'Deli-gates': GOP Delegates Talk Politics Over Deli Sandwiches

Jonathan Karl sits down at Cincinnati eateries with locals from the party.

July 18, 2016, 2:29 PM

— -- It’s Day 1 of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland and the kickoff of a special convention series with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl: “Deli-gates.”

At both the Republican and Democratic conventions, Karl will offer a taste of convention politics mixed with local fare through conversation with floor delegates over deli sandwiches.

This week, Karl sat down with three Republican convention delegates at Slyman’s Deli in Cleveland -- all of whom had varying levels of enthusiasm for Trump, but were united in their plans to get in line with Trump as the party’s nominee.

Tennessee delegate Luke Elliott admits that he’s “not particularly” thrilled with Trump as the party’s nominee but as a 19-year-old already looking ahead to the post-college job market, he believes the Republican Party “must unite” behind Trump.

“I do not agree with the way he talks about women or minorities but he’s our nominee and that’s just the way it is,” a resigned Elliott conceded. He said he hopes to see a change in approach from Trump.

“I hope that he adjusts his tone to make it less about himself and more about the country. And I think he’s starting to realize that,” he said. “I think over the last few weeks he’s decided to become more presidential and I hope to see that. And I think we will.”

Alex Triantafalou, an Ohio delegate who will be bound to Kasich on the first ballot, but declares himself to be on “Trump train,” is excited about the Trump candidacy and says he sees a lot of support for the party’s nominee in his Ohio community.

“We’ve lost two successive presidential elections trying regular politicians,” Triantafalou said. “[I was a] big supporter of Senator McCain, big supporter of Governor Romney, but this is something different and Republicans should embrace it.”

Even as he calls for the party collective to embrace Trump, Triantafalou simultaneously maintains his allegiance to another politician who is making a loud statement by skipping the convention altogether, even though it’s in his state: Ohio governor and former Trump presidential rival John Kasich.

“I disagree with Paul Manafort,” Triantafalou said, defending Kasich against criticism from the Trump campaign chair who said Kasich is “embarrassing his state” by his refusal to attend the RNC.

“I think John Kasich is a wonderful guy and a wonderful governor,” he continued. “And what people in Ohio know is our governor is his own man, he sets his own path.”

Greg Hartman, also an Ohio delegate, echoed Triantafalou and is supporting Kasich in his decision not to support Trump.

“It’s a bit of an alternative universe in Ohio that our governor’s not on board yet, but I think he’s okay with that,” Hartman said. “I think he’s okay with us supporting Trump, but he’s his own man. He’s going to do what he’s going to do.”

Though he is supportive of his governor, Hartman is not standing by Kasich in withholding support from Trump –- though he openly admits that he was “late to the game for Trump.”

Hartman says he’s been encouraged by Trump’s choice of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence –- which he takes as a sign that Trump is mellowing some of his harder-line positions.

“The vice presidential pick was a big deal to me,” says Hartman, who believes the choice demonstrates that Trump is “not that tied to” to some of his controversial proposals, such as the Muslim ban, noting that “Mike Pence was against that, too, before he joined the campaign.”

For more episodes of “Deli-gate” in the days ahead, visit ABCNews.com.

ABC News' Arlette Saenz contributed to this episode.

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