CLEVELAND (CBSNewYork/AP) — Declaring America in crisis, Donald Trump pledged to cheering Republicans and still-skeptical voters Thursday night that as president he will restore the safety they fear they’re losing, strictly curb immigration and save the nation from a Hillary Clinton record of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”
Confidently addressing the finale of his party’s less-than-smooth national convention, the 70-year-old billionaire businessman declared the nation’s problems too staggering to be fixed within the confines of traditional politics.
A political novice, he completed the greatest step yet in his improbable rise, accepting the GOP nomination to face Clinton, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state.
Trump’s address on the closing night of the Republican convention marked his highest-profile opportunity yet to show voters he’s prepared for the presidency. He set aside much of his usual bravado.
As the crowd, fiercely opposed to Clinton, broke out in its oft-used chant of, “Lock her up,” he waved them off, and instead declared, “Let’s defeat her in November.”
The more than hour-long speech was strikingly dark for a celebratory event and almost entirely lacking in specific policy details. Trump shouted throughout as he read off a teleprompter, showing few flashes of humor or even a smile.
In his speech, Trump said that this “convention occurs at a moment of crisis.”
“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,” Trump told the convention crowd.
The Republican nominee said that “we cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore” and that he will be the voice of the “forgotten men and women of our country.”
“I am your voice,” Trump told to roaring applause.
“So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I’m with you, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you,” the nominee stated.
During his speech, Trump outlined the rise of murders, illegal immigration, and poverty. The crowd chanted “Build that wall” while talking about immigration.
“The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015,” Trump said. “They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.”
Trump cast Democrat Hillary Clinton as the direct cause of “many of the disasters unfolding today.” Appealing to Americans deeply frustrated with the political status quo, Trump said those troubles will persist if his rival wins the White House.
“As long as we are led by politicians who will not put ‘America First,’ then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect,” Trump said.
Trump claimed that he “is certain” President Barack Obama regrets naming Clinton secretary of state.
“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. I am certain it is a decision President Obama truly regrets today,” Trump said, referencing America’s dealings with Iran, Syria and Libya.
“After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers,” Trump said.
He said the legacy Hillary Clinton leaves behind is “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”
Trump slammed Obama, claiming that he has “divided us by race and color.”
Trump told a national television audience that “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo.”
“The American people will come first once again,” Trump said.
In his plan for America, Trump said that safety begins at home with secure borders and protection from terrorists.
“In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate,” Trump said.
The Republican nominee said he would protect the LGBTQ community following the attack at an Orlando gay nightclub that left 49 people dead.
“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” Trump said.
He then thanked the crowd for cheering him after saying that.
“And as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said,” Trump told the audience.
Regarding the economy, Trump said that he will not allow companies to move to other countries and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement “to get a much better deal for America.”
“I pledge to never sign any trade agreement that hurts our workers, or that diminishes our freedom and independence,” Trump is expected to say. “Instead, I will make individual deals with individual countries. No longer will we enter into these massive deals, with many countries, that are thousands of pages long, and which no one from our country even reads or understands.”
Trump also called on reforming America’s tax laws, regulations and energy rules.
“America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world. Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country,” Trump will say.
At one point, Trump stopped talking while security escorted out a protester who interrupted him during his speech.
“How great are our police and how great is Cleveland?” Trump said to applause.
Trump was introduced by his oldest daughter, Ivanka. Seeking to reshape her father’s divisive image, she said he was “color blind and gender neutral,” and would be a champion of all Americans as president.
“When you have my father in your corner, you will never again have to worry about being let down,” she said.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Ivanka Trump told the crowd that her dad listens to people of all ethnic backgrounds or economic status.
“When my father says he will build a tower, keep an eye on the skyline,” she said. “Real people are hired to do real work. Vision becomes reality when my father says he will make America great again. He will deliver.”
Trump took the stage in Cleveland facing a daunting array of challenges, many of his own making. At the top of the list: Unifying a fractured party and quieting Americans’ concerns about his preparedness for the presidency.
Overseas U.S. allies as well as voters at home will be closely watching his address, which comes the day after his suggestion that he might not defend America’s NATO partners as president.
His comments only added to the chaotic nature of Trump’s nominating event, which has been consumed by a plagiarism charge, unusually harsh criticism of Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s dramatic refusal to endorse the GOP nominee from the convention stage.
Trump’s wife, Melania, foreshadowed it all on opening night, noting, “It would not be a Trump contest without excitement and drama.”
His team closed the convention on a more traditional note, with the businessman delivering a mostly-scripted speech to the convention crowd and millions of Americans watching on television. Balloons dropped from the ceiling, and the stage filled with Trump family members and supporters.
Trump stuck with some of his most contentious proposals, including his call for building a wall on the Mexican border. As the convention’s final night began, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County vouched for Trump’s hard-line credentials on immigration.
“We have terrorists coming over our border, infiltrating our community and causing massive destruction and mayhem,” Arpaio said. “Donald Trump will build the wall.”
On the eve of his address, Trump suggested a new course for U.S. foreign policy, saying he would set different conditions before coming to the defense of NATO allies. The remarks, in an interview published online Wednesday by The New York Times, deviate from decades of American doctrine and seem to reject the 67-year-old alliance’s bedrock principle of collective defense
As president, Trump said he would defend allies against Russian aggression only after first ensuring they had met their financial commitments. “If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes,” he said.
Democrats, Republicans and international partners warned of the risks of backing away from NATO obligations.
“Two world wars have shown that peace in Europe is also important for the security of the United States,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
Democrat Clinton’s top policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Trump’s proposal showed he was “temperamentally unfit and fundamentally ill-prepared to be our commander in chief.”
As Trump wrapped up his convention, Clinton was closing in on her selection of a running mate. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine emerged as the leading contender, according to two Democrats familiar with the selection process, with an announcement expected as early as Friday.
Clinton was aggressively attacked throughout the four-day Republican convention, with delegates repeatedly chanting, “Lock her up.” Republicans used her decades in politics to draw a sharp contrast with Trump, a political novice promising to shake up Washington.
“The dirty little secret Democrats don’t want you to know is that they’re the party doing the same old thing,” party chairman Reince Priebus said. “Next week they are going to trot out the same old Democrats with the same old message running the same old candidate.”
Trump had hoped the four-day Republican convention would bolster his support among GOP leaders and win over skeptics. But that goal seemed guaranteed to go unfulfilled following Cruz’s stubborn defiance on the convention stage.
The Texas senator refused to endorse Trump during his Wednesday speech, even as delegates loudly jeered him from the convention floor. It was a surreal moment given how carefully scripted political conventions normally are, and served as a fresh reminder that Trump events rarely go by the rules.
A Cruz aide said one of Trump’s advisers had reached out to the senator’s team shortly before the speech in hopes of getting a last-minute commitment.
Trump brushed aside the controversy, insisting Cruz was an outlier in an otherwise unified party.
“Other than a small group of people who have suffered massive and embarrassing losses, the party is VERY united. Great love in the arena!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
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