NORTH FORSYTH -- U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, is trying not to let the distractions get to him this week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
“My role is to be supportive of our party ... and making sure we are moving forward with the conservative vision for America going into the fall elections,” he said on Monday after a schedule full of meetings and meet-and-greets.
But the simple business of nominating Donald Trump as the GOP candidate for president comes with a little more than usual fanfare.
The television cameras will capture the protesters, dignitaries, delegates and celebrities.
Collins said he had already heard from characters of the “Duck Dynasty” reality show, and also former presidential candidate Ben Carson, who still holds a deal of appeal among conservatives.
Then there’s the recent spate of violence that has left police officers and black men dead from Texas to Minnesota to Louisiana.
And during the campaign, there were more than a few reports of skirmishes at rallies between Trump supporters and opponents.
“Are there real concerns? Sure,” Collins said. “But I think you can’t let it stop you. I try to never let fear drive my decisions. There’s no fear here.”
Collins has developed a reputation as a fiery speaker on the campaign trail. But he laughed off any idea of giving a “ra ra” talk before the entire convention in Cleveland.
However, Collins promised he would meet with convention delegates from the Ninth District of Northeast Georgia today, including Gainesville attorney Ashley Bell.
As for concerns about Trump's candidacy, Collins said the party is unifying despite its many competing interests.
“There’s not ever a perfect anything,” he said, adding that a difference of opinion can be healthy in politics. “We’re Republicans. We’re not Democrats who just simply march in line.”
With the balance of power on the Supreme Court at stake, among other issues, Collins said the GOP has to come together.
“At the end of the day ... not letting Hillary Clinton occupy the White House again, that is the overriding goal,” he said.