RNC in CLE Recap 4: "Make America One Again"
The fourth and final night of the Republican National Convention saw Donald Trump accepting the nomination as the Republican candidate for president of the United States.
Thursday’s list of speakers featured very few politicians compared to previous nights. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, delivered a speech in which he declared he took pride in his status as openly gay.
“I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American,” Thiel said, receiving cheers from the crowd.
Thiel’s comments and the crowd’s cheers are noteworthy because of the timing. The Republican Platform Committee had just ratified an anti-LGBTQ platform not even a week earlier. The platform includes continued opposition to marriage equality and support for anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy.
Later in the evening, Ivanka Trump had the honor of introducing her father. She made the case that the billionaire businessman would fight for women’s issues.
“As President, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce,” Ivanka Trump said. “And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all.”
Mrs. Trump’s speech emulated those of her siblings, with their speeches all attempting to show the lighter side of their father.
“My father values talent. He recognizes real knowledge and skill when he finds it,” Ivanka Trump said. “He is color blind and gender neutral. He hires the best person for the job, period.” After a warm embrace from her father, Ivanka Trump handed the podium over to her father and he began to deliver a rather Nixonian speech, describing the current state of the United States as impoverished and unsafe.
“Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities. Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims,” Trump said. “I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.”
Trump’s speech, which went a record hour and 15 minutes, was one of the longest acceptance speeches in the past four decades.
Trump clung to Bernie Sanders several times throughout his speech, much like he did as the primary season wrapped up. Trump is hoping that many Sanders supporters to switch over to him in the fall.
“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves,” Trump said. “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. 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.”
Recycling themes from Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Trump described himself as the “law and order” candidate-- a phrase that he has started to describe himself with only very recently.
“In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate,” Trump said. “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 for everyone.”
A surprising moment of Trump’s speech came when he began to speak about the Pulse shooting in Orlando. Trump promised to protect LGBTQ individuals from “the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” drawing cheers from the crowd. “And, I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said,” Trump said in response to the cheers.
Much of the body of Trump’s speech was used to contrast himself with Hillary Clinton, as well as making promises to numerous different types of Americans. “I am going to bring our jobs back to Ohio and to America – and I am not going to let companies move to other countries, firing their employees along the way, without consequences,” Trump said. “My opponent, on the other hand, has supported virtually every trade agreement that has been destroying our middle class.”
As Trump’s speech reached its conclusion, he began thanking family and using his remaining time to take one last jab at Hillary Clinton.
“My opponent asks her supporters to recite a three-word loyalty pledge. It reads: ‘I’m with her,’” Trump said. “I choose to recite a different pledge. My pledge reads: ‘I’m with you - the American people.” Fitting enough, Trump’s final words were “We will make America great again.” We will see come November.