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Politics & Government

Trump Wins GOP Nomination; Some Hispanics Warm Up To The Nominee

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep in Cleveland, Ohio, where the Republican Convention began this week with some discord. But the party's nominee got the result he wanted last night.

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PAUL RYAN: Donald J. Trump, having received a majority of these votes entitled to be cast at the convention, has been selected as the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States.

INSKEEP: And on the second night of the convention, Donald Trump appeared for the second time, this time by video from New York.

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DONALD TRUMP: Today's been a very, very special day - watching my children put me over the top earlier. The party seal - I mean, what we did getting the party's nomination - I'll never forget it. It's something I will never, ever forget.

INSKEEP: His son declared New York's votes, which did put him over the top, getting him a majority of delegates and the formal nomination. NPR's Scott Detrow has been following the convention all week with us here in Cleveland. Is this convention stabilizing, Scott?

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: I think it is. Last night was a very standard convention night, especially compared to Monday. And I think a lot of that has to do with Republicans being united when it comes to opposing Hillary Clinton. One big moment last night is Chris Christie, New Jersey governor, attacking Clinton, framing his speech as a trial of her and her career.

That got the crowd shouting, guilty, chanting, lock her up. And party unity opposition to Clinton is why you have Trump skeptics like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell addressing the convention and having a message they feel like they can honestly deliver.

INSKEEP: OK. One thing they can agree on - even if not all of them agree on - Donald Trump. Let's bring in someone who's been covering Hillary Clinton. NPR's Tamara Keith is on the line from Washington, D.C. Hi, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi.

INSKEEP: What's Hillary Clinton been doing all week?

KEITH: Well, she was campaigning in Las Vegas yesterday. And she described the first night of the GOP Convention as surreal. And she said it reminded her of "The Wizard Of Oz."

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HILLARY CLINTON: And there were similarities that appeared to me, you know, lots of sound and fury - even a fog machine. But when you pulled back the curtain, it was just Donald Trump with nothing to offer to the American people.

KEITH: Instant fact check - it looked like a fog machine on TV. But there actually was no fog machine.

INSKEEP: Thanks for clarifying that. Appreciate it. Go on.

KEITH: (Laughter) Got to fact check. While Clinton was in Las Vegas, she also collected an endorsement from the influential Culinary Union, which has been in an extended fight with Donald Trump in Las Vegas, actually. And she used it as an opportunity to reprise her attacks on Trump about his business practices - failing to pay contractors what they're owed. And just for good measure, she called on him to release his tax returns.

INSKEEP: OK - something that many presidential candidates do. There's also a Democratic counterconvention? Is that right?

KEITH: Well, that might be a bit much. But they are doing rapid response. They're doing press conferences. The inbox is full of emails and web videos. And yesterday, the Clinton campaign also tried a pretty ridiculous gimmick for several hours. They had a stream up on Facebook live. And they had various staffers reading the titles of all the lawsuits involving Donald Trump and his companies. There are more than 3,000 of them so it took a long time. Here's just a little clip.

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MARLON MARSHALL: Hi. I'm Marlon Marshall, director of state campaigns and political engagement for Hillary Clinton campaign. Trump Taj Mahal, associate plaintiff, v. Joe Steven Nesbitt (ph), defendant. Trump Taj Mahal, associate plaintiff, v. Jenny Sebastiano (ph), defendant.

KEITH: And it went on like that for hours and hours. The campaign also this week launched a massive voter registration drive. And voters in swing states and those watching on cable - so lots of people watching the debate - watching the convention - are seeing a heavy dose of paid advertising not from Trump but from Clinton.

And there's one ad in especially heavy rotation called Role Models that shows little kids watching television as Trump delivers some of the most controversial lines that he - most controversial things he said.

INSKEEP: OK. Yeah - seen that ad. And now we're going to see in the few days to come - see the vice presidential choice from Hillary Clinton. Tamara, thanks very much.

KEITH: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Tamara Keith. Now, Donald Trump has not been doing well among Latino voters. But his campaign wants to change that tonight. Here's NPR's Asma Khalid.

ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: Meet Ralph Alvarado.

RALPH ALVARADO: A physician, delegate from Kentucky - I represent the central part of the state.

KHALID: Alvarado is one of the primetime speakers tonight and one of the few Hispanics on stage at the RNC. A couple months ago, he said he wrote an email to some folks involved in national campaigns to say he was concerned.

ALVARADO: That the talk about Hispanics and that sort of thing - and I said, I wanted to make sure that somebody at this convention would give a speech about what Hispanics are.

KHALID: So the Trump campaign sent him an invite. Alvarado says Trump was not his first choice. But he's fully behind him now and wants to help.

ALVARADO: We've got to get the right people. And I think I can hopefully provide, at least for one night, a fresh face with the perspective of a son of immigrants and say, here's what I think is important - what I think all Hispanics share with Republicans.

KHALID: No doubt there are some Latinos who've loved Trump from day one. But many conservative Hispanics were on the fence. Alfonso Aguilar is an activist who vowed he would never support Trump. But this week, he endorsed him. I asked him why he changed his mind.

ALFONSO AGUILAR: We had the terror attack in Orlando. We've had escalating - we're having escalating racial tension in the country. And I think all these things are a byproduct of the Democratic policies that we have seen in the last eight years.

KHALID: Aguilar admits he's not enamored with Trump's rhetoric. And he was no fan of the focus on illegal immigration Monday night. But he's pragmatic.

AGUILAR: I will continue fighting for an immigration reform that includes legalization. But I want to make sure I'm in a position to be able to influence the process.

KHALID: Aguilar wants a seat at the table. Earlier this week, I went to a breakfast where about a dozen GOP Hispanics met over quiche and Mexican pastries. They were discussing how to get more Latinas in office. And that's where I met 22-year-old Ivana Maria Bengochea. During undergrad, she was the president of the College Republicans at Columbia University. I asked her what she thinks of the party's nominee.

IVANA BENGOCHEA: I'm not convinced yet. Maybe I can become convinced. I'm not sure. But at this stage, I would not be able to say to you that I would be voting for him.

KHALID: Bengochea is Cuban-American. Historically, they've been one of the most loyal GOP constituencies. But she does not like how Trump talks about minorities. And she wants immigration reform.

BENGOCHEA: And I just think it's so important that at the end of the day, like, if you are a politician in this country, you are in charge of such a melting pot of ideas and religions and values - that we need to come together.

KHALID: The Trump campaign intends to start a more focused effort to reach out to Hispanics soon after the convention. But the question is - is that too late? Bengochea is considering voting for a libertarian or possibly even Hillary Clinton. Asma Khalid, NPR News, Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.