The Republican National Convention Day Two: Catherine Pugh talks unity, Trump, and 'the power of nice'

City Paper

Catherine Pugh was in Cleveland yesterday for an RNC-related reception for The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), of which she is the president, and I ran into her.

Our imminent mayor was standing alone, waiting for a few others in downtown Cleveland already about to head back to Baltimore.

"In today and right back out." she said. "I have credentials [for the RNC] but I didn't get a chance to check it out."

A few of those speaking or attending the RNC did stop by the NBCSL reception though.

"Ben Carson came by. That was interesting," she said. "And Omarosa"

A gathering of legislators from across the country from both parties turned out to be "a little bit different" than when Maryland Republicans and Democrats meet, Pugh acknowledged. She described some of the interactions at the reception with just a simple, "whoa," adding, "in Maryland, politics is completely different because we're just so used to working with each other—as state legislators."

Then she told me a story.

"I came to the legislature in about 2005, I was appointed by Ehrlich and I was on the environmental matters [committee]—I was totally clueless because it's different being a city council person and being a state legislator. So I was on environmental matters, totally clueless, and there was a guy who sat diagonally from me who would come over because I came in at the end of Tony Fulton's term so you don't get an orientation. So there was a guy who sat diagonally across from me who walked over and said, 'Let me help you understand this bill a little more'—and I didn't even realize he was a Republican. He is now the Harford County Executive, Barry Glassman."

Later on, both Pugh and Glassman became members of the senate, she explained, and "worked together for years."

About an hour before our random-ass encounter, Donald Trump had been officially nominated as the Republican candidate for president and so finally, I asked Pugh what she thought of Trump's nomination.

"Let me just say I don't have any thoughts about that," she said. "I don't. I'm so focused on next week's Democratic convention and being there with Hillary, and focusing on her agenda and helping to get her elected."

Then she sneakily moved back to talking Trump.

"Ronald Shapiro just wrote a book on how to succeed," she said trailing off. "Let me get it."

Pugh turned around, dug into her bag, and pulled out a copy of a book titled, "The Power Of Nice: How to Negotiate So Everyone Wins Especially You!" by Ronald M. Shapiro. 

"When I think about where we're going and where we need to be, 'The Power Of Nice' is really important," she said. "It's not about us against them, it's about what's best for the country moving forward and how do we do it together and focusing on a common agenda. We've got to be more inclusive and work together."

Moments later, a few acquaintances of Pugh's arrived and she took a few photos with them. Then she was on her way.

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