The first of the two major U.S. political party conventions was held in Cleveland, Ohio last week. After beginning with a field of 17 candidates a year ago, the Republican Party officially announced businessman Donald Trump as its nominee for president. Due to the fact the convention was held in the midst of a summer which has seen the deadliest mass shooting attack in U.S. history — and numerous shootings of unarmed black men by police, and subsequent retaliatory attacks on police officers — security was on the minds of everyone who attended.
2,800 police officers from around the country descended on Cleveland for the week of the Republican National Convention. The presence of law enforcement was so ubiquitous, it was nearly impossible to walk more than a block anywhere downtown without being in eye-sight of police. Following heavy political pressure from police to do so, Governor John Kasich refused to support the suspension of Ohio’s Open Carry gun law for the week. Thus protesters were allowed to carry holstered firearms on their persons in recognition of their Second Amendment rights. No shots from police or protesters were fired during the four days of the convention, and protests were for the most part, civil, and in some circumstances, tinged with humor.
The RNC opened Monday under the theme “Make America Safe Again.” A chaotic scene occurred in the afternoon when following a standard procedure of presenting the Rules Committee report turned into the last stand for anti-Trump delegates. They demanded a roll call vote, yet their movement was defeated when two voice votes ruled against them.
Later in the evening, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered perhaps the night’s most impassioned speech. Giuliani referred to President Obama’s hesitance to call ISIS and isolated acts of terrorism Islamic extremism. Obama has stated the term grants religious legitimacy to individuals who do not represent Islam nor do they deserve the name.
The night for all intents and purposes ended with Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, giving a speech that spoke to the kind of man she believes her husband to be. Shortly afterward, accusations began circulating on social media that certain phrases from Mrs. Trump’s speech may have been lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 address to the Democratic National Convention.
The theme for the second day of the convention was “Make America Work Again.” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Dr. Ben Carson were among the big names who took Hillary Clinton to task. Carson referenced Clinton’s college senior thesis about radical activist Saul Alinsky, whose book “Rules for Radicals” features a dedication to Lucifer. Later in the evening, the GOP nominee’s home state, New York, delivered the 89 votes necessary to cross the 1,237 delegate threshold to clinch the party’s nomination. The victory was shared with his children, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump.
The third day of the RNC began with a press release from the Trump campaign which revealed that a speechwriter by the name of Meredith McIver had admitted to lifting phrases from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech when writing Melania Trump’s address. McIver, the Trump campaign said, offered her resignation but Donald Trump rejected it.
Later that night, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas took to the stage. The biggest question of the night: would Cruz support Trump? “Endorse Trump!” many delegates yelled as Cruz advised the RNC to “vote for their conscience” rather than throwing in a bid for Trump. Delegates booed and harangued Cruz until he walked off the stage.
Later in the evening, Trump’s VP choice Mike Pence introduced his family to the Republican Party and doled into why Trump would defend core tenets of Republicanism.
On the final night of the convention, Donald Trump took to the stage to accept the Republican nomination for president. And to give the most important speech of his political career.
Under the theme of “Make America One Again,” Trump declared himself to be the ‘law and order candidate.’ And vowed to heal the national gaping wound between police and communities of color. The GOP nominee spoke of his plan to end wasteful government spending in his first 100 days, welcomed the support of jilted Bernie Sanders supporters, and promised to repeal and replace Obama Care.
Trump, seemingly, made a play for every demographic of voter during his speech — no matter how unlikely he is to gain that group’s support. At one point, he pledged to renew the government’s commitment to America’s steel and coal industries, pivoted, and thanked RNC delegates for applauding his promise to protect the LGBTQ community.
A week that began with embarrassing accusations of plagiarism in his wife’s speech, and came to a tension-filled boil upon Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of Trump, ended with a convention speech the Trump campaign hopes will finally unify a much divided GOP.
By Michael Carter and Keely Sullivan.