Buoyed by a grand Las Vegas-style entrance at his party’s national convention, Donald Trump hopes to bolster Republican Party unity when congressional leaders take the stage on a day focused on the US economy.
Trump, whose name is to be formally offered for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, saw the opening day of his convention on Monday turn from the raucous to the sublime.
Trump backers faced down a revolt from Republican delegates opposed to him, and in the end Trump’s wife Melania offered a powerful testimonial to her husband, her voice flavored with the accent of her native Slovenia.
“Let’s all come together in a national campaign like no other,” she said to cheers after her husband stepped on stage to introduce her, his image silhouetted against a misty white backdrop.
Tuesday’s theme is “Make America Work Again.”
Trump and his presidential ambitions are to receive the blessing of House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, who are to speak along with Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., daughter Tiffany and two former rivals who support him, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
It will be Christie’s first major public appearance since Trump chose Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate, instead of Christie, leaving Christie deeply disappointed.
Both Ryan and McConnell need Trump to do well in the Nov. 8 election in order to preserve Republican majorities in Congress. They also want to ensure the defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton, who leads most opinion polls as Americans consider a matchup between two candidates largely seen in an unfavorable light.
The convention delegates gathered in this city on Lake Erie are also to hear speakers talk up how Trump wants to trigger more economic growth. The New York businessman touts his business record as a real estate developer and has proposed some protectionist trade policies aimed at preventing job outsourcing.
Part of the goal of the convention is to portray Trump in the most favorable light possible, softening the image of a candidate whose anti-immigrant rhetoric has factored heavily in Americans’ views of him.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in a fiery speech on Monday night, said Trump is not being treated fairly by the news media.
“You deserve to know this about your next president. He’s been a great father, father-in-law, grandfather and friend to me, my wife Judith and my family for almost 30 years. I know him personally, and this is a very good and decent man, and he will be a great president,” Giuliani said.
It was up to retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn to take the fight to Clinton, leading the crowd in chants of “lock her up” in prison for her record as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.
More dueling rallies and marches were expected for Tuesday, but after a first day of peaceful demonstrations by small, orderly crowds, Cleveland organizers had cause to hope that fears of violent, disruptive protests might have been overblown.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams described the few occasions where police on bicycles needed to disrupt protesters on Monday as “nothing that out of hand.”