Businessman vows to restore law and order and vanquish threats abroad as he formally accepts presidential nomination.
Cleveland, Ohio – Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has officially accepted the Republican party presidential nomination, promising safety and security to Americans and suggesting the world they live in is more dangerous than ever before.
Referencing recent attacks, he promised law and order would be restored as he addressed delegates and supporters in the US city of Cleveland for more than an hour.
“The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored,” he said, without elaborating.
“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.”
In the longest acceptance speech at a party convention since former President Bill Clinton’s to his Democratic party in 1996, Trump reiterated a pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico, saying it was needed to stop “gangs, violence, drugs from pouring into our communities.
“Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens,” he said.
Trump said the Republican National Convention was being held at what he called “a moment of crisis” that included “attacks on police, terrorism in our cities”.
The property mogul linked domestic events with foreign policy by pledging that he was the candidate who would keep US citizens safe from harm both at home and abroad.
In a speech frequently interrupted by cheers and standing ovations, he said – in claims challenged by fact-checkers and opponents – that when presumptive Democratic party candidate Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, Egypt was calm, Iraq was recovering from violence, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group was not on the map, and Iran was under sanctions.
“Iraq is in chaos, Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons, Syria is engulfed in a civil war, and a refugee crisis now threatens the West,” Trump said.
“After 15 years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before. This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,” he added.
“He blames all these wars on Hillary Clinton and Obama,” Said Arikat, a political analyst and former UN spokesman, told Al Jazeera.
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“He says that his opponent will continue the same policy that Obama did. This really is not new rhetoric to the Republican Party, which has always talked about law and order, a strong foreign policy.”
As he spoke, Clinton said in a tweet: “We are better than this.”
Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from the convention centre, said the speech was an opportunity for Trump to present specific policies to the American people – something critics said had been lacking in his campaign to become the nominee.
“He didn’t deliver on that front,” Fisher said. “We certainly know what the problems facing America – and the view of the Republicans – are. We certainly know the failings of Hillary Clinton. What we don’t know is how Donald Trump will fix it, beyond the fact that he says he will.”
Some Republican strategists downplayed the focus on law and order as a strategic ploy aimed at uniting a fractious party, divided after a bitter nomination campaign.
“This is typical of convention speech,” Joe Watkins, former White House aide to President George H W Bush, said. “You would need a bounce in the polls coming out of the convention, and for that you have to do something to excite your base. And that includes stoking fears of Clinton and her presidency.”