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Donald Trump Accepts The Republican Party's Presidential Nomination


And I'm Steve Inskeep in Cleveland, where a colleague and I worked our way through security at the Republican convention last evening. It was shortly before the speeches began.

So here we are outside of Quicken Loans Arena, where a live band has been playing. There are lines at the bar. People are getting ready for the final evening of the Republican National Convention. We're heading now in the door. Just pause here for a moment. We're looking down on the floor of the convention, people standing among their chairs. These are political types, of so everybody's having a conversation.

How do we get to Texas?

ASHLEY WESTERMAN, BYLINE: I think we're going to go that way and then around - like, around Colorado and...

ROBIN WALKER: Hi. How are you?


INSKEEP: This is Ashley Westerman. I'm Steve.

WALKER: Hi, Ashley

INSKEEP: What's your name?

WALKER: Hi, Steve. Robin Walker.

INSKEEP: Robin Walker.

WALKER: Guadalupe County. We're District 15.

INSKEEP: Guadalupe County, where is that exactly?

WALKER: Just outside of San Antonio.

INSKEEP: What do you do when you're not being a delegate?

WALKER: Well, several things. I run - help my husband run his real estate office. He was a ranch manager, became a broker and sells big ranches.

INSKEEP: So how is the ranch-selling business lately?

WALKER: Oh, unbelievable. I got to tell you, the nicest people I have worked for are billionaires. I love them, and they employ my husbands. So (laughter) I love it.

INSKEEP: So how do you feel about the billionaire who's about to take stage here?

WALKER: Awesome. I can relate to him because he is a businessman, and that's what I like about him.

INSKEEP: Were you a Trump fan from the beginning?

WALKER: Abs - no, oh, no. Cruz, no.

INSKEEP: You were for Cruz?

WALKER: Oh you bet.


WALKER: However, I'm on the Trump train now, I'm telling you. Listen, the more I listen to him - I mean, you come to a point, and you say - who's going to shake up the world and say, listen to me, this is a great country, and we're going to defend it?

INSKEEP: So Trump sounds like he's a pretty easy fit for you once you got over Ted Cruz.

WALKER: Oh, yeah. No, he is. I mean, not easy. You know, it's a little rough. I'm a Christian (laughter). And oh, not that he isn't. I'm saying he's a little rougher around the edges than I would prefer in a gentleman. However, my husband is a cowboy, and he's likely to say [expletive] almost anywhere. See?

INSKEEP: So one other thing - this is a big civic event, of course. But it's also a TV show. It's a way to present the Republican Party...


INSKEEP: ...To the nation. What do you suppose the takeaway is going to be from what's being presented?

WALKER: Oh, what do you think the nation or the world will think about us?

INSKEEP: That's...

WALKER: Is that kind of what you're thinking?

INSKEEP: Thank you. You asked a question better than I could, yes.

WALKER: Yeah, I know, but I'm thinking the same thing. What do they see? I hope what they see, besides our funny hats that - one donor gave these to all the delegates.

INSKEEP: I'll note that you're wearing a white cowboy hat and so are most of the delegation.

WALKER: They were donated by one donor, and somebody donated all the shirts.

What I hope they take away is - we're diverse just like everybody else. We have - we're not hateful. We're not.

INSKEEP: Soon after we met Robin Walker of the Texas delegation, the music kicked in and the speeches began. Here's NPR's Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: It was Donald Trump's night in Cleveland. After an affectionate introduction by his daughter Ivanka, he walked out on stage and said he was humble and grateful for the nomination. Then, he got right down to business.


DONALD TRUMP: Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation. The attacks on our police and the terrorism of our cities threaten our very way of life.

LIASSON: He laid out a dark, even apocalyptic, vision of a country suffering an epidemic of crime and mayhem, a lot of it, he said, perpetrated by illegal immigrants. In the race for the White House, Trump said, I am the law-and-order candidate.


TRUMP: 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.


TRUMP: Beginning on January 20 of 2017, safety will be restored.

LIASSON: In Trump's view, it was a morning in America. It was more like midnight. The speech was in keeping with the tone of the entire convention, which had painted a picture of a country fearful and angry at home and humiliated abroad. And most of it was Hillary Clinton's fault.


TRUMP: The situation is worse than it has ever been before. This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton - death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.

LIASSON: This was fear and loathing as a campaign strategy. Trump laid out his agenda, promising to end multilateral trade deals and retaliate against countries who deal unfairly with the U.S. He promised to help laid-off factory workers and people who'd been ignored, neglected or abandoned. He called them the forgotten men and women of our country.


TRUMP: These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice.

LIASSON: To all the problems he enumerated, he offered himself as the solution.


TRUMP: Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.

LIASSON: In addition to his unorthodox plans to ban immigrants from terrorist countries, build a wall and rip up trade deals, he also went through a laundry list of familiar conservative goals - end Obamacare, strengthen the military, create school choice, eliminate wasteful spending and let churches openly engage in politics. Although most of the speech seemed aimed at Trump's base, he did reach out to voters beyond the hall when he talked about problems in the inner city.


TRUMP: Every action I take, I will ask myself - does this make better for younger Americans in Baltimore, in Chicago, in Detroit, in Ferguson, who have really, in every way, folks, the same right to live out their dreams as any other child in America?

LIASSON: And he talked about gays and lesbians unlike any other Republican candidate has, when he recalled the terrorist attack in Orlando that killed 49 people at a gay nightclub.


TRUMP: As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of the hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.


LIASSON: Those cheers were from a convention that had just adopted what's been called the most anti-gay platform in Republican Party history.


TRUMP: And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.


LIASSON: The crowd inside the hall loved the speech. The Trump campaign believes the Republican nominee doesn't have to moderate his views much to attract new voters. It's assuming there are enough people in the country who are angry and fearful and ready to turn to a strongman who can fix everything.

After a week of distractions, mishaps and unscripted moments, last night, Trump got everything he wanted. Even the balloon drop went off without a hitch.


LIASSON: The Pence And Trump families gathered together on the stage to the incongruous sounds of "You Can't Always Get What You Want."


THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) You can't always get what you want.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Mara Liasson here in Cleveland. NPR's Scott Detrow is with us now in the studios of WCPN Ideastream here in Cleveland. Scott, what was it like to be in that room last night?

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Boy, it was charged, but in a much more of a tense way than the typical excited, pumped-up way that you have in conventions. Up until Trump spoke, it was a real party with music and dancing. But the room was with him when he angrily talked about all the danger out there in the world. There was a lot of booing of those threats but also of Hillary Clinton. And several times, that chant of the week returned, the chant of lock her up, lock her up.

INSKEEP: Dark, dark speech compared to some other ones, as you say. Let's listen to some more of the delegates that we've been meeting throughout this week here in Cleveland. Many people have been talking with us. And one of those delegates was Tila Hubrecht of Missouri.

TILA HUBRECHT: Personally, I feel very secure with Mr. Trump. My youngest daughter is going to go into the military. I do not want Mrs. Clinton anywhere near being her commander-in-chief. I've worked a lifetime to raise my child. I gave birth to her. She doesn't care about my child. Mr. Trump would care about my child. He does understand what it means for a death of a child.

INSKEEP: What makes you feel that way?

HUBRECHT: He seems to listen, and he seems to care.

INSKEEP: Scott Detrow, Mara Liasson used that word strongman - that Trump presents himself as a strongman. Did you sense there were lots of people in the room who feel they need a strongman?

DETROW: You know, when you talk to Trump voters in Cleveland and at rallies all over the country like we've been doing, it's all about Donald Trump. You know, there are some specific proposals that he has that they really like, that wall on the Mexico border chief among them. But again and again, it's belief in Trump as a leader, as an outsider, as an agitator - people just have a gut feeling that he can fix their problems.

INSKEEP: And there are some people who are trying to get that gut feeling. Or at least we sense that many people who are supporting Trump, but it's taken him a while, perhaps, to get there. We talked with Republican official J. McCauley Brown. He's the Republican state chairman of Kentucky, and he said this.

J MCCAULEY BROWN: And it's easy to go throw mud at Donald Trump just because of his style. But I'll also say he's a non-politician who has said some wrong things. And I'm not convinced he agrees with everything he says. You know, I mean, he makes a very bold statement. In Hillary's case, I think she's planned everything she's done. I think she's just deceitful.

INSKEEP: Scott Detrow, you made an interesting point when you said that Trump has - that the emphasis is on Trump himself. Past Republican leaders would say I want to free the American people to fix problems. Trump, it seems, last night essentially said, I will be the one to fix the problems.

DETROW: Yeah, again and again. You know, he was vague on policy specifics like a lot of his campaign has been. But that one from Mara's story - when I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to this country - that's what the speech was about, the Trump administration fixing it.

INSKEEP: OK. That's NPR's Scott Detrow. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.