In his first speech Thursday night as the official Republican nominee for U.S. president, Donald Trump struck a tone of urgency regarding recent violent events in the U.S. and billed himself as a truth-teller in saying that under a Trump presidency the country would be one of “law and order.”
“Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. 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.
In the wide-ranging speech, Trump also hit on his plans to fight Islamic State and other terrorist organizations inside America’s borders and throughout the world. Trump cut against the Republican Party grain in calling for an end to multilateral trade deals, advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community and espousing a non-interventionist policy when dealing with international crises.
“As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBT citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. To protect us from terrorism, we need to focus on three things,” Trump said.
The three things Trump referred to include having “the best intelligence gathering operation in the world,” abandoning what he called the “failed policy of nation building and regime change that Hillary Clinton pushed in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria” and suspending immigration from “any nation that has been compromised by terrorism” until a proper vetting mechanism can be put in place.
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“I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people,” he said. “Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be.”
He focused his speech primarily on fighting against illegal immigration and crime in America, comparing the threat level of illegal immigrants to that of Islamic State. According to Trump, there are nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records who should have been deported still living in the U.S.
“The first task for our new administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their communities,” he said. “I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: when I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country.”
Trump listed a number of statistics showing an uptick in crime in several major cities, including Washington nearby and Baltimore, which Trump said have seen a rise in murders of 50 percent and 60 percent, respectively, over the last year.
“In the president’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office,” he said.
With regards to the recent targeted shootings of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Dallas, Texas, Trump called them “an attack on all Americans,” and blamed President Barack Obama for using “the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color.”
While Trump said several times he would restore law and order in the U.S., he provided very few details about how he plans to achieve that goal. He did say, though, that he is going to “work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done,” as well as “ensure that all of our kids are treated equally, and protected equally.”
“Every action I take, I will ask myself: does this make life better for young Americans in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Ferguson who have as much of a right to live out their dreams as any other child America?” Trump said.
Different speech style
Convention nomination speeches are generally seen as a time for candidates to put forth a hopeful and optimistic message, but Trump’s speech centered more on the fears of a tense nation facing challenges both at home and abroad.
Trump spoke generally about threats facing the U.S. and promised to “defeat the barbarians of ISIS.” He also painted a picture of politics in Washington as an insider’s game and promised to be a president of the people.
“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it,” he said.
Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, seemed to take on the role of optimist in introducing Trump, calling him “the people’s champion,” and telling personal anecdotes to make him an empathetic figure.
She told a story about her father and her playing with building blocks in his office at Trump Tower when she was younger, and said he taught her about work ethic and that everyone has a duty to work for a better world.
She called her father "famous but not well-known," and described him as a charismatic and caring man.
"I have seen him fight for his employees. Now, I am seeing him fight for his country," she said.