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Trump Gets His Day at Republican Convention

  • Chris Hannas

Thursday is Donald Trump's day at the Republican National Convention.

After three days of praise from some of the party's biggest names and his formal nomination as the Republican presidential nominee, Trump will give his address in Cleveland, Ohio. The Republicans have branded the final day of the convention under the theme "Make America One Again."

Unity has been a key focus for Republicans after their contentious primary season battle that ended with Trump as their pick to go up against Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election.

One-time rivals Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and Ben Carson put aside their previous opposition and used their convention speeches to back Trump. But on Wednesday one of the last Republicans to drop out of the race, Ted Cruz, drew boos for refusing to endorse Trump.

Ted Cruz takes the stage at the Republican National Convention, July 20, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA)

Ted Cruz takes the stage at the Republican National Convention, July 20, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA)

"To those listening, please, don't stay home in November," Cruz said. "Stand, and speak and vote your conscience. Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution."

A short time later, those representing the state of New York chanted over Cruz as he spoke, demanding he announce his backing of their nominee.

"I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation," Cruz responded. The rest of his speech was difficult to hear over the noise of the crowd. Boos turned to cheers again as Cruz walked off stage just as Trump appeared elsewhere in the arena.

Marco Rubio addresses the Republican National Convention, July 20, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA)

Marco Rubio addresses the Republican National Convention, July 20, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA)

Trump addressed the situation later on Twitter.

"Wow, Ted Cruz got booed off the stage, didn't honor the pledge! I saw his speech two hours early but let him speak anyway. No big deal!"

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich cast Cruz's comments as a call to vote for Trump.

Delegates wave signs as Trump comes on stage at the Republican National Covention, July 20, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA)

Delegates wave signs as Trump comes on stage at the Republican National Covention, July 20, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA)

"Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution. In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution," Gingrich said.

Gingrich, as well as Rubio in a video played at the convention, used their remarks to also sharply criticize Clinton.

"We cannot keep in place the people and the systems that have brought us to this point and that lie to us every single day about the threat," Gingrich said. "That is why every American should be terrified at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency."

Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Trump's pick for vice president, had the main speaking slot Wednesday and cast himself as a personality who balances the ticket with Trump.

"He is a man known for a large personality, a colorful style and lots of charisma, and so I guess he was just looking for some balance on the ticket," he said.

Pence also lobbed his own criticism at their Democratic challenger.

Mike Pence delivers his acceptance speech to be the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee, in Cleveland, July 20, 2016.

Mike Pence delivers his acceptance speech to be the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee, in Cleveland, July 20, 2016.

"At the very moment when America is crying out for something new and different, the other party has answered with a stale agenda and the most predictable of names," he said. "People in both parties are restless for change, ready to break free of old patterns in Washington and Democrats are about to anoint someone who represents everything this country is tired of."

Trump gave an interview to the New York Times on Wednesday in which he said he will prioritize the country's needs and make sure NATO allies "have fulfilled their obligations" to the U.S. before deciding whether to come to their aid.

"We are going to take care of this country first before we worry about everyone else in the world," he said.

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, cheers as Mike Pence accepts the vice presidential nomination, in Cleveland, July 20, 2016.

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, cheers as Mike Pence accepts the vice presidential nomination, in Cleveland, July 20, 2016.

Trump pledged to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico unless they negotiate new terms that include discouraging U.S. companies from moving their operations out of the country. He also said the U.S. should "fix its own mess" before pressuring other governments.

"When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don't think we are a very good messenger," Trump told the Times.

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