The Republican National Convention came to a close in Cleveland last night with a speech from the official Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Speeches delivered throughout the week all led up to this moment, as the businessman took the stage to tell the American people what he plans to do for them from within the Oval Office. The speech, as was expected would be the case, played on the fear of many Americans and offered little substance with respect to how he planned to actually address these fears.
“Our Convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country,” he said, as he positioned himself as the best candidate to restore a “law and order” he believes has been largely absent throughout the Obama administration’s terms. He expressed great concern for America’s police forces and made it clear that he intends to combat crime with a strong fist. “Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities,” he said. “I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon — and I mean very soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.”
Another major component of his speech was his plan to halt illegal immigration. “Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens,” Trump warned as he again promised to restore “law and order.”
As it pertains to the economy, Trump offered a dismal picture of the current state of affairs. “Nearly four in 10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African-American youth are now not employed. 2 million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the president took his oath of office eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely. Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000. That is 16 years ago. Our trade deficit in goods reached — think of this — our trade deficit is $800 hundred billion dollars. Think of that. $800 billion last year alone. We will fix that.” While he did not offer any solution for how he plans to fix it, one with truly limited economic knowledge might actually believe that the country is in serious trouble, when, in fact, the market is reaching record highs, unemployment rates are down, and the nation’s international economic standard is on the rise.
And, of course, there were the jabs at his opponent, Hillary Clinton, as the corrupt, insider candidate who he claims will only provide more of the same policies put in place under Obama. He blamed her for the rise of various terror factions and an overall destabilization in the Middle East. “After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. 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.”
Perhaps most importantly, Trump juxtaposed his message with Clinton’s, as he referred to her campaign’s “I’m with her” slogan, saying that he is “with you,” the American people.
Many pundits have expectedly mixed opinions on Trump’s speech. Some are condemning him for playing on America’s fear, as he painted such a negative picture of our current situation as a country. Others are praising him for addressing nearly every major voting issue in the election with at least a broad stroke.
What do you think about Trump’s speech? A full transcript can be found here.