tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN July 21, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
take over the republican party and most of all, by his promise to bring a new way of doing business to the white house. >> usa! >> reporter: tom foreman, cnn, cleveland. >> that does it for anderson and me this hour. thanks for watching. our coverage from cleveland continues right now with erin burnett "out front." gooning. i'm erin burnett and welcome to a special edition "out front." we are live at the national conventi convention. it is donald trump's biggest night yet and the final night about to be called to order in just a few moments and on the stage below me, right behind where we are donald trump will take the podium for the most important speech of his life. he will officially accept his party's nomination for president of the united states. donald trump addressing the nation and frankly, the world tonight, making his case he is
the right person to be president of the united states. he's going to give a wide-ranging speech, heavy on law and order, talking about everything from the recent violence in america to other issues, illegal immigration, and education. his daughter ivanka trump will be center stage and she'll introduce her dad with a speech he left completely up to her. she said the moment is, quote, terrifying. we are covering this historic night from every angle and we begin with jim acosta and, jim, it call comes down to tonight for donald trump. safe to say it truly is the most important night of his life thus far. >> that's right, erin, and at times this week it has felt like a trump rally broke out of the republican convention and donald trump has an opportunity to put some of the problems this week behind him with the speech delivered by his wife melania to ted cruz's refusal to endorse him. trump has the opportunity to hit
the reset button and if there is one overarching theme from what we can tell from the excerpts in the transcripts so far is that he can tell americans i can keep you safe. he'll be talking about national security. he's going to be talking about cutting taxes and he's going to talk about cutting regulation and the conservative bread and butter issue of school choice, but erin, it appears that he is going to take the recent problems that we've seen across the world and these terrorist attacks both around the globe and here in the united states and lay the responsibility for that violence at the feet of hillary clinton and here's one excerpt. we can put it up on screen. donald trump will say in this speech tonight according to his campaign program campaign. i have a message for all of you. the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end and beginning on january 20th, 2017, safety will be restored. america is far less safe and the world is less stable, than when obama made the decision to put
hillary clinton in charge of america's foreign policy. the theme of tonight is to make america one again. iltell you, i saw an image of that behind the screen behind me at the convention hall and at the bottom of the screen, was an image of the wall along the u.s.-mexican border. erin? >> jim acosta, thank you very much. overshadowing trump's big night is the clear divide within the republican party, a growing number of republicans piling on ted cruz today because he so publicly refused to endorse trump and doubled down again this morning and cruz unapologetic and stands behind his move. dana bash, this is a big night for donald trump with ted cruz doubling down and tripling down against donald trump. what does trump need to do tonight? >> well, you know, the irony is that this is based on sort of anecdotally talking to a lot of delegates here on the floor, that even those who really loved
ted cruz, supported him from the get go, raised money for him think that many -- actually most of them think that it was a mistake to come here and give that speech and not endorse. for example, i spoke to one person who ran ted cruz's campaign in the state of idaho. he now says he is doing what he needs to do as a republican in getting behind donald trump and says just like someone from virginia said yesterday, he's not sure he can support cruz from now on. and so that sort of speaks to the idea that in a way ted cruz and what happened last night might have helped donald trump in the way he will be perceived because a lot of people are rooting for him in a way that they weren't last night. not to say that everybody thinks donald trump is great on the floor, not to say that ted cruz supporters, a few of them i've found here don't think that he did the right thing in coming here and standing up for his
principles and maybe his family, so that's sort of the backdrop here. i have to say i have been a little bit surprised and not just today post-cruz, erin, but all week at how many people i have found who say that they've come around to donald trump. it's a self-selecting group because a lot of people across the country who say no way, no how to donald trump. they don't even come here, but those who are here who are the die hards and working hard in their home states and districts, they're more behind him than i would have thought. >> which is interesting and of course, one of the great goals of this convention for him to get the broader republican base aside from his base onboard with his candidacy. out front now, david gergen joins me, adviser to four presidents and mae reston and former president of trump production, andy dean and ana navarro and hillary clinton
supporter bakari sellers. people who came here were perhaps willing to be convinced and many of them were not die hard trump supporters. they were die-hard cruz supporters or rubio supporters and she said more of them are getting onboard than many would have thought and so much is at stake. the biggest night of his career. >> absolutely. i really think it's a night for both trump and his daughter. after all of the stumbles this week and all of the distractions they can still turn this convention around and they can rescue this convention, and i think the two trumps together. after all, the best speech so far has been by the son, donald trump jr., and if she can deliver, he can deliver, and i think it can erase the memories it would be a big lift for him, but that's a challenge and one of the things i want to ruminate on here is this is a reprise, what we've seen from the excerpts and a very familiar theme from trump again and again. are people looking for that or are they looking for something fresh? >> i think -- i don't know the
answer to that. i would think something fresh, and that would be wrong. >> you hear on this question of something fresh and he's going back to his original themes. we know from these brief excerpts that we've had, very heavy on law and order. donald trump jr., said quote, unquote, it will be disciplined which is important, but yet not what some people want from donald trump. >> there is a whole new audience tuning in to donald trump that haven't been following every one of his rallies or events over the course of the last 13 months. >> right. >> so he does need to present some of those core principles that sort of brought him here to that larger audience, as well. this is my big question of what i am looking for tonight is to see if this floor and this crowd is so energetic and into him on this very big night, can he resist leaving the teleprompter for a little bit and turning it into a moment of a trump rally? >> let me answer that question, and i think that would be good for him. >> right.
>> so i'm curious to see how he balances the discipline of the teleprompter and if that feels like a strait jacket around him or is he going to feel something on the stage tonight that he has rpt felt before and it's huge, this moment. >> it's a rush for him, andy, to feel that. he loves to talk about the crowds of thousands and thousands and now it's thousands plus tens of millions and this is new for him. >> it is. a lot of it will be sticking to the teleprompter and what trump is a master of is non-verbal communication so when the audience is cheering, donald's reactions are very genuine and that's something that you can't put in the teleprompter and that's what american people love. there are two things in the speech that will surprise people. one is a mention of bernie sanders and it's not just me questioning hillary clinton's judgment, it's bernie sanders which is very smart. if we're going to build this country again, who is a better
builder than someone who understands budgets and trump is the guy. >> i spoke to him and i spoke to the tension underlying tonight which is he's got to move past the whole ted cruz fiasco, move it on and put that in the rear-view mirror, donald trump jr., i asked him about ted cruz's snub and whether they need it and whether they care about the endorsement and here's how he answered that question. >> i don't care. we don't need it. we got it defacto and those are the voters and the people that my father has been speaking to directly. >> is he right? over. gone. doesn't matter? >> like i said last night, i think donald trump should be sending ted cruz a fruit basket and thanking him for what he did yesterday because it's the most unity that we've seen in the convention. and he changed the topic and we're not talking about melania and the plagiarism story, and my advice to donald trump jr. who is not going to take it and not going to seek it. winners should be gracious and
should be magnanimous. yes, you won. your father won, and you need every single republican you can get under that tent if you are going to build a majority in order to win a general election. there is no need to be haughty. there is no need to be dismissive. they won. they took their victory lap. this is their victory lap and this is the spiking of the football. what he needs to be is the bigger man, be conciliatory because there are a lot of people who may not agree with what ted cruz did here, but do agree with ted cruz's motives and ted cruz's principles and share with ted cruz's doubts about donald trump. >> this is his chance, bakari to bring in more of the country because there are more people watching tonight and that is crucial. >> i'm not sure that donald trump or his campaign team because they're so insulated know how to do. that is his biggest challenge because the challenge is not this room. if they stand up and start cheering, they've been cheering all week for hang her and put her in prison and all these other things. donald trump is not speaking to this room.
he needs to speak to a broader audience and his message of law and order and if he's divisive and singles out african-americans and hispanic, we're going to drill him for that from this point forward. >> if he is going to stick to his usual themes against illegal immigrants, you know, on law and order, i also hope that he finds a good immigrant story to tell. >> that would be powerful if he could do that. >> all of you staying with me, as you hear the music starting we're getting red for the biggest night of the republican convention just moment away from the formal kickoff in cleveland. coming up, ivanka trump, the biggest night of her life, perhaps. her brother tells cnn today she does the princess thing well. so what are we going to see on stage tonight? and an openly gay silicon valley billionaire, prime time speaker tonight leading in to donald trump. a major statement from mr. trump to the republican party. ♪
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we are live from the republican national convention in cleveland. the breaking news moments from now the convention will be called to order. that will kick off formally tonight's prime time festivities as you can see already the music is playing as the delegates are arriving on this most important night for donald trump. he will formally accept the republican nomination in the most important speech of his life and he'll be introduced by his daughter ivanka certainly one of his most trusted advisers. her brother adding quote, she does the princess thing very well and she's immensely close with my father. >> he has never left any doubt about how he feels about his oldest daughter. >> has anyone heard of ivanka? our great ivanka. >> we love ivanka, right? ivanka, famous ivanka. >> ivanka trump calling her speaking slot tonight intimidating and terrifying. >> he's totally left it up to me. i wish he'd given me input, but i think he wants it to come from
my heart. he says you'll do a great job. don't worry. so i'm trying to take that advice. >> it's a role the 34-year-old mother of three has been playing since day one. >> introducing her father as he launched his presidential bid. >> i remember him telling me when i was a little girl, ivanka, if you're going to be thinking anyway you might as well be thinking big. >> campaigning alongside her father and stepping out on her own on the trail. >> he says what he means and he means what he says. >> quickly becoming a key surrogate for the campaign. >> please come out and caucus for my father. he will over deliver. >> widely seen as poised and polished. >> i can tell you firsthand that there's no better person to have in your corner when you're facing tough decisions or tough opponents. >> in trying to smooth out some of her father's rough edges, vouching for him in personal terms.
>> he is nongender specific in his criticism of people, and people that he doesn't particularly like or people that he does like, but thinks they're wrong on a particular issue. >> behind the scene, her impact possibly more significant. >> he respects me, and because i'm candid in my opinion, and i share them, solicited or otherwise. >> reporter: serving as one of trump's key advisers. >> my daughter ivanka says, dad, be presidential. giving her father feedback, telling him at times to tone it down. >> while i do sometimes tell him to withhold some of that sort of fire, i also understand it. >> reporter: ivanka giving input on her father's choice of a running mate in helping to craft key speeches. >> what happens if there is a disagreement because your brothers are also involved in the organization with your dad, your brothers and you? >> i win, of course. >> reporter: within the trump family, she is seen as the favorite. >> who is his favorite? >> no one ivanka.
>> some outside the family considered such a strong asset that her name even came up during the vice presidential search. >> the best running mate by the way, ivanka. i know that would not pass muster, but she's most impressive. >> and ivanka trump certainly seems very aware of the weight of this moment both for her and her father's campaign. she is almost downplaying expectations for her speech tonight in an interview saying that she just hopes to deliver her remarks in an articulate way, adding that if she bombs tonight she hopes that her father won't hold it against her. erin? >> all right. thank you very much. my panel is back with me. you know ivanka personally and her brotheric talking to cnn and i'll quote him again, she does the princess thing very well and she's immensely close to my father. obviously, she's articulate and no question she will be articulate tonight, but will she succeed in humanizing him in showing the depth and emotion of
that relationship? >> i can speak personally because i worked with her day to day that she's an incredibly intelligent businesswoman. she has an incredible mind and the close relationship with her father i can't emphasize it enough, and i think if you ask anybody, they all think that his kids are wonderful. if donald needs to improve in one area is the gender gap because we all know he's dominating with men, but struggling with women. to have ivanka introduce him on a night that everyone is watching, is to say that this is a guy that truly cares about women. >> like donald trump himself, this is the call to order so everyone knows what's happening behind us. reince priebus doing that. this is crucial. he's down double digits with women and this is the night where a let of people who haven't seen her are going to see her. >> we have to remember that throughout the campaign when he's been accused of being misogynist or sexist, she has been the most important surrogate to step out and talk about the way that he raised her
and the way that he encouraged her to find something that she truly loved and go into it, and her most important role is as a sounding board to the extent that there is anyone in the trump family or the organization that can rein him in, pull him back a little bit. she's the one, and sources say that she certainly says that he doesn't always listen to her, but he listens to her a lot and that's why she was so influential in the vice presidential selection process. >> so everyone knows what we're watching you see on the screen, heavenly joy, a 6-year-old girl singing. let's listen in so you can see the very talented little girl. ♪ ♪ let me walk with my brother ♪ in purpose harmony ♪ let peace begin with me
♪ let this be the moment now ♪ with every step i take ♪ let this be my solemn vow ♪ to take each moment and live each moment with peace eternally ♪ ♪ let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me ♪ ♪ ♪ ? a real ovation here, from this room. a little 6-year-old girl singing with a voice a lot more powerful than that of a 6-year-old or of
[ cheers and applause ] >> now donald trump wants to t get -- if he gets the audience going like this i'm sure he'll be pretty happy. >> one of the most unifying moments of the convention. >> yes. absolutely. >> the biggest star we've seen on stage. >> that's the daughter of rodney jen kins, that produced michael jackson, patti labelle, mary j. blige and the list goes on and on. i'm very proud of heavenly joy. >> i found it poignant. this is a 6-year-old african-american girl singing "let peace begin with me" in a day when my hometown in miami an african-american man was shot again today trying to help an autistic man and with his hands up and saying i am not armed. i'm trying to help my patient. i just think it's such a
beautiful, healing moment with so much salt in the wounds this time. >> it certainly was and of course, the colors are going to come out now. i think this is the pomp and circumstance, david, that you appreciate, and the colors come out, the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem. >> not just at conventions, but the republican national committee. >> that's right. that's right. >> about face! present colors! >> to lead us in tonight's pledge of allegiance, please welcome -- it's here, but it's going by fast. the opportunity of the year is back:
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called to order and now we are going to begin the program here for this very, very crucial night for donald trump. we are awaiting the biggest speech of donald trump's life and he will be speaking to the nation to the world and people who have not listened to him before. it is a huge chance for him to win over more voters. moments before his speech, something unprecedented and frankly very unexpected for m y many, a silicon valley billionaire will be taking to the stage, peter thiel. he is going to say he is gay and he is proud of being gay. he will be the first to declare he is gay at the republican national convention and sara murray has been covering this story for us and we'll have more from her in a couple of moments and now i'll go to rick scott of florida who is here with me up on the platform. this big night has begun,
governor. let me start by asking you this. this is a crucial decision. this is high huge speech tonight and the two speeches before that are businessmen obviously which you yourself were before being governor. peter thiel will be speaking openly as a gay republican. i'm gay, i'm a republican and this is the first time this has ever happened, what does that say? >> wouldn't you love to be able to sing as that young girl? >> very, very talented child. >> there will be a lot of great speakers tonight. look, this party is a party that we'll do everything we can to get all of the votes. i think the election's going to be about jobs. i think it's going to be destroying isis and it will be interesting to hear all of these speakers. >> yes, but let me ask you the question directly because this is important. a lot of the independents donald trump wants to win over, they do not agree with the republican party platform on gay rights. they agree with peter thiel, they don't think we should be having discussions about who should be able to use what bathroom. do you agree? >> i've been here since i was
19. i believe in the traditional marriage and the supreme court has made a decision. in my state we are following the supreme court's decisions. we had our gay community attacked in orlando and i'll do everything i can to bring that community back along with the hispanic community that was attacked and make sure everyone feels a part of my state. i don't believe in any discrimination. i want everybody to have the dream of this country and that's what i talked about last night. this election is about the very essence of the american dream. are we going to have it or not? >> donald trump on this issue, he's declared himself the most gay friendly candidate. it was a significant thing to say on the transgender issue. he said anybody can use whatever they want in trump tower. i don't care whether you say you're a man or woman. peter thiel speaking in prime time just before the nominee, donald trump knows what he's going to say. that in and of itself is a very big statement. do you support that statement from your nominee? >> look, i support donald trump. i believe donald trump will be a great president because he will
focus jobs, focus on building our military, supporting our law enforcement and destroying isis. there is say clear choice between donald trump and hillary clinton. she's a career politician, never carried a private sector job, has not supported our military and did not destroy isis and she had an opportunity to destroy isis and she failed. that's why i support donald trump. >> you believe what the law of the land is. you stand by that. you are not offended by peter thiel speaking here? >> absolutely not. i don't want anybody in my state to be discriminated against and i want everyone to live the dream of this country. >> i would be remiss if i didn't ask you about it. some of your republican colleagues have been slamming him for what he said. here are a couple of them including governor chris christie. >> i think it was awful and quite frankly, i think it was selfish. >> this is plain rude. >> he's a fraud and a liar and
he disqualified himself from ever being president of the united states. >> selfish, rude, disqualifying. what word would you use? >> i say these are two candidates. support donald trump. if you are not supporting donald trump you are clearly supporting hillary clinton and we should be here supporting donald trump as our nominee. >> does he need an endorsement from ted cruz? donald trump said to me fine, we don't need it and we have 500 delegates here who supported ted cruz. does that matter? >> you should come to this convention and help unify this party. my goal was to unify the party as part of that and support donald trump. anybody here that's what they should be doing. he's our nominee. it's a clear choice between he and hillary clinton. you have given your speech and a longtime supporter, friend of donald trump. you were very clear about that early on. tonight is the biggest night of his life. >> he's going to do great. >> what advice do you give to him for his speech? >> be himself. they told me when i first ran in 2010.
i'm a business person. they said don't do an ad and don't do anything that you don't believe in because no one would believe you. if donald trump is who he is and speaks from the heart everyone will see it. i believe that's what he's going to do. he cares about his country. look at his kids. aren't you impressed -- >> they have certainly been the stars of this convention. >> yeah. thats a lot about the individual. he cares about them. he cares about my family and your family. he's going to be a great president. >> governor scott, i appreciate it and thank you very much for talking to us and one of the prime time speakers at this convention and out front next, our special edition of "out front" continues here in the convention as the final and most crucial night comes to order in cleveland. how will donald trump handle race relations in america? an african-american pastor a close friend of trump's is my guest. we will be right back.
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trump's career. >> and very crowded. >> everyone, of course, wants to be here, every night it's crowded and tonight there is more energy thus far coming into tonight. >> oh, absolutely. there is energy, and i have to say just walking around here, it is one of those moments where we have all been so caught up in the fact that donald trump has been the front-runner and is now the nominee. we kind of had forgotten that it was 13 months ago that everybody thought this was going to be a joke, and it's not. he's taken the republican party by storm, and i think that he is going to get his due tonight, and it has surprised me, erin, how many people on this floor who never thought they would support somebody who used to be pro-choice, who used to be for universal health care, supporting him for the republican nomination, for the white house. >> when you think about it, this speech and what we understand is donald trump jr. used the word
to me when i was trying to describe it as disciplined, but that is a relative term for donald trump. i'm sure that means obviously we understand it will be 45 minutes as jim acosta has been reporting, but there will, i'm sure, be those moments when you get the faces and the gesticulations and the mimics and the miming that he might do. disciplined for donald trump means sticking to script, right? and it is going to be hard to see if that happens especially when -- look, he's used to interactive crowds. that's what his rallies are like and as you can see back here, it's a pretty riled-up crowd. check it out. the texas delegation, you can see them moving their hats and they're sort of getting ready to dance. this is what a convention generally feels like and the buildup has been a little slower, but it's here now. >> and what about the whole fallout from ted cruz and that situation today? a pretty stunning moment obvi s obviously last night and today
ted cruz doubling down and making it personal and saying he came out and maligned my father and my wife and i'm not in the habit for supporting someone who does that. but there are some conservative publications that have come to his defense and that is significant because donald trump needs that conservative base to win. >> the conservative publications like "the national review," and "the weekly standard," they were a hard core never trump camp and they absolutely didn't move. i found one person here, erin, one person out of maybe 20 to 30 that i've talked to, maybe more who were cruz supporters who thought he did the right thing and they hoped he had endorsed. >> dana bash, thank you very much. as this final night begins of the republican national convention in cleveland as we get ready for donald trump's crucial speech tonight we hand it off to "a.c. 360." ♪
and good evening, everybody. we are live in cleveland where donald trump will appear on stage tonight and give the most important speech of his life. i'm anderson cooper. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. donald trump about to face a huge audience and an enormous challenge on this closing night of the republican national convention. presidential nominee expected to deliver a message of unity just hours after his party's divisions were on public display in this hall as ted cruz refused to endorse him. tonight ivanka trump will help republicans try to keep the focus electing her father and lending her star power to the convention finale. this is donald trump's night, no doubt about it and we'll be watching from the studio and the skybox on the other side of the arena. wolf blitzer is there. >> this has been an unconventional convention as trump promised and not only because he planned it that way. we have an unprecedented moment. peter thiel and silicon valley
tycoon and trump supporter plans to tell republicans that he's openly gay and shined away has they refuse to accept lgbt rights and the unprecedented ted cruz drama. today cruz remains defiant to speak at his convention and not support him. jake tapper will be with us all night. what are we looking look as we go forward. >> first, let's just take a moment. one year ago today if you had told anyone except for maybe donald, eric, don jr., and ivanka and donald trump was about to accept the nomination for the presidency beating what was imperikly what was the most gifted and deep benches of republican governors, senators and otherwise, to run for president in generations, there are very few people that would have believed you and not only did he do it, he did it
overwhelmi overwhelmingly, and he did it while sometimes often at odds with the republican establishment and he did so by breaking almost every single rule that people like you and i thought were fairly established rules. it is an unbelievable moment in american history. >> it certainly is. i'm not even sure donald trump himself believed that he was going to get the republican presidential nomination. we have a lot more to discuss. our political team is spread out across this huge arena. let's go to cnn's sara murray. she is on the convention floor for us right now. sara, what are you anticipating? >> well, wolf, i spoke to someone close to donald trump today who says it is critical, critical that after what we've seen in this convention donald trump delivers a solid speech tonight, but this person said ivanka trump's speech might be just as important as her father's tonight. she can offer a humanizing perspective. she can flush out who he is as a man. that was their main goal at this
convention and it is something that was overshadowed throughout the week by controversy after controversy. in talking to this person, of course, the goal is for donald trump to deliver a speech that they say is presidential, is steady and strong, but even people close to him say there is still a little heartburn. there are still lingering doubts. you never know if donald trump could set off a firestorm because according to this person, of course, donald trump can always go off-script. >> i want to go to jim acosta also here on the convention floor. jim, what are you hearing? >> reporter: wolf, getting to what sara was just saying, yes, i talked to a source inside the trump campaign who said that the main worry inside the campaign at this point is this, can donald trump stick to the script? it has been a challenge for him throughout this campaign, and there are republicans, high-level republicans in this party who have been clamoring for discipline. we do know that donald trump will be delivering a 45-minute speech. he will use teleprompters. he used to mock hillary clinton
for using the teleprompters, but after the calls for discipline he started using them himself and when you talk to people inside the trump campaign they'll say he's gotten better at this, and i talked to another trump campaign source who said that after this week that they've had, a week that some inside the campaign will acknowledge has been bumpy, it is very important, critical that donald trump deliver a strong performance tonight, wolf. >> jim acosta, thanks very much. dana bash, you are on the floor, as well. this place already is rocking. >> reporter: it sure is. this is the energy that we normally see in campaigns and just to dovetail off of what jake said at the top of the show, if you would have told these people here and across the floor where we are that they would be supporting a presidential nominee for the gop who at one time was for abortion rights, was for universal health care and for a whole host of other liberal issues that were
non-starters for even the most qualified of candidates in the past they would have told you no way, but here we have a lot of people dancing in the aisles ready to unite behind donald trump, and i think that's something that, frankly, surprised me walking through the aisles here, talking to scores of delegates all week long. i expected more division. i expected more reluctance and even the people who i've spoken to who supported ted cruz or marco rubio or john kasich from the get go, most of them say that you know what? we're republicans. we want to beat hillary clinton and we're going to get behind donald trump. it's a self-selecting crowd. a lot of people who said were never trumpers didn't show up, but these are important people for donald trump. they seem excited and they're going go home and they're going to vote for him. >> dana, thank you. >> jerry falwell jr., who
earlier endorsed donald trump will be the first speaker. >> the ability of donald trump for those of us who lived in the northeast in the '80s and '90s was a tabloid king because of his personal life, one that would not have passed muster with reverend falwell, the ability of mr. trump to win over christian conservatives, voters and leaders in this primary season has been one of the most remarkable things that has been part of this campaign. he has not led the lifestyle that one would typically assume evangelical conservatives would support and yet he has convinced them that the system is so messed up, and that he wants to be a good christian, and he has won them over, most of them. >> evangelical support he got especially in those southern states helped propel him to win the nomination. >> absolutely. and while there has been a great deal of suspense last night, we all wondered what is ted cruz going to say?
i have to feel the suspense i'm feeling right now is what is donald trump going to say tonight? is he going to rise for this moment? i think there are a lot of people out there and a lot of political experts who acknowledge that this could be a very, very tight race and donald trump could theoretically win and he could be the next president. will he rise to the moment? that's a big question. >> it's probably, i'm sure, it's the most important speech he's got to give, but let's listen in to jerry falwell jr., who is our first speaker. >> thank you. i am so honored and humbled to be here tonight. in 1984 my father stood at this convention and offered the opening prayer before our party's candidate ronald reagan went on to accept the nomination and win in a landslide. a little over 30 years later i stand here with the sincerest
prayer that history is about to repeat itself with the election of donald j. trump. you know, most of our nation's founders had strong faith as i do in our lord and savior jesus christ. my family has lived in virginia since the 1600s and in the lynchburg, virginia, area since 1834. my wife becky is a descendant of george washington's family. every day i drive past popular forest, the summer home of thomas jefferson who wrote in the declaration of independence we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable right, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. our founding fathers envisioned a government that existed only
to protect these god-given rights, and a nation governed by citizen legislators. the most effective politicians were never career politicians, but surveyors, architect, ministers, farmers, businessmen and even actors who were successful in the private sector before serving in government. donald trump follows in this rich tradition. he has created jobs for thousands and is one of the greatest visionaries of our time. [ cheers and applause ] >> i first supported mr. trump after i spent 20 years as a young lawyer working with my father to restore liberty university to financial health. since 2007 liberty has become the largest and most prosperous christian university in the world.
and i am convinced that donald trump can work that same magic for a nation with $19 trillion in debt. my family and i have grown to love and respect the trumps for other reasons. we have never met such a genuine and loving family. i truly believe mr. trump is america's blue collar billionaire. he is down to earth. he loves america, and the american people. he is a -- he is a true patriot, and a champion of the common man. mr. trump has added a plank to this party's platform to repeal irs rules sponsored by lyndon johnson in 1954 barring churches and non-profits from expressing
political free speech. conservative universities in churches, however, have been investigated while authorities have too often turned a blind eye toward liberal groups including universities where left-wing ideology is so pervasive that they have, in effect, become democratic voter indoctrination camps. trust me, the repeal of the johnson amendment will create a huge revolution for conservative christians and for free speech. >> we are at a crossroads where our first priority must be saving our nation. we must unite behind donald trump and mike pence.
[ applause ] if you are a conservative a decision not to vote or to vote for a third-party candidate is a defacto vote for hillary clinton. >> if hillary clinton is allowed to appoint the next few supreme court justices, that in itself can be a fatal blow to our republic. on the other hand, a vote for donald trump is a vote to uphold the second amendment right to bear arms. a vote for trump is a vote committed to destruction of the state of israel from becoming a nuclear power. a vote for trump is a vote to appoint conservative pro-life justices to the supreme court.
in the days before my father passed away in 2007 he joked with cnn that he dreamed that chelsea clinton had interviewed him about the three greatest threats facing this nation. he replied those three greatest threats are osama, obama and your mama. >> well, osama is now. obama has six months left in his term -- [ cheers and applause ] >> and the only way to make america great and one again is to tell chelsea's mama you're fired.
>> and the only way to do that is to elect donald trump and mike pence president and vice president of the united states. >> thank you. god bless you, and god bless america. >> from maricopa county in arizona, please welcome sheriff joe arpaio. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you. thank you. thank you, arizona and chairman robert graham. thank you. thank you. thank you.
you know -- i have spent 55 years in law enforcement 55 years i've always regarded my work, mission is critical, but my most important mission has just begun to help elect donald trump. president of the united states. the stakes are high. we need a strong leader who will stand up for america and put the interests of her citizens first. unfortunately, we are losing the battle. we are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of ours. we are more concerned with the rights of illegal aliens and
criminals than we are with protecting our own country. that must change. we need a leader who will protect our border and enforce our laws because a nation without borders and a nation without laws is no nation at all. and now more than ever we must respect -- have respect for the police. we -- we must give them the tools and the support they need to do their jobs. the highest levels of government must have our backs as they risk their lives every single day to perform their jobs and protect our citizens.
as someone who for 35 years has been a top law enforcement official, living and working on both sides of the border, i can tell you firsthand about the dangers of illegal immigration and drugs. we have terrorists coming over our border, infiltrating our communities and causing massive destruction and mayhem. we have criminals penetrating our weak border security system and committing serious crime. i am supporting donald trump because he is a leader. he produces results, he's the only candidate for president ready to get tough in order to protect americans. tohave fought on the front lines