Painting a grim picture of America, Donald Trump promised to protect the country and restore "law and order" and by putting "America First" in his address Thursday evening formally accepting the GOP nomination for president.
"Americans watching this address tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities," Trump said. "Many have witnessed this violence personally, some have even been its victims. I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon — and I mean very soon — come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored."
The billionaire real estate mogul cast himself as a champion for blue-collar workers and the middle class, arguing that by putting presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the White House, economic strife would grow.
"The problems we face now — poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad — will last only as long as we continue relying on the same politicians who created them," Trump said.
"As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect. This will all change when I take office," he continued. "My message is that things have to change — and they have to change right now. Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored and abandoned."
Trump will also double down on his promises to provide tax relief for business and renegotiate trade deals, ushering in more protectionist policies that are not typically hallmarks of the GOP platform — and that his own running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, has opposed.
"Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned. I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals," Trump said.
"These are the forgotten men and women of our country — and they are forgotten. But they're not going to be forgotten long. These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice," he said to thundering applause.
"Middle-income Americans and businesses will experience profound relief, and taxes will be greatly simplified for everyone. America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world," Trump will continue. "Reducing taxes will cause new companies and new jobs to come roaring back into our country. Then we are going to deal with the issue of regulation, one of the greatest job-killers of them all."
"With these new economic policies, trillions of dollars will start flowing into
our country," the newly minted Republican nominee will promise. "This new wealth will improve the quality of life for all Americans. We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and the railways of tomorrow."
Trump will end his speech with an emotional appeal to parents, casting himself as the champion of future generations. He will be introduced by his daughter Ivanka, and all of his other children, except for his 10-year-old son, Barron, have also spoken at the convention.
"So to every parent who dreams for their child, and every child who dreams
for their future, I say these words to you tonight: I'm with you, I will fight for you, and I will win for you."
Trump was introduced by his eldest daughter, Ivanka, who spoke of how her father taught her the construction business and how to treat employees.
"My father has not only the strength and ability necessary to be our next president, but also the kindness and compassion that will enable him to be the leader this country needs," she said.
She particularly spoke about his hiring practices to help minorities and women — weak demographics for Trump worsened by controversial comments he's made over the course of the campaign.
"My father values talent. He recognizes real knowledge and skill when he finds it," Ivanka said. "He is colorblind and gender-neutral. He hires the best person for the job, period."
One of her most rousing lines was a call for better family leave policies for women — typically Democratic talking points.
"Women are paid equally for the work that we do and, when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported not shut out," Ivanka said to loud applause.
"Gender is no longer the factor creating the greatest wage discrepancy motherhood is," she continued. "As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put in place during a time in which women were not a significant part of the workforce and will focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all."
The billionaire businessman's address comes after three days of a chaotic Republican National Convention to officially launch his general election, where he trails rival Hillary Clinton in polls. On Day 1, anti-Trump delegates caused a commotion when they tried to force a roll call vote to try to unbind delegates. And on Wednesday, Trump's former rival Ted Cruz took the stage, only to be booed off after the Texas senator still declined to endorse Trump.
Thursday's festivities kicked off with a more energized mood and, for once, most stuck to the theme of the night, "Make American One Again."
South Carolina African-American Pastor Mark Burns turned the decibel level up in the arena early, leading the crowd in chants of "All Lives Matter!"
"Even though I disagree with the tactics and the divisive rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement, I do understand that hopelessness and lack of opportunity breeds this type of desperation," Burns said, explaining what he believes is responsible for the current unrest in the country after police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, along with the deaths of young black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.
And other speakers deviated from the typical GOP orthodoxy on key points, particularly Silicon Valley tech investor Peter Thiel.
"I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all, I am proud to be an American," Theil said, getting cheers from the culturally conservative audience. "I don't pretend to agree with every plank in our party's platform. But fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline."
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio both spoke early on.
Falwell, an influential evangelical voice who gave Trump his blessing early on, praised Trump as "America's blue-collar billionaire."
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