CLEVELAND — Donald Trump capped his improbable bid to capture the Republican presidential nomination after a chaotic and hate-filled campaign to become the GOP standard-bearer Tuesday during a night filled with suspense and delays from some unruly delegates.
New York’s GOP delegation was allowed to cast its votes out of order, allowing the businessman’s home state to put its bombastic native son over the 1,237 votes he needed to be nominated.
“All of our supporters in the great State of New York, even in the places that aren’t so conservative, we’ve had such great support. We’re going to put New York into play this time around,” Donald Trump Jr. said for the Empire State delegation that included The Donald’s daughter Ivanka and son Eric Trump.
“It’s my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top in the delegate count tonight,” a smiling Trump Jr., an executive vice president with his rich daddy’s organization, said from the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena.
“Congratulations, Dad, we love you,” he added, before the house band broke out a jazzy rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and as the Jumbotron overhead displayed fireworks.
The newly minted GOP presidential nominee appeared on the screen to thank the delegates for giving him the nomination, and he provided a preview of his scheduled acceptance speech Thursday.
“Today has been a very, very special day, watching my children put me over the top earlier,” said Trump, who during the campaign called women “pigs,” said Mexico was sending “rapists” over the border and called for banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
“What we did . . . it’s something I’ll never, ever, ever forget,” Trump added. “With your vote today . . . the process has come to a close.”
“I’m so proud to be your nominee for President of the United States, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you on Thursday night on how to build a brighter future for all Americans.”
Later in the evening, Trump’s son appeared again, as the night’s headline speaker, insisting that his dad, whom he called his “mentor and best friend,” thrives on people telling him “no.”
But then, like Trump’s wife Melania the night before, Trump Jr. seemed to lift some of his comments from a May 2016 article in the American Conservative magazine, creating the fear once again a Trump ripped off another author.
“Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class. Now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers,” Trump Jr. said.
The sentences are similar to an article by F.H. Buckley, entitled “Trump vs. the New Class.”
The passage says: “What should be an elevator to the upper class is stalled on the ground floor. … Our schools and universities are like the old Soviet department stores whose mission was to serve the interests of the sales clerks and not the customers.”
But Buckley, a professor at the George Mason University School of Law, said he worked with Trump Jr. and suggested the lines for his speech.
“There’s not an issue. It’s not plagiarism. It’s just what speechwriters do,” he told the Daily News.
Melania Trump, during her RNC address Monday, copied lines from a speech presented by Michelle Obama to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
“When people tell him it can’t be done, it gets done,” Trump Jr. said to cheers. “When people tell him something is impossible, that triggers him into action.
“For my father, impossible is just the starting point,” he said of his father’s unlikely quest for the GOP nomination — a shocking outcome that begot a few more last-minute surprises Tuesday night.
Less than 24 hours after the bumbling opening day of the summit brought forth D-list celebrity has-beens and plagiarizing revelations, the GOP’s nominating process was shaken up once again after the Alaska delegation appeared to rely on a last resort to trip up the nomination.
Moments after the votes from New York’s delegation clinched the nomination for Trump, the Alaska delegation disputed how its votes were recorded and requested a formal poll of its delegates.
The subsequent deliberations by House Speaker and convention Chairman Paul Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threw off-course the schedule of the night’s speakers, endangering the ability for them to be seen on prime-time television.
Just a few minutes earlier, things appeared to be going smoothly, as Republican delegates on the floor for night two of the convention got right down to business, introducing a roll call of delegations that formally awarded Trump the nomination.
The proceedings capped a stunning climb to the top of the GOP for Trump, who bested 16 fellow Republicans, and marked the formal end of a historically chaotic and divisive nominating process.
Still, the events of the early evening, which party officials hoped would broadcast a message of unity, contained the same strife that has so often dominated the process since Trump jumped into the race in June 2015.
Steamrolled anti-Trump delegates said Tuesday that they were furious.
Colorado delegate Kendal Unruh, the leader of the anti-Trump delegate movement, flashed frustration with how they’d been manhandled by their party’s nominee and its chairman.
“It’s not just me who’s going to take it personally,” she said as the roll call vote began. “There’s so much discontent (within) the delegation right now.”
Colorado delegate Dudley Brown said the anger was “high enough” that delegates will keep looking for opportunities to embarrass Trump.
But the night’s proceedings got back on track with a series of unexciting speeches from a slew of establishment Republicans, a few of whom just months ago were still butting heads with the mogul.
Ryan returned to the stage midevening to deliver what ended up being a passionate rallying cry for unity within his fractured party.
“What do you say we unify this party,” Ryan said at the end of otherwise sleepy remarks. “Let’s see this thing through. Let’s win this thing!” he added.
“Let’s show America our best,” he said, prompting delegates on the floor to rise to their feet.
With Nicole Hensley
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