Republicans convened in Cleveland, Ohio, this past week to nominate and rally behind the party’s candidate, Donald Trump, who against all odds, won the party’s primaries.
Speakers touched on a variety of subjects, but most pertinent were the themes of immigration, law and order, terrorism, and Trump’s rival, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
While these topics have been discussed by the Republican Party for years, the prominence of them and the rhetoric used underscores the stamp that Trump has already made on the party.
Law and Order
At the forefront of Monday night was the theme “make America safe again” with speeches by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sheriff David Clarke.
Clarke began his speech by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to make something very clear: Blue lives matter in America.” His words received a loud ovation and chants of “USA” from the convention center.
He went on to decry the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter as a “collapse of social order” and as “anarchy.” His speech stressed the importance of a code that, at its foundation, is the rule of law.
Giuliani also criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, saying, “What happened to ‘There’s no white America, there’s no black America, there is just America?'”
At times Giuliani spoke directly to police officers.
“We know the risk you’re taking, and we say thank you to every police officer and law enforcement agent who’s out tonight protecting us—black, white, Latino,” Giuliani said.
“When they come to save your life, they don’t ask if you’re black or white. They just come to save you,” he said to loud applause.
Immigration and Terrorism
One of Trump’s main tenets as a candidate is his harder line against immigration and terrorism.
His proposals to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and a stronger fight against ISIS were embraced by the convention.
Addressing the Mexican border, a video on Monday told the story about border-patrol agent Brian Terry, who was shot and killed in 2010. His brother and sister, Kelly Terry-Willis and Kent Terry spoke from the border and blamed the Obama administration’s failed policies for his death.
“Only one candidate is serious about border security, and that’s Donald Trump,” Kent Terry said.
The video was followed by three family members—Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden and Jamiel Shaw—who grieved the death of their children at the hands of illegal immigrants with criminal records.
“It’s time that we have an administration that cares more about Americans than about illegals,” Mendoza said.
The fight against ISIS was addressed with a video that outlined the terrorist attack in Benghazi where four Americans were killed, and placed the blame on Hillary Clinton.
The fight against terrorism was marked by a speech by Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, one of the four Americans who were killed at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. She said, “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,”
It was followed by a video that outlined the terrorist attack and placed the blame on Hillary Clinton.
The topic on which the convention spent the most time, and linked back to the other topics, was Donald Trump’s counterpart, Hillary Clinton.
Most striking was the speech by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who lead the crowd in the role of prosecutor, putting Clinton on trial “for her performance and her character,” to which the crowd responded, “Lock her up.”
Christie listed his grievances against Clinton, each time asking the crowd, “Guilty or not guilty?” The crowd responded with a resounding “guilty.”
He continued by questioning her economic decisions in China, her defense of the Assad government in Syria, the Iran nuclear deal, and relations with Cuba and Russia, each time asking the same question—”Guilty or not guilty?”
After talking about international relations, he finished by indicting her for her private email server and “making our secrets vulnerable” and made the case to choose Trump instead of Clinton.
Another prominent voice opposing Clinton was retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate Ben Carson, who didn’t indict the presumptive Democratic nominee, but drew a line between her and Lucifer.
“Let me tell you something about Saul Alinsky,” Carson said referring to the Chicago-based community organizer whom Clinton wrote her senior thesis on as an undergraduate at Wellesley College.
“He wrote a book called ‘Rules for Radicals,'” Carson said. “On the dedication page, it acknowledges Lucifer, the original radical who gained his own kingdom.”
Carson spoke about America’s foundation in Christian principles, drew a line between Clinton’s affinity with Alinsky, and said that Clinton’s “secular progressive agenda is antithetical” to America.
“This is a nation where every coin in our pockets and every bill in our wallet says ‘In God We Trust.’ So are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer? Think about that,” he implored the booing crowd.