Pressure on Trump to inspire

By Karen Tumulty, Sean Sullivan

Republican nominee to give his acceptance speech after attempts to present a unified front fall short.
Ted Cruz ignited an eruption of bitterness. Picture / AP
Ted Cruz ignited an eruption of bitterness. Picture / AP

Donald Trump prepares to give his nomination address today after attempts to forge party unity went up in the flames of lingering bitterness from the brutal primary campaign season.

Republican leaders have tried to steer their national convention in Cleveland in a more substantive and unified direction.

The capstone yesterday was supposed to be a speech by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the newly named vice-presidential nominee. But the more riveting moment came earlier, when Senator Ted Cruz pointedly refused to endorse Trump, who had bested him in the race for the nomination, and urged Republicans to "vote your conscience".

Members of the crowd in the Cleveland arena react badly to Senator Ted Cruz's failure to endorse Donald Trump. Photo / AP
Members of the crowd in the Cleveland arena react badly to Senator Ted Cruz's failure to endorse Donald Trump. Photo / AP

As Cruz was speaking, delegates chanted, "Endorse Trump!" - to which the senator replied dismissively, "I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation". In response, delegates from Utah, Washington and Arizona, some with the word "troublemaker" attached to their floor passes, began shouting, "Ted! Ted! Ted!" Cruz was jeered off the stage as Trump entered the hall and gave a thumbs-up.

The showdown between two of the GOP's most abrasive personalities was evidence that many party stalwarts have not reconciled themselves to the fact that the celebrity billionaire will be their standard-bearer in November. Their resistance continues, even though speaker after speaker pleaded with them to consider that the alternative is a Hillary Clinton presidency.

"After a long and spirited primary, the time for fighting each other is over. It's time to come together and fight for a new direction for America. It's time to win in November," said Senator Marco Rubio, another defeated candidate. But he spoke via video, having decided to avoid the convention.

Clinton has been a stronger unifier of the Republican Party than Trump. As happened during the first two days of the convention, the hall broke into calls of "Lock her up!".

There was also the lingering drama from the Tuesday address by Trump's wife, Melania, which included portions lifted from the speech Michelle Obama gave at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, when her husband, Barack Obama, was running for president.

In a statement with the Trump Organisation letterhead, a staff member took responsibility for the insertion of the material and apologised. She said that she offered to resign but that Trump encouraged her to stay. Meredith McIver said she was an "in-house staff writer".

"A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama," McIver said of Melania Trump. "Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs Obama's speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech."

- Washington Post

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