Trump accepts Republican nomination, vows to put “America first”

Trump accepts Republican nomination, vows to put “America first”

Donald Trump accused Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of a legacy of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness” as U.S. secretary of state and vowed to be tough on crime and illegal immigrants in a speech on Thursday (July 21) accepting the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump’s 75-minute speech was designed to set the tone for the general election campaign against Clinton, an answer to Republicans who say the best way he can unify the divided party is to detail why the Democrat should not be elected on Nov. 8.

The New York businessman, who has never held elected office, filled his speech with some of the bravado he used to win the Republican nomination over 16 rivals, punctuating his rhetorical points by waving an index finger.

“We must choose to believe in America. History is watching us now. We don’t have much time but history is watching. It’s waiting to see if we will rise to the occasion, and if we will show the whole world that America is still free and independent and strong. I am asking for your support tonight that I can be your champion in the White House and I will be your champion,” Trump said.

The acceptance speech by Trump, 70, closed out a four-day convention that underscored his struggle to heal fissures in the Republican Party over his anti-illegal-immigrant rhetoric and concerns about his temperament.

Trump and his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence walked out on stage with their family members as the crowd was cheering and a festive balloons and confetti were flying over the convention floor.

The event was boycotted by many big-name establishment Republicans, such as 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and members of the Bush family that gave the party its last two presidents.

Trump presented a bleak view of America under siege from illegal immigrants, threatened by Islamic State militants, hindered by crumbling infrastructure and weakened by unfair trade deals and race-related violence.

Trump took positions in conflict with traditional Republican policies. He said he would avoid multinational trade deals but instead pursue agreements with individual countries. He would renegotiate the NAFTA trade accord linking the United States, Canada and Mexico. He would penalize companies that outsource jobs and then export their foreign-made products back into the United States.

Trump needed a strong performance on Thursday night to improve his chances of getting a boost in opinion polls as Democrats prepare for their own, more scripted convention next week in Philadelphia.

In a contest that pits two politicians viewed as unfavorable by large segments of the American people, Trump also accused Clinton, 68, of being the puppet of big business, elite media and major donors who want to preserve the current political system.

The prevailing narrative at the Cleveland convention has not been about Trump’s positions, but dominated instead by the failure of he party’s various factions to unite behind Trump.