Trump touted as right man for the times

Re­pub­li­can con­ven­tion opens

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - JULIE PACE AND ALAN FRAM

Repub­li­cans cast Don­ald Trump as the right man for tur­bu­lent times as they opened their pres­i­den­tial con­ven­tion against a back­drop of un­set­tling sum­mer vi­o­lence and deep dis­con­tent within their own party.

For Trump, the con­ven­tion was also an op­por­tu­nity to as­sure party lead­ers and vot­ers alike that there’s a kinder gen­tler side to what many see as merely a brash busi­ness­man.

Trump’s fam­ily is play­ing a star­ring role, which be­gan Monday night with an evening speech by his wife, Melania Trump, who has kept a low pro­file through­out the cam­paign.

“If you want some­one to fight for you and your coun­try, I can as­sure you, he is the guy,” she said in her high­est pro­file ap­pear­ance of the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Her hus­band made a brief, but showy en­trance, into the con­ven­tion hall to in­tro­duce her, emerg­ing from shad­ows and declar­ing to cheers,

“We’re go­ing to win, we’re go­ing to win so big.”

Ahead of Trump’s ar­rival, tu­mult broke out on the con­ven­tion floor af­ter party of­fi­cials adopted rules by a shouted voice vote, a move aimed at blunt­ing anti-Trump forces seek­ing to de­rail his nomination. Del­e­gates erupted in com­pet­ing chants in a tele­vised dis­pute Re­pub­li­can lead­ers had hoped to avoid.

“I have no idea what’s go­ing on right now. This is sur­real,” said Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who had helped lead the ef­forts to force a state-by-state roll call vote on the rules.

Trump hoped the chaos would be lit­tle more than a foot­note in the four-day con­ven­tion. De­spite per­sis­tent party di­vi­sions, his cam­paign is con­fi­dent Repub­li­cans will come to­gether be­hind their shared dis­dain for Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Con­ven­tion speak­ers planned to re­lent­lessly paint the pre­sump­tive Demo­cratic nom­i­nee as en­trenched in a sys­tem that fails to keep Amer­i­cans safe.

“Hil­lary Clin­ton can­not be trusted. Her judg­ment and char­ac­ter are not suited to be sit­ting in the most pow­er­ful of­fice in the world,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

The con­ven­tion comes amid a wrench­ing pe­riod of vi­o­lence and un­rest, both in the United States and around the world. On the eve of the open­ing, three po­lice of­fi­cers were killed in Ba­ton Rouge, Louisiana, the city where a black man was killed by po­lice two weeks ago.

Re­pub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee chair Reince Priebus wel­comed del­e­gates with a brief ac­knowl­edge­ment of the “trou­bling times” swirling out­side. The chair called for a mo­ment of si­lence out of re­spect for “gen­uine he­roes” in law en­force­ment.

In a mat­ter of weeks, Amer­i­cans have seen deadly po­lice shoot­ings, a shock­ing am­bush of po­lice in Texas and es­ca­lat­ing racial ten­sions, not to men­tion a failed coup in Turkey and a gruesome Bastille Day at­tack in Nice, France.

Trump has seized on the in­sta­bil­ity, cast­ing re­cent events as a di­rect re­sult of failed lead­er­ship by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and by Clin­ton, who spent four years in the ad­min­is­tra­tion as sec­re­tary of state. But Trump has been vague about how he would put the na­tion on a dif­fer­ent course.

Cam­paign chair Paul Manafort said Trump would “even­tu­ally” out­line pol­icy specifics but not at the con­ven­tion.

Clin­ton was a fre­quent tar­get of the eclec­tic group of law­mak­ers, mil­i­tary service mem­bers and en­ter­tain­ers head­lin­ing open­ing night of the con­ven­tion.

They in­cluded Ernst of Iowa and Jeff Ses­sions of Alabama, im­mi­gra­tion ad­vo­cates and a wo­man whose son was killed in the Beng­hazi at­tack that oc­curred dur­ing Clin­ton’s ten­ure at the State Depart­ment.

“I blame Hil­lary Clin­ton per­son­ally for the death of my son,” Pat Smith said in an emo­tional speech. “If Hil­lary Clin­ton can’t give us the truth, why should we give her the pres­i­dency.”

Also tak­ing the stage were ac­tor Scott Baio and Wil­lie Robert­son, star of “Duck Dy­nasty”, who had an Amer­i­can flag ban­dana wrapped around his head.

“No mat­ter who you are, Don­ald Trump will have your back,” Robert­son said, open­ing the pro­gram.

DA­MON WIN­TER, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Au­di­ence mem­bers take part in the Re­pub­li­can con­ven­tion Monday.

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