CLEVELAND – Monday at the 2016 Republican Convention, it was difficult to find a dull moment. As the rules committee attempted the adoption of the party platform, the “Never Trumpers” were at it again, desperate in every attempt to dismantle the overwhelming support for Donald J. Trump as the Republican nominee. As their pleas were heard throughout the colosseum, the “Yays” appeared to out-shadow the “Nays.” With the Never Trump movement dead on arrival, the convention kicked off with a bang.
In opening, Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin banged the gavel and crowds begun cheering for the start of a new Republican Convention, with an entirely different approach to the dusty old Republican Platform. Marlana Vanhoose brought tears to the eyes of delegates as she sung the National Anthem in a beautiful rendition. Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson opened up the speeches with some humor, comparing himself to Donald Trump, saying “We’re both successful businessmen. We’ve both had hit TV shows. And we both have intelligent wives who are much better looking than we are.” Transitioning to Scott Baio of Happy Days, he had a different tone, turning to the millennial generation and how America “…doesn’t mean getting free stuff.”
On a more somber note, the mic turned to Pat Davis, the mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith. Davis used her mic privileges to call out who she felt was responsible for the murder of her son; Hillary Clinton. In her words, “For all of the tragedy brought on America, I blame Hillary Clinton… I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.” The crowd erupted in support, yelling phrases such as “Never Hillary,” and holding up signs reading “Hillary For Prison,” which Davis acknowledged in support.
Further towards the climax of the event came the one man who could electrify the crowd, other than Donald Trump; Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani’s demeanor and fervent bluntness erupted in the crowd, and his unifying words brought people to their feet for the rest of his speech. “It’s time to make America one again!” he shouted. “We know the risk you’re taking, and we say thank you to every police officers and law enforcement agent protecting us tonight; black, white, Latino… of every race, of every color, every creed, every sexual orientation! When they come to save your life, they don’t ask if you’re black or white! They just come to save you!” As his voice got louder and louder, the crowd did as well, with everyone on their feet, clapping and shouting in approval.
In my opinion, the moment former Mayor Giuliani gave his speech was the moment the Republican Party united and became color blind. In the audience, people were moved and empowered. They were more ravenous for freedom than they came in with, and the result was a party that was ready to embrace Donald and Melania Trump to the stage, and welcome them to the family. Throughout the night, Fox News constantly ran clips of Giuliani, further validating the greatness of his speech. His remarkable performance could be his ticket to the attorney general position in the Trump administration.
Once Giuliani left the stage to a standing ovation, Queen’s “We are the Champions” begun playing in the background as the lights went dim. A blue light shone through a rectangular entrance; fog filled the ground, and a figure emerged from the light in the shape of none other than Donald J. Trump. He coolly walked up to the podium and introduced his wife, Melania Trump, who wore a snowy white Roksanda dress valued at $2,190. Melania’s eloquence and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis-like charm shown through each word she spoke. In her speech, she focused on her journey to America, saying “I am fortunate for my heritage, but also where it brought me today… On July 28, 2006, I was very proud to become a citizen of the United States,” calling it “the greatest privilege on planet Earth.”
With much rumor of Mrs. Trump’s “plagiarism” of current first lady, Michelle Obama’s Democratic convention speech, it begs the question whether the media has anything better to do with their time. I heard both the speeches, and they do say similar phrases regarding education and hard work, but those topics are what a convention speech are about. The first lady’s responsibility as the spouse of the president is to have causes, such as Betty Ford and her determination to help those struggling with addiction, Nancy Reagan with drug use and so forth. Even if Melania may have copied a few sentences loosely from Michelle Obama’s speech, the fact is that each first lady leaves their mark on the country, and regardless of if two of them say the same things, their actions are what prove their character.
After Melania Trump’s speech, the crowd decimated severely as Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn dragged on in his speech for what felt like eternity. Finally, GOP rising star Joni Ernst emerged and brought life to the sparse crowd left in the arena. Joni had some good points, boldly stating “Our country and the world of which we are a part simply cannot afford four more years of this lack of leadership under Hillary Clinton.”, “Donald Trump will not hesitate to call Radical Islamic Terrorism by its name, and he will not hesitate to destroy those who wish to harm our great nation! USA!” and “[Trump] gave a voice to a movement of millions of Americans who are tired of politics as usual. I know as president he will work tirelessly to make our nation safe. Now is the time to make America safe again!” The Iowa senator, who gave 2015’s Republican State of the Union Address was a light at the end of the night, but it is clear that there is much more potential for her to come
The convention was a success on day one, overting major disasters such as the Never Trumpers, and keeping the protesters under control, but at times it did drag on. A few great speeches made the night and enlightened disillusioned Republicans to what the Republican Party stands for. The GOP has shown its strength and thus far, it has become a great inspiration for the future, even if this judgment is premature for the first day of Cleveland’s 2016 convention.