The art of the coronation has taken something of a beating at the Republican National Convention. Nevertheless, Donald Trump now has the crown — and a final chance to summon unity from the party’s restive ranks in the ritual’s closing days.
The roll call of the states on Tuesday night delivered Trump the nomination, which he welcomed from afar in a videotaped message saying: “This is a movement, but we have to go all the way.”
US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan announced that Trump had amassed 1,725 delegates, more than triple the number of his nearest competitor, the fruits of a political phenomenon without parallel in modern times.
Day 3 of the convention is to see two conservative stalwarts on the stage: Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a favorite of evangelicals; and the nominee’s most tenacious challenger in the primaries, Senator Ted Cruz, the man Trump used to call “Lyin” Ted.”
Pence is heartily on board the Trump bandwagon; Cruz is not yet, nor are many of his supporters in Cleveland.
The senator’s scheduled prime-time address will be keenly watched as a barometer of the party’s fighting spirit as the GOP turns to the fall campaign against Democrat president hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton, who accepts her nomination next week.
Trump, the in-your-face outsider, won at the cost of alienating many traditional Republicans both on the right and in the center, and the divide has spilled over into the convention, though without overwhelming it.
The roll call unfolded largely according to plan after a day dominated by unwelcome attention over passages from an eight-year-old Michelle Obama speech that made their way into Melania Trump’s address to the convention, almost word for word, the night before.
Tuesday night, speaker after speaker stepped forward to denounce Clinton, none to greater effect with the crowd than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
The governor, a dropout in the GOP presidential race who ended up on the short list for Trump’s running mate, energized the hall as he ticked through numerous accusations of wrongdoing against Clinton and implored delegates to shout “guilty.”
They not only did that, but interrupted him with shouts of “Lock her up.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the crowd scandal follows Hillary Rodham Clinton and former US president Bill Clinton “like flies.”
Two of Trump’s children testified to his character.
“For my father, impossible is just the starting point,” said Donald Trump Junior, eldest of the nominee’s five children.
Tiffany Trump, 22, said her dad is a “natural-born encourager” and she recalled the notes he wrote on her report cards.
On the convention floor, US Representative Mark Meadows was feeling the fighting spirit, telling reporters: “It’s all starting to gel.”
Not so for Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh, a leader of the outmaneuvered anti-Trump contingent, who said it is time to “cancel the convention, stop the sham,” and who warned Trump might run into a “show of displeasure” in his acceptance speech ending the convention tonight.
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