Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination for president in a lengthy, dark speech casting himself as the only saviour of an America in decline.
“I’m with you, the America people,” Trump said.”I am your voice.”
Addressing the Republican National Convention audience in Cleveland on Thursday, Trump cast his candidacy as a contrast between establishment “political correctness” and his unique brand of isolationist populism.
“No longer can we rely on those same people in the media, and politics,
who will say anything to keep a rigged system in place,” Trump said.
“History is watching us now. It’s waiting to see if we will rise to the occasion, and if we will show the whole world that America is still free and independent and strong.”
Trump’s acceptance speech focused heavily on supporting law enforcement, referencing recent shooting of police officers, as well as recent terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California and Orlando, Florida. The Republican nominee promised to appoint “the best prosecutors and law enforcement officers.”
“In this race for the White House, I am the law and order candidate,” Trump said.
When a protester interrupted the Republican nominee midway through his speech, he briefly veered off-script.
“How great are our police?” Trump said, prompting one of the loudest applauses of the night.
Trump also returned to some of his time-tested themes, reiterating his ban on immigration from countries that have “been compromised by terrorism,” a policy that the Republican nominee proposed after previously advocating for a ban on all Muslims entering the US.
But the real-estate mogul spent considerable time criticising President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Republican presidential nominee said that Obama regretted appointing Clinton secretary of state, criticising her foreign policy legacy in countries like Libya and Syria that have been plagued by civil war.
“I am certain it is a decision he truly regrets. Her bad instinct and her bad judgment,” Trump said.
He added: “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: Death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.”
Trump also attempted to cast Clinton as a representative of corporate interests, asserting that wealthy donors were attempting to influence the former secretary of state by donating money to her campaign.
“They are throwing money at her because they have total control over everything she does. She is their puppet, and they pull the strings,” Trump said.
The crowd’s enthusiasm in the hall occasionally boiled over, interrupting the real-estate magnate himself.
After Trump criticised Clinton’s character and honesty, the crowd began chanting “Lock her up!”
Trump paused, acknowledging the crowd’s chanting.
“Let’s defeat her in November,” Trump replied.
Clinton’s campaign criticised the speech as relentlessly negative, and promised a “positive vision for the future” at next week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
“Tonight, Donald Trump painted a dark picture of an America in decline,” Campaign Chair John Podesta said in a statement.
The statement continued:
“And his answer — more fear, more division, more anger, more hate — was yet another reminder that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be President of the United States. He offered no real solutions to help working families get ahead or to keep our country safe, just more prejudice and paranoia. America is better than this. America is better than Donald Trump. Next week in Philadelphia, Democrats will focus on issues, not anger. We’ll offer a positive vision for the future based on lifting America up, not tearing Americans down.”
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