RNC 2016: In tough law and order speech, Donald Trump will pledge to crush enemies abroad and criminals at home

Leaked hours before he was due to speak, the draft suggests a leader putting tough-guy credentials first

David Usborne
Cleveland, Ohio
Friday 22 July 2016 00:15 BST
Trump accompanied by Ivanka inspects the arena stage before his address
Trump accompanied by Ivanka inspects the arena stage before his address (Getty)

Donald Trump will deliver a mostly hard-edged and dark speech accepting his party’s presidential nomination in Cleveland tonight pledging to focus on restoring “law and order” and to be resolute and tough in handling security challenges at home and overseas.

“Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities,” Mr Trump will declare, according to excerpts released several hours ahead of time by his own campaign.

“I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.”

It was an address that was less a celebration of his stunning rise to conquer the Republican Party and more an attempt to play into arguably what has taken shape as his most appealing trait to his supporters: his strength and directness and his disdain for political correctness.

"It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation,” the draft said. “I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.”

The decision to circulate the excerpts appeared to have been taken after full drafts of the speech surfaced in several publications late in the afternoon apparently after a leak or at least the breaking by someone of an embargo.

With such high stakes for a nominee on the climactic night of their party’s convention, it is highly unusual for any early glimpse of the speech to surface. The fact that some journalists were walking around the streets of Cleveland with drafts in their pockets a full six hours before he was due to take the stage appeared to speak once more to the chaotic nature of the campaign.

Mr Trump also laid the blame in his address for “many of the disasters unfolding today,” on the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton and said they will persist if Americans err and vote her into the Oval Office instead of him.

“As long as we are led by politicians who will not put 'America First,' then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect,” Trump says in the excerpts. He was due to be introduced to the delegates by his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.

While heavy on foreign policy and security issues, Mr Trump’s speech also appeared to include some passages dedicated to the country’s faltering economic fortunes.

“Middle-income Americans and businesses will experience profound relief, and taxes will be greatly simplified for everyone. America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world,” if he becomes president, he was to say. “Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country.”

And he played up his other claim to political relevance - that he and not the political elite get the needs of ordinary Americans.

“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves. Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it. I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens.”

And at the start, the nominee was to thread some message of compassion through what otherwise was one of a take-no-prisoners approach towards criminals and America’s enemies.

“Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace,” he was to say, according to a full draft put up by Politico on its website. But then he went on: “We will be a country of generosity and warmth.”

And he was to close with an uplifting promise to American families, tens of millions of whom were expected to watch the address and the ensuing balloon drop in the Quicken Loans Arenas from their living rooms.

“So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams for their future, I say these words to you tonight:I’m with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you.”

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