CLEVELAND: After vanquishing 16 party rivals, warring with much of the Republican establishment and provoking controversy at the party convention, Donald Trump on Tuesday secured the party’s 2016 nomination for the White House.
His son, Donald Trump Jr., announced the support of New York, their home state, during a roll-call vote at the Republican National Convention, ensuring Trump had the majority of delegates – 1,237 – needed to contest the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election.
With three of Trump’s other children at his side, the son said: “It is my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top in the delegate count tonight.”
The state-by-state vote to put Trump’s name in nomination took place a day after opponents staged a failed attempt to force a vote opposing his candidacy, and after a speech by his wife, Melania, drew accusations of plagiarism.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, an early backer of Trump, placed the New York businessman’s name in nomination, calling him “a warrior and a winner.” U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the country’s highest-ranking elected Republican, ran the meeting and launched the nominating process.
Despite threats of another chaotic day at the Quicken Loans basketball arena in Cleveland, anti-Trump Republican U.S. Senator Mike Lee said efforts by some delegates to block Trump’s nomination appeared finished.
“I don’t see any way around it,” the Utah lawmaker told Reuters.
Trump’s campaign has been marked by frequent controversy over his rhetoric on Muslims, Hispanics, illegal immigration and trade, alarming many in the Republican establishment.
Party officials are hoping to use the four-day convention, which began on Monday, to smooth out some of his rough edges and present him as a job creator and a strong hand to combat security threats at home and abroad.
Republicans were also set on Tuesday to place in nomination Indiana Governor Mike Pence, 57, Trump’s choice for his vice presidential running mate.
Speaker after speaker on Monday took aim at presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, presenting her as out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans and the inheritor of President Barack Obama’s “oppressive” administration.
The theme of Tuesday’s convention was “Make America Work Again,” and speakers were to take aim at Obama’s record on the economy.
After the vote of the states, Trump was due to receive the blessing on stage of other senior Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Both Ryan and McConnell need Trump to do well in the November election as they seek to preserve Republican majorities in Congress.
Trump, a 70-year-old real estate developer and former reality TV star who has never held elective office, trails Clinton, 68, in many opinion polls after a bruising Republican primary season.
Trump narrowed his deficit against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to 7 percentage points from 15 points late last week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
Clinton was due to be formally nominated at the Democratic convention next week in Philadelphia.
In Melania Trump’s roughly 15-minute address on Monday night, a small section closely resembled a part of Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008 in support of her husband, Barack Obama, who was then campaigning for his first term as president.
In that section, Melania Trump, a Slovenian-born jewelry designer and former model, talked about passing on to the next generation the value of hard work that she inherited from her parents and said “the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”
In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Donald Trump himself made no mention of the accusations about plagiarism, saying simply: “It was truly an honor to introduce my wife, Melania Trump last night. Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible. Very proud!”
Security forces were on high alert in Cleveland. Wright State University, a public university near Dayton, Ohio, said on Tuesday it had decided not to host the first U.S. presidential debate scheduled for Sept. 26, citing mounting costs and security concerns. The event will now be held at Hofstra University in New York. – Reuters