With the general election looming, the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio is officially underway.
On the first night of the RNC, which runs until the July 21, delegates looked forward to speeches bolstering Trump as the candidate of inclusion. This comes in light of a barrage of press and protesters blistering the presumptive nominee as racially divisive.
Among the noted speakers were: Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty Fame, former Governor and Trump opponent Rick Perry, Pat Smith, Mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith, Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City and Melania Trump, Businesswoman and wife of Donald Trump.
“Donald Trump wants our country to move forward in the most positive of ways. Everyone wants change and Donald is the only one who can deliver it,” said Trump about her husband. “He will not be satisfied with stagnation and wants prosperity for all Americans. We need new programs to help the poor and opportunities to challenge the young. My husband’s experience exemplifies growth.”
The key message of the night was the security of the nation with much of the rhetoric aimed at the recent attacks across the country and the world by extremist religious groups. Supporters even held signs reading “Make America Safe Again” as speakers focused on the Benghazi attack, shootings across the country perpetrated by IS sympathizers, lapses in immigration security and a controversial nuclear treaty with Iran.
This was underscored by an impassioned address by former New York Mayor and former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani which took aim at the Obama Administration for failing to tow a hard line against terrorist activity.
“For the past seven months, there have been five major terrorist attacks on us and our allies. We must not be afraid to define our enemy. It is Islamic extremist terrorism and I did not say all of Islam or even most of Islam,” Giuliani said.
A more conciliatory tone was struck by Melania Trump, the wife of the business mogul turned presidential candidate. Amid stump speech fodder, the former model spoke to the person few ever knew and painted a portrait of a husband and father. Trump called her husband a man of action that was ready for the Office of President.
Her speech came at a peculiar time as the spouse of the presumptive candidate often closes out the convention rather than appears on the first day. Yet this is not the first time Trump has spoken publicly in support of her husband even going as far as outlining her priorities should she ever be the First Lady of the United States.
She noted she would continue her long-time advocacy of children and women with her work with the Boys and Girls Club of New York, as a Goodwill Ambassador and with the American Red Cross. She wrapped up her comments noting that now was a time to elect a man of change ready to see policies through to the end.
The emotional appeal for a strong Commander-in-Chief was made all the more emphatic with speeches from former members of the military and the family of fallen soldiers. Among them were John Tiegen and Mark Geist, both Marine Corps veterans who fought in the Battle of Benghazi. The night also included remarks by Karen Vaughn, Mother of a fallen U.S. Navy SEAL.
“I asked Hillary Clinton why my son is dead and I’m still waiting. When I call the State Department, they will not speak to me as I am not a member of the immediate family,” said Pat Smith, Mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith. “Hillary Clinton is a woman, a mother and grandmother of two and [so am I]. I wonder how she can do this to any American family. Donald Trump is everything Hillary is not.”
As day two of the convention gets ready begin Tuesday, those loyal to the #NeverTrump movement are still hoping for a split delegate vote. Only time will tell if in the next three days, it will be a united Republican Party.