The four-day Republican National Convention expected to result in the nomination of Donald Trump as its candidate for president kicked off Monday in Cleveland with a roster of speakers that included his wife, Melania.
The theme of the first night is “Make America Safe Again,” and topics expected to be covered include terrorism, immigration and veterans.
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the U.S. Senate, appeared with fellow veterans.
She said the country has suffered a lack of leadership. “Unfortunately Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted. . . . She has already failed us too many times.”
She criticized Clinton for supporting the Iran nuclear deal.
She said Clinton and Obama have a “pathetic” record on fighting the Islamic State terrorist group.
“Donald Trump will not hesitate to call radical Islamic terrorism by its name,” she said, adding he won’t hesitate to go after “those who would destroy our great nation.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said a commander in chief does not draw red lines “and then retreat.”
“We are tired of Obama’s empty speeches and his misguided rhetoric. This has caused the world to have no respect” for America.
“Releasing terrorists will not end this war,” but only emboldens the terrorists, he said.
“Our way of life is in jeopardy. Our very existence is threatened,” he said.
The terrorists have weapons of mass destruction and “intend to use them,” he said.
“Now is the time for a leader who is honest and who is strong” and “will stand up for America.”
The country doesn’t need a “weak, spineless president” who is more interested in issuing apologies rather than defending America.
“That’s right – lock her up,” he said, referring to Hillary Clinton as the crowd chanted “lock her up.”
“If I did a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail.”
“Crooked Hillary Clinton: leave this race now. She needs to go.”
Melania Trump speaks, saying, “We are excited to be with you at this historic convention.”
“I am so proud of you of your choice for president.”
“I can assure you he is moved by this great honor,” she said.
“Like me, he loves this country very much,” she said.
She said she was born in Slovenia, then a Communist country. Her mother introduced her to fashion and beauty, her father to business and travel, she said.
Her parents impressed on her to work hard and treat people with respect. She said she worked in Milan, and then Paris, and then arrived in New York 20 years ago.
In July 2006, she became a citizen of the United States, “the greatest privilege on the planet Earth.”
Trump has “a great and deep and unbending determination.”
“He will never, ever give up, and most importantly he will never let you down.”
Trump “has always been an amazing leader. Now he will go to work for you.”
He will keep the country safe and secure, she said.
He is tough when he has to be but “also kind and fair and caring.”
Trump is “intensely loyal” to family, friends, country, she said. “There is a great deal of love in the Trump family.”
“Our country is underperforming and needs new leadership.”
Trump wants “prosperity for all Americans” and inclusion rather than division. His plans include all races and economic classes, she said.
“He can do this better than anyone else can and it won’t even be close.”
Supporters have turned an “unlikely campaign into a movement” that is still growing, she said.
“It would not be a Trump contest without excitement and drama.”
As first lady, she pledged, she would help the poor, especially children. “It is kindness and compassion for each other that will bring us together and keep us together. These are the values that Donald and I will bring to the White House.”
Donald Trump appears in blue fog.
“Oh, we’re going to win, we’re going to win so big, thank you very much.”
He introduces his wife Melania as “the next first lady” and “an incredible mother” and “an amazing woman.”
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani takes the stage.
Giuliani said, “Thank you New York. . . . For once a New Yorker is on the ticket!”
“The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe. They fear for their children. They fear for themselves.”
He thanked police for protecting them.
“When they come to save your life they don’t ask if you are black or white. They just come to save you.”
“It’s time to make America safe again. It’s time to make America one again. One America” with no “white America, no black America.”
“What happened to it? Where did it go?”
He said he made New York the safest major city in America. “What I did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America,” he said.
“I have known Donald Trump for 30 years . . . this is a man with a big heart. Every time New York suffered a tragedy, Donald Trump was there to help . . . he did it anonymously when police officers were shot, when firefighters were hurt.”
“This is a good man,” he said, adding he was “sick and tired” of the “defamation” of Trump by the media and Hillary Clinton. “This is a good man.”
He said Trump was a great father and grandfather whom he knows “personally.”
He discussed major terrorist attacks in recent months: “You know who you are and we are coming to get you.”
He differentiated between them and “all the good Muslims” around the world.
He called for a non-nuclear Iran — something he said Trump will achieve.
He claimed Clinton lied to the families of the victims of the Benghazi, Libya, attack.
“Who would trust Hillary Clinton to protect them? I wouldn’t, would you?”
He said Clinton is in favor of “open borders.”
“Washington needs a complete turnaround, and Donald Trump is the agent of change,” he said.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said voters want a lawful system of immigration and know “something is wrong with this economy.”
The income of the middle class is $4,000 less than in 1999. “This is an economic disaster. We are on the wrong track and the American people know it.”
He attacked illegal immigration and said President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are caving into pro-immigrant groups.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, said his father went to Vietnam in 1969 to serve his country. Some 35 years later, because of 9/11, “I did the same.”
“We don’t fight because we hate our enemies but because we love our country,” he said.
“We’d like a commander in chief who speaks of winning wars and not merely ending wars. We’d like a commander in chief who calls the enemy by its name. A commander in chief who draws red lines cautiously but enforces them ruthlessly. . . . who could be trusted to handle classified information.”
Referring to Trump: “Help is on the way.”
Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, said, “Blue lives matter in America” to thunderous applause and chants of “USA! USA!”
He said we must make America safe again. “Americans don’t always feel safe . . . ”
Recent shootings of police around the country represent “a collapse of the social order” and “anarchy,” which he alleged is promoted by groups such as Black Lives Matter.
“Donald Trump is the steadfast leader our nation needs.”
Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said, “We need to end sanctuary cities, keep dangerous people out of our country and secure our border once and for all.”
“Our country’s national security is at risk,” he said. “Our city on a hill is now a city under siege.”
He blamed President Barack Obama and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton for the problems.
He said the country should drop political correctness: “The enemy is radical Islam.”
“Are you safer than you were eight years ago?” he asked, and the crowd shouted “No!”
“We cannot afford Hillary in the White House again. We need someone who can repair the damage she has done . . . ”
“That man is Donald Trump.”
“He will never bow down to our enemies. He will stand up to them.”
Jamiel Shaw, whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant, said, “We all know Hillary is Obama’s third term.”
Trump arrives at the underground garage of the convention arena with his wife.
Antonio Sabàto Jr., an actor and former Calvin Klein underwear model, said we need to “get our country back on track . . . we are on the wrong path.”
He said he emigrated from Rome, Italy, in 1985. “I followed all the rules.” New immigrants “should follow the same rules. We are a nation of laws for a reason.”
He called for secure borders and said “none of this is hateful.”
“I know what socialism looks like,” he added. “I don’t want that for my children. . . . But that is the path we are headed down.”
Vice-presidential presumptive nominee Indiana Gov. Mike Pence arrives at the convention arena.
Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, who was killed during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, said of her son’s security concerns: “Nobody listened, nobody seemed to care.”
“I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”
“She lied to me and then called me a liar,” she said, as the crowd booed.
She said she has asked Clinton to explain why he was killed — and never got an answer. “How could she do this to me? How could she do this to any American family?”
“Donald Trump is everything Hillary Clinton is not,” she said. “He will not hesitate to kill the terrorists who threaten American lives.”
“Hillary for prison,” she added. “She deserves to be in stripes.”
Marcus Luttrell, retired U.S. Navy SEAL and author of the book “Lone Survivor,” said, “The only way we’re going to keep America safe is to have an elite military.”
He asked people to “step up and take the fight to the enemy because it’s here.”
Scott Baio, an actor who appeared in “Happy Days,” attacked Democratic contender Hillary Clinton and called Trump a “man who knows how to get things done.”
“Hillary Clinton wants to be president for Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump wants to be president for all of us,” he said.
“Let’s make America great again,” he said. “But let’s make America American again.”
Willie Robertson, star of the “Duck Dynasty” series, opened the night with a prayer. He said he and Trump have three things in common. They are successful businessmen, have had hit TV shows, and have intelligent wives “who are much better looking than we are.”
He lambasted the media for missing the story of Trump’s emergence as the leading Republican candidate, saying they don’t hang out with regular people who hunt, fish, pray and “actually work for a living.”
He said Trump represented the common people and will “have your back.”
“He may not always tell you what you want to hear. . . . and he may not always be politically correct,” adding that Trump “will always tell the truth as he sees it.”