Declaring America in crisis, Donald Trump pledged to cheering Republicans and still-skeptical voters Thursday night that as president he will restore the safety they fear they’re losing, strictly curb immigration and save the nation from a Hillary Clinton record of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”
Confidently addressing the finale of his party’s less-than-smooth national convention, the billionaire businessman declared the nation’s problems too staggering to be fixed within the confines of traditional politics.
A political novice, he completed the greatest step yet in his improbable rise, accepting the GOP nomination to face Clinton, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state.
Trump’s address on the closing night of the Republican convention marked his highest-profile opportunity yet to show voters he’s prepared for the presidency. He set aside much of his usual bravado.
As the crowd, fiercely opposed to Clinton, broke out in its oft-used chant of, “Lock her up,” he waved them off, and instead declared, “Let’s defeat her in November.”
He offered himself as a powerful ally of those who feel Washington has left them behind.
“I’m with you, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you,” he declared. “I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves.”
He accused Clinton, his far-more-experienced Democratic rival, of utterly lacking the good judgment to serve in the White House and as the military’s commander in chief.
“This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness,” he said. “But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy.”
Trump accused Clinton of committing “terrible, terrible crimes.” He said Clinton’s use of a personal email and mishandling of classified information while secretary of state amounted to a new level of corruption.
Trump also accused Clinton of “trading access and favors to special interests and foreign powers.”
He accused America’s first black president of dividing the nation along racial lines.
The Republican presidential nominee called President Barack Obama’s rhetoric on race “irresponsible.”
Trump said Obama “has used the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color.”
In a direct appeal to Americans shaken by a summer of violence at home and around the world, Trump promised that if he takes office in January, “safety will be restored.”
As Trump moved into the general election campaign, he stuck to the controversial proposals of his primary campaign, including building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border and suspending immigration from nations “compromised by terrorism.”
But in a nod to a broader swath of Americans, he vowed to protect gays and lesbians from violence and oppression, and said he would ensure that young people in predominantly black cities “have as much of a right to live out their dreams as any other child in America.”
Trump said his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border is a way of taking a hard line on immigration laws – and he says that approach is “considerate and compassionate to everyone.”
Trump’s immigration proposal is a driving force in his presidential campaign. But it’s alienated many Hispanic voters and has been called unworkable even some in the GOP.
Trump said his tough approach will stop the cycle of human smuggling and “peace will be restored by enforcing the rules.”
The candidate also outlined his approach to fighting terrorism.
He said he’ll create the “best intelligence gathering operation in the world.”
The GOP presidential nominee said he’ll also abandon what he calls the “nation building” and “regime change” policies pushed by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state.
Trump didn’t mention former President George W. Bush, who led a war to oust Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Trump’s third focus is working with allies such as Israel – and he vowed to block Syrian refugees from entering the country.
He backtracked from his criticism of NATO.
Trump said the alliance has taken a step in the “right direction” in deciding to focus more on terrorism.
A day earlier, he said in a New York Times interview that he might not come to the defense of NATO nations that failed to meet their financial obligations.
He had promised to describe “major, major” tax cuts. But his economic proposals Thursday night were vague, centering on unspecified plans to create millions of jobs. He promised a “simplified” tax system for the middle class and businesses, fewer regulations and renegotiation of trade deals that he says have put working class Americans at a disadvantage.
“These are the forgotten men and women of our country,” he said. “People who work hard but no longer have a voice.”
Trump said he’ll turn what he believes are bad trade deals into great ones for the United States. And he said he’ll never sign a trade agreement that hurts workers or diminishes freedom.
The Republican presidential nominee also said he won’t let U.S. companies relocate to other countries – laying off workers in the process - “without consequences.”
Trump said he’ll negotiate deals with individual countries, rather than complex agreements involving many nations.
He took aim at President Barack Obama for basing his trade policy on negotiating multinational agreements in Asia and Europe.
Trump is breaking sharply with his party on trade. The GOP in the past has supported free trade agreements.
A woman waving a banner started yelling more than 20 minutes into the Trump’s remarks.
The GOP presidential nominee paused for nearly a minute while waiting for police to remove her. The convention crowd chanted, “USA!” for much of the time as Trump stood silently at the podium. When Trump began speaking again, he said: “How great are out police?” as authorities took the protester out of the arena
Trump was introduced by his daughter Ivanka who announced a childcare policy proposal that the campaign had not mentioned before.
“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put in place at a time when women weren’t a significant portion of the workplace, and he will focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all,” she said.