Posted: 11:26 pm Monday, July 18th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
After an afternoon session that featured some discord over the Republican nomination fight, Donald Trump supporters took charge of the campaign message Monday night, building up Donald Trump as a better choice for American security, and going after Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attacks and more.
“If Hillary Clinton can’t give us the truth why should we give her the Presidency?” said an emotional Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith, one of four Americans who died in Benghazi in September of 2012.
Smith was followed on stage by two Americans who were security contractors at a secret CIA facility in Benghazi, who tried to help save U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and others.
Along with Benghazi, the focus of the first night was on illegal immigration as well.
“It is time to unify as a party,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who joined a parade of speakers in condemning the work of the Obama Administration – and Hillary Clinton – on both illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism.
While Trump did not name someone to give a “keynote” address to set the tone of this convention, that role may have been filled on Monday night by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who laced into Clinton repeatedly.
“Who would trust Hillary Clinton to protect them? I wouldn’t – would you?” Giuliani asked, as the crowd chanted “No!” in unison.
Giuliani, who has been working with Trump quietly behind the scenes for several months, excitedly urged Republicans to join his campaign for President.
“What I did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America,” Giuliani said.
While Giuliani may have given the most popular political speech of the night, it was Trump’s wife Melania who rivaled him for the applause of the GOP delegates.
Trump himself showed up – an unprecedented decision in recent history at political conventions – and introduced his wife, after assuring delegates that the GOP is on the right track.
“We’re going to win, we’re going to win so big,” Trump assured the crowd, as he then stood back to hear his wife praise her husband.
“If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he’s the guy,” Melania Trump said.
Trump’s wife has avoided the campaign trail for much of the past year, but her performance on Monday night opened the door for her to maybe take a more public role – and one that would seem to work very well in the months ahead.
“My husband offers a new direction,” she said – getting a thumbs up from her husband as they walked off stage, maybe starting on the road to being in the White House next January.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.