fearful and ready to turn to a strong man to fix everything. Tonight's theme is make American work again - how to get economic growth going and create more jobs.
But when you look at the lineup, it's rather thin on business leaders. There is Kerry Woolard, who's the general manager of the Trump Winery, and there's Andy Wist, who runs the Standard Waterproofing company.
But what you're going to hear tonight is a lot of speeches from Republican establishment figures, elected officials who chose, unlike many of their colleagues, to come to Cleveland. And what I'm interested in hearing is how many of them actually talk about Donald Trump.
SIEGEL: You can write down here one of them, who's the chair.
PAUL RYAN: ...Cast its votes out of order.
SIEGEL: This is Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House. He's the chairman of the Convention at this point. And as Mara was explaining, the roll call is jiggered in such a way so that the home state of the nominee can cast the votes that put him over, and that's the motion that's being approved by a voice vote right now - yeah, complicated relationship between this man, Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump.
LIASSON: No doubt. One of the real subplots of tonight is you're going to hear Paul Ryan give his speech. You're going to hear Mitch McConnell. You're going to hear Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who's the only incumbent up for re-election that came and is giving a speech tonight.
And Ryan has struggled between endorsing Donald Trump and trying to put some distance between the two of them, saying, he's a different kind of conservative than I am. He's criticized Donald Trump. So has Mitch McConnell. And Ron Johnson is in a very tight re-election fight. He knows a lot of his base Republican voters in Wisconsin like Trump. So it'll be interesting to see the balancing act that all of these Republican officials perform tonight.
SIEGEL: Last night's big speech was by Melania Trump - more family coming up tonight as well.
LIASSON: More family coming up tonight - daughter Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr. They - family is the best character witness a candidate can have. The goal of this week is to make voters look at Donald Trump and see a president fix his weaknesses, humanize him and reintroduce him to the country. And his children can do a lot to help him there.
SIEGEL: That's NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, thank you.
LIASSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.