- Political novice exploited party divisions to win nomination
- Dissent at convention quashed after first-day disruption
Donald Trump, a real-estate developer, TV personality, and political novice, was formally nominated as the 2016 Republican presidential candidate Tuesday night in Cleveland after his campaign and party officials quashed the remnants of a movement to block his ascension.
The candidate’s home state of New York cast the votes that put Trump over the 1,237 delegates needed to claim the nomination, with his son Donald Trump Jr. announcing the state’s tally.
“It’s not a campaign anymore; it’s a movement,” Trump’s son said from the convention floor. “Speaking to real Americans, giving them a voice again, and it’s my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top in the delegate count tonight with 89 delegates. Congratulations, Dad, we love you!”
Trump’s other adult children, Eric, Ivanka, and Tiffany, were standing nearby and they all swayed as "New York, New York" blared over the speakers and attendees celebrated. Giant screens in the arena played images of fireworks, along with the words "Over the Top."
"Such a great honor to be the Republican Nominee for President of the United States. I will work hard and never let you down! AMERICA FIRST!" the nominee wrote in a message to his nearly 10 million Twitter followers. He is set to formally accept the nomination in a speech on the final night of the convention Thursday.
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who was the first member of the Senate to endorse Trump even as other prominent Republicans kept their distance, spoke earlier on behalf of the nomination.
Sessions called Trump a “singular leader who can get the country back on track. He has the strength, the courage and the will to get it done.”
Shortly after Trump’s selection was made final, his chosen running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence was formally put on the Republican ticket by voice vote.
Eric Holcomb, Pence’s lieutenant governor, put his name into nomination, citing the growth of the economy and technology sector in the Hoosier State and Pence’s ability to eliminate red tape.
“It is exactly that type of leadership our country is lacking, and exactly the type of leadership Americans will send to White House this fall with Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” Holcomb said. “These two leaders are not just prepared for winning, they are prepared to govern.”
As the convention moved through a roll call of the state delegations, with each reporting their allotment of delegates to the chair as a group, ballots also were cast for some of Trump’s vanquished primary rivals, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, though their names were never put in nomination.
Trump’s nomination follows party dissension that was displayed Monday at the convention, when delegates reacted angrily and some walked out when they could not get a roll-call vote on the party’s rules. They wanted the opportunity to voice their differences with the nominee and Republican National Committee guidelines that they say favor the party’s leaders and power brokers.
A 70-year-old billionaire who had never run for elected office before, Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015 by promising to “make America great again.”
Trump faced opposition inside and outside the party for calling for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, for inflammatory comments about ethnic minorities and women, and for complaints that he’s unqualified for the job. Yet Trump outlasted a field of more than a dozen Republican rivals by garnering 13.3 million votes in primaries and caucuses. At the convention, he and party officials managed to brush aside long-shot challenges to his nomination.
Anti-Trump forces tried to change party rules to allow delegates to vote their consciences regardless of how their state voted, but fell far short of that goal. Trump had argued that millions of Republicans have spoken and selected him to be their standard-bearer in a race against presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton in November.
House Speaker Paul Ryan initiated the roll-call vote, then handed over the proceedings to Republican National Committee staff, partially out of concern that delegates opposed to Trump’s nomination would use the vote to stage a protest, according to a Republican aide. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was in the wings to assist with procedural maneuvering.
With the outcome never in doubt, the threat of a protest from anti-Trump factions dissipated as the state-by-state tallies were announced with no noticeable disruptions. Confusion over the rules led to a last-minute challenge from delegates from Alaska, but that snafu only temporarily delayed the proceedings.
Ken Cope, a delegate from Midlothian, Texas, said an effort to protest Trump’s nomination would have wasted time and strengthened Clinton’s hand.
“We’ve got to come through this thing unified,” said Cope, who was a Cruz supporter in the primary and now says he backs Trump emphatically.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a one-time Trump rival for the nomination who previously endorsed Cruz, announced his state’s votes from the floor.
He said he pledged to support the nominee when the candidates debated in the same arena last August, and that Trump can win the Badger State -- which hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since 1984.
“It’s always an uphill battle in our state, but if he clearly defines the difference between Hillary and him and how he’ll make every-day Americans’ lives better, he’ll win,” Walker said in an interview.
Democrats gather at their national convention next Monday in Philadelphia, where Clinton is set to be formally nominated. Both candidates have already engaged the general-election fight, exchanging barbs and focusing attacks on each other, as polls indicated a narrow lead for Clinton at this stage of the campaign.
The parade of speakers on the first night of the convention laced into Clinton as much as they lauded Trump. She and the Obama administration were expected to be the targets of many of the addresses on Tuesday night as well.