Last night Donald Trump accepted his nomination as the GOP’s candidate for presidency in a 76 minute speech. These are the highlights.
Donald Trump made his bid for the presidency feel real on Thursday, urging Americans to propel him to the White House on a platform of crumpling up failing institutions and building new ones on the rubble.
Thousands of convention-goers cheered and shouted slogans: ‘USA! USA!’ and ‘Build that wall!’ – and a new one: ‘Yes you will!’ – as he read his script from a teleprompter and ad-libbed as he worked the crowd during the longest convention acceptance speech since 1972.
Entering to the theme song from the Harrison Ford movie ‘Air Force One,’ he heard wild cheers of ‘Trump! Trump! Trump!’ and accepted the nomination that America’s political establishment swore for a year and a half would be denied him.
More than an hour later, with balloons and confetti dropping and fireworks showing on giant video screens, the Republican presidential families – both those of Trump and of his running mate Mike Pence – joined him on stage.
In a 4,600-word speech to the Republican National Convention, the longest prepared text he’s delivered since becoming a presidential candidate, Trump staked his claim on Americans’ cravings for stability in a year full of terror attacks and anti-police ambushes.
‘We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order,’ he vowed, forecasting his residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
‘The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country,’ he said.
Midway through the speech, a protester tried to unfurl a banner that read: ‘Build bridges, not walls.’
As law enforcement officers led her away, Trump riffed for an appreciative crowd: ‘How great are our police? And how great is Cleveland?’
Trump continued his habit of blaming the status quo on President Barack Obama.
‘The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end,’ he boomed. ‘Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored.’
‘The irresponsible rhetoric of our president, who has used the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color, has made America a more dangerous environment than frankly I have ever seen, and anyone in this room has ever watched or seen.
‘This Administration has failed America’s inner cities. Remember: it has failed America’s inner cities. It’s failed them on education. It’s failed them on jobs. It’s failed them on crime. It’s failed them in every way and on every single level.’
‘We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore,’ he said. ‘So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths, the Democrats are holding their convention next week. Go there!’
Trump has staked his reputation, his truckloads of cash and his family name on a quixotic quest that still has one more towering hurdle – Hillary Clinton – standing between him and the Oval Office.
He brought a rhetorical steamroller to Cleveland, casting her as the principal reason the Middle East is in tatters, the ISIS terror army has found its way West, and American inner-cities are amped-up powder kegs.
He spoke for an hour and 15 minutes – 10 minutes longer than Bill Clinton’s address at the 1996 Democratic Convention.
TRUMP ATTACKS HILLARY AND WOOS BERNIE FANS
‘This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,’ he said. ‘But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy.’
‘The problems we face now – poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad – will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them in the first place.’
‘America is far less safe – and the world is far less stable – than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy,’ Trump said.
At that, cries of ‘Lock her up! Lock her up!’ erupted, the week’s unofficial anti-Clinton battle cry
‘Let’s defeat her in November. I am certain it is a decision he truly regrets,’ he added.
‘Her bad instincts and her bad judgment – something pointed out by Bernie Sanders – are what caused the disasters unfolding today,’ he added.
Trump needs the support of independent-minded Sanders supporters who were alienated by Clinton’s march to the Democratic nomination.
I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders – he never had a chance. Never,’ Trump vented on Thursday.
‘But his supporters will join our movement, because we will fix his single biggest issue: trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and strip us of our wealth as a country.’
‘Millions of Democrats will join our movement,’ he promised, ‘because we are going to fix the system so it works fairly and justly for each and every American.
Trump also repeated his claim that Clinton ‘wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment,’ which guarantees the right to own firearms and other weapons for self-defense.
PLEDGING TO STEAMROLL ‘RIGGED’ SYSTEM
Trump also reinforced a central message about Clinton that has broken through to millions: that America’s political system is ‘rigged’ by the power players he wants to depose.
‘Nobody knows the system better than me,’ he proclaimed, drawing knowing laughs.
‘Which is why I alone can fix it!’
‘Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place,’ he said.
‘They’re throwing money at her because they have total control over every single thing she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings.’
He bashed Clinton on taxes, saying she ‘plans a massive – and I mean massive! – tax increase’ but ‘I have proposed the largest tax reduction of any candidate who has declared for the presidential race this year – Democrat or Republican.’
‘Middle-income Americans and businesses will experience profound relief, and taxes will be greatly simplified for everyone. I mean everyone.’
ON IMMIGRATION, THE ANTI-HILLARY
Trump drew a stark line, too, between his aggressive posture toward illegal immigrants and Clinton’s embrace of amnesties and refugees from Syria, whom he has claimed will be Trojan horses for terrorism.
‘My plan is the exact opposite of the radical and dangerous immigration policy of Hillary Clinton,’ he said.
‘Americans want relief from uncontrolled immigration, which is what we have now. Communities want relief. Yet Hillary Clinton is proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness.
‘Her plan will overwhelm your schools and hospitals, further reduce your jobs and wages, and make it harder for recent immigrants to escape the tremendous cycle of poverty that they’re going through right now, and make it almost impossible for them to join the middle class.’
And he criticized her approach to energy policy, which focuses on wind, solar and other new technologies. Clinton has said she aims to force coal mines into obsolescence.
Trump, however, has won converts in Appalachia – and in key swing states Ohio and Pennsylvania – by defending fossil fuel extraction.
‘We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy,’ he said Thursday. ‘This will produce more than $20trillion in jobcreating economic activity over the next four decades.’
‘My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steel workers of our country out of work and out of business – that will never happen when Donald J. Trump is president.’
‘Our steelworkers and our miners are going back to work again!’