Republican National Convention garners much attention despite controversy

By Katherine Briante
August 8, 2016


On the eve of July 18, 2016, Cleveland Ohio was a whirlwind of activity. For the next four days Cleveland would be center stage, politically, for the Republican National Convention.

The site of the 2016 Republican National Convention- the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Creative Commons.

Since, by that point, Donald Trump was the only remaining Republican candidate and he had already chosen his running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, there was not a lot of suspense at this convention. This allowed viewers to relax somewhat and simply watch the convention unfold. However, from the very first night there was controversy.

According to a Washington Post article there were a number of speakers who garnered a lot of attention for their strong words on immigration and their attacks on Hillary Clinton. “My son’s life was stolen at the hands of an illegal alien,” Mary Ann Mendoza, mother of fallen police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza, said. “It’s time we had an administration that cares more about Americans than about illegals. A vote for Hillary is putting all our children’s lives at risk.”

Another woman, Patricia Smith, whose son died in the Benghazi attacks spoke at the convention as well. “For all of this loss, for all of this grief, for all of the cynicism the tragedy in Benghazi has wrought upon America, I blame Hillary Clinton,” she said. “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”

The big controversy of the night however, came when Trump’s wife, Melania, introduced him. It appeared that she had plagiarized a part of a Michelle Obama speech from 2008. Even though, soon after, Meredith McIver, an employee of the Trump Organization claimed responsibility for the plagiarism, it was still enough to cause a minor scandal.

The second night was fairly run-of-the-mill with Trump’s children Tiffany and Donald Jr. speaking about their father and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey gave a very well-received speech against Hillary Clinton.

The third night, however, the controversy started up again.

Ted Cruz, a former Republican nominee, gave a speech that was not well received at all. Instead of endorsing Trump like everyone assumed he would do, he told people to vote their conscience and to vote “for candidates who share your principles, up and down the ballot.”

The crowed booed him off of the stage while a number of people were chanting “Endorse Trump.”

July 21 was the fourth and final night of the convention, the night that most people were looking forward to, the night when Trump would officially accept the Republican nomination for President.

Donald Trump speaking at the Republic National Convention. Creative Commons.

He was introduced by his oldest daughter Ivanka who of course spoke about her father, but also spoke about women’s rights, not something often discussed on a Republican platform.

Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal, also spoke on a controversial subject for the Republican party: gay rights. He urged the people there to accept the LGBTQ community and Trump later on agreed with him.

In his acceptance speech, Trump spoke for over an hour. His speech contained promises and statistics that served their purpose to excite and rile up the crowd. His speech was modeled after Richard Nixon’s nomination acceptance speech in 1968.

According to NPR, “Nixon, at the time, cataloged the current ills of the nation — Vietnam, riots in the urban core, crime, disrespect for authority — and laid them all at the feet of Lyndon Johnson, who had been president since 1963.”

Trumps speech was similar, and he put the blame on Clinton. He said that Americans would feel safe again once he was in office. He said that ISIS would be quickly dealt with, that he would create more jobs, revitalize industries and build a large wall along the US-Mexico border.

With his acceptance the Republican National Convention came to a close. Even though this convention was riddled with controversy, the convention achieved its goal. The Republican party has its official nominee and the party is more united, ready to start the race to the White House.

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Katherine Briante

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