CLEVELAND (CN) — Tuesday night’s nominal theme at the Republican National Convention was “Make America Work Again,” but speakers devoted more podium time to “Attack Hillary Clinton Again” than to Donald Trump’s economic plans.
After rumors that anti-Trump delegates would try to disrupt the waltz to the nomination at the last minute failed to materialize, speakers spent the rest of the night giving testimonials to a man they say has been misunderstood and misrepresented, and attacking his opponent.
“We’ve actually started to believe that solving our great problems is an impossible task,” Donald Trump Jr. said Tuesday night. “That’s why we need to elect a man who has a track record of accomplishing the impossible.”
Trump won the nomination handily early in the night and the dissonance created by delegations casting votes for his failed rivals faded as speaker after speaker attacked Clinton and Democrats, drawing cheers and chants from delegates happy to pile on.
“This is the pressure valve letting go,” Florida state committeeman and delegate Rico Petrocelli told Courthouse News shortly after Trump secured the nomination.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor, laid out a figurative case against Clinton, drawing cheers of “Guilty!” from delegates happy to rehearse their litany of complaint: the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the Iran nuclear deal, and her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
Christie goaded them on as they chanted, “Lock her up! Lock her up,” a common refrain in Cleveland this week.
West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito was one of the few speakers who devoted substantial time to the economy. She criticized Clinton and President Barack Obama for regulating the coal industry in her heavily coal-dependent home state.
“President Obama has hurt the heart and soul of my state, our proud coal miners and the communities where they live and work and pursue their happiness,” Capito said.
The final speech of the night went to “The Young and the Restless” actress Kimberlin Brown, who owns and operates a design business. Brown blasted Obamacare as a job-killer, saying her company had to stop offering health care for employees because of the regulations.
“We’re concerned about out-of-control, unreasonable government regulations that needlessly add cost to doing business and tie us all up in red tape,” Brown said. “And don’t get me started on the bewildering tax code and high taxes to boot.”
Clinton’s campaign tried to steal a beat from the convention by holding a news conference down the street from the Quicken Loans Arena Tuesday morning.
Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told reporters that Trump’s economic policy would be disastrous, and detailed instances in which Trump stiffed contractors who worked for his business ventures.
“Trump’s policies make him a danger to the economy, and if his business record is any indication, as president, Trump would continue to put himself before the needs of hard working Americans,” Wasserman Schultz said.
New York Congressman Joe Crowley called Trump a “con man” and a “fraud” for talking tough on trade while exporting jobs overseas for his businesses.
“In my opinion he’s a con man; he’s a snake oil salesman,” Crowley said.
Trump’s economic plan did not come into any clearer focus during the Tuesday night attack speeches, though his children modified the mood by portraying their father as a man who takes on challenges and leads by example.
“His true gift as a leader is that he sees the potential in people that they don’t even see in themselves,” Trump Jr. told the delegates.
Tiffany Trump said her father helped her be “the best version” of herself and said he wrote notes on her report cards that focused on how she acted “in and out of the classroom.”
She portrayed him as a caring, involved father and a person wholly focused on success.
“He draws out the talent and drive in people so that they achieve their full potential,” Tiffany Trump said. “That’s a great quality to have in a father and better yet in the president of the United States.”
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s children Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump celebrate on the convention floor during the second day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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