CLEVELAND — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrived here Wednesday afternoon, to a convention that has already seen its share of controversy.
Trump met with his vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and both made brief statements after taking a helicopter ride around the Great Lakes Science Center. “We’re going to win Ohio. We’re going to win it all,” Trump proclaimed. “We’re going to make America great again,” he said, invoking his campaign’s theme. “The last time, I was accused of speaking a little bit long, so this time I’m going to speak a lot short,” Trump said, as he introduced Pence to the crowd.
Pence, who greeted Trump and his children, said he is “convinced what begins in Cleveland will end in the White House.”
Trump’s running mate is slated to speak tonight — the convention’s third night, which is expected to expand upon the theme “Make America First Again.” In a teaser of the speakers, provided by the GOP convention, Pence was hailed for achieving “the largest state tax cut in Indiana history, while also lowering the business personal property tax and corporate income tax to attract new investment and bring more jobs to Indiana.” Pence is well-liked by retailers and apparel brands because of his solid pro-trade record while serving in Congress for 12 years.
Following up on his siblings — brother Donald Trump Jr. and half-sister Tiffany Trump — Eric Trump will continue the family stories about his father’s character and personality.
Texas Senator and former presidential candidate Ted Cruz will also take the stage, apparently having recovered from the personal jabs Trump took at him on the campaign trail, where he dubbed him “Lyin’ Ted.”
Another presidential rival, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whom Trump labeled “Little Marco” during the heat of the primaries, has also apparently put it all behind him and will speak, although he is only appearing via video.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a fiery speaker in his own right, who was reportedly on Trump’s vice presidential short list but was passed over for Pence, will also speak in support of Trump.
Phil Ruffin, who is a U.S. businessman with interests in real estate, retail enterprises, lodging and manufacturing, will speak about Trump’s business prowess and share his own story. Oil billionaire Harold Hamm, chairman and chief executive officer of publicly traded Continental Resources, will also be on hand to back up Trump’s business credentials.
Earlier Wednesday, Paul Manafort said Trump saw what was happening in America and tapped into it. “He understands the frustration and anger, and he tapped into that. When the book gets written, you will look back and say, ‘Why did everybody else miss it?’ ” Manafort said.
He said there is a movement in support of Trump, comparing it to the populist and nationalist sentiment that led to the Brexit vote.
“It’s people who are frustrated by being promised every election cycle that their life is going to get better, that there will be changes by the government…,” he said. “People are frustrated with Washington. The race comes down to a very simple calculus — change versus establishment.”