Donald Trump gave the longest acceptance speech for more than 40 years as the Republican convention in Cleveland came to a climax last night. His remarks weighed in at about 75 minutes, which according to public affairs broadcaster C-SPAN was 10 minutes longer than the previous record set by Bill Clinton in 1996.
Trump was introduced by his daughter Ivanka, who drew favorable comments from pundits who suggested she stole the show. She made a pitch for the female vote and said her father was a pioneer in employing women in construction, adding that her father was a much more generous and sympathetic character in private than his public persona suggests. At one point she conceded, "I do not consider myself a Republican or a Democrat."
Trump spoke largely from a Teleprompter and rarely went off script. His delivery was more forceful and angry than on the campaign trail. He rarely mentioned Hillary Clinton by name, more often referring to her as "my opponent," and responded to delegates chanting "lock her up" by saying "let’s defeat her in November."
In front of a noisy and packed crowd at the Quicken Loans Arena, Trump called for a new direction in politics after eight years of Democratic rule, vowing to make America "bigger, better, and stronger" than ever before. His tone was generally dark as he posited hard-line views on crime, immigration, and terrorism.
The 70-year-old New York businessman did utter the phrase LGBTQ on stage last night, the first GOP nominee to do so in his acceptance speech. He was met with applause from the floor and commented that "as a Republican, it was so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said."
Further history was made at the convention earlier in the evening, with Trump preceded on stage by billionaire tech businessman Peter Thiel, who told the audience he is "proud to be gay," in the process becoming the first speaker to do so at a Republican National Convention.
Convention themes resonate elsewhere
North Carolina loses out: The National Basketball Association announced Thursday it will no longer hold its annual All-Star Game in Charlotte next year due to North Carolina's "bathroom law," the commonly used phrase to describe legislation that restricts anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people in the state. Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who signed the bill into legislation in March, hit back at the NBA’s decision as pandering to "left-wing special interest groups."
Ailes finally goes: Over at the Republican Party’s favorite cable channel, Rupert Murdoch has stepped in as acting chairman and CEO at Fox News after Roger Ailes departed Thursday following allegations he sexually assaulted anchors including Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly.
Over to you Hillary: Attention now switches to Philadelphia, where the Democratic National Convention commences Monday. Hillary Clinton is expected to announce her running mate in the next few days. In contrast to the RNC, the line-up will be full of party establishment figures including FLOTUS Michelle Obama, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s husband and former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and President Obama.