Republican Convention, Set to Nominate Donald Trump, Puts Down Protest
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Republican National Convention that will nominate billionaire populist Donald Trump for president opened Monday in a display of division that forced party leaders to put down a floor fight triggered by the real estate mogul's opponents.
The disruption played out amid the convention's self-proclaimed law-and-order theme, hours before network television stations were set to go live with Melania Trump's maiden turn on the national stage in support of her husband. In a switch from convention protocol, Trump attended and introduced his wife.
"We're going to win so big, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. We're going to win so big," Trump said before introducing "an amazing mother, an incredible woman, Melania Trump."
The potential first lady heralded her husband as a fighter for his family, his business enterprises -- and his country. "If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you, he's the guy," she said. "He will never, ever give up, and most assuredly, he will never, ever let you down."
Trump will be nominated Tuesday, a day after a group of delegates tried unsuccessfully to force a roll-call vote on the convention rules that could have freed them to vote their conscience.
"Never Trump" delegates chanted "roll-call vote!" and "point of order!" from the floor, but their attempt was quickly stymied by convention leaders, prompting former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli -- a Trump supporter seeking rules changes for the future -- to throw his credentials to the floor and walk out.
The group issued a statement later in the day accusing convention leaders of "strong-arming delegates and skirting the rules" to silence critics. But Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort downplayed the furor and said a floor vote "would have been a meaningless gesture" because Trump forces easily would have prevailed, the USA Today reported.
The evening session Monday belonged to Trump. Its theme was “Make America Safe Again," and speakers focused on war and peace overseas, illegal immigration along the border, law enforcement in America's cities -- and the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, which Trump has accused likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of bungling,
Delegates shouted "USA! USA! USA!" and "Build the wall!" while "Make America Safe Again" signs were prominently displayed.