A fractious Republican convention wrapped up Thursday with Donald Trump accepting the party’s White House nomination. Here are some key moments from the four-day gathering in Cleveland.
When the convention was gavelled in on Monday, it didn’t take long for tensions over Donald Trump’s nomination to bubble over.
What should have been a routine floor vote on arcane party rules erupted into a public revolt by anti-Trump Republicans.
Having lost the primary and several behind-the-scenes battles the “Never Trump” movement showed it was not going to roll over and die -- even if it meant a damaging public brawl.
“We deserve to be heard, this is the people’s convention!” said Diana Shores, a delegate from Virginia, while pro-Trump delegates tried to drown out the rebels with shouts of “Shame! Shame!”
Echoes of Michelle
Melania Trump’s debut in the political big league Monday was a speech full of earnest warmth, except the words weren’t entirely hers.
It transpired that Trump’s third wife, an ex-model, had included sections from a speech given by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2008.
The Trump campaign’s ham-fisted response -- denying allegations of plagiarism, dismissing them as a media-generated controversy, then tacit admission, then having a speechwriter own up -- only fuelled the scandal and made Team Trump look inept.
Trump’s kids had less problematic appearances. A string of sons and daughters gave the convention a family feel -- with the tycoon’s favourite daughter Ivanka proving a powerful surrogate on the final night when she painted him as a compassionate champion of women’s rights.
‘Vote your conscience’
When Texas Senator Ted Cruz walked onto the convention stage at prime time Wednesday, Team Trump had some hope that a unifying endorsement might be in the offing.
Fat chance. Cruz, popular on the right of the party, not only declined to endorse but actively encouraged his conservative backers not to vote for the mogul. “Vote your conscience,” he said.
The Trump campaign described it as no big deal and “classless”, whatever the political fallout, it is already clear that Trump’s running mate was collateral damage.
Mike Pence’s speech accepting the vice presidential nomination took place outside primetime because Cruz ran well over his allotted speaking time and thoroughly eclipsed Pence’s moment in the sun.
‘Lock her up!’
If Republicans in Cleveland agree on nothing else, it was that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is bad.
Speakers lined up to denounce Clinton for the deaths of their loved ones and for putting national security at risk. On Tuesday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, went as far as convening a mock trial, seeking to convict the former first lady and secretary of state.
“Is she guilty, or not guilty?” he asked half a dozen times to the assembled delegates. The response: “Guilty!”
Adding to the raised-pitchforks tone, Republicans unleashed full-throated chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!”
Thursday night, an unsmiling Donald Trump struck a martial tone in accepting the Republican presidential nomination, vowing to restore security to an America he sees as surrounded by danger.
“I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon, and I mean very soon, come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored,” he promised.
For one hour and 17 minutes, candidate Trump reasserted many of the nationalistic themes of his campaign, often shouting his lines to the roar of a packed convention hall.
It was the most important speech of his political career and he delivered it almost exactly as it played across a teleprompter, rarely ad-libbing.
At 11.34 pm, he concluded with a “God bless you, and good night. I love you,” and 125,000 red, white and blue balloons floated down onto the stage. Outside a burst of fireworks marked the end of the Republican jamboree.