On this, his biggest night of the Republican National Convention, the question was which Donald J. Trump would show up — the generous, caring, warm-hearted, person described by his friends and family, or the slashing, bragging, biting, mocking, vain and thin-skinned president we have come to know.
Always the showman and master of TV, after being introduced by daughter Ivanka, he made his entrance with Melania down a curved stairway from the balcony, mimicking the iconic escalator ride he took to announce his candidacy five years ago. In a deep blue suit and regimental blue tie with red stripes, he looked relaxed, confident. . . Presidential.
His was a long speech that seemed even longer because he stayed on the TelePrompTer and didn’t treat the audience (seated on folding chairs without social distance) to some of the wild verbal loop de loops that come when he starts to wing it.
What we got was pretty much his standard stump speech, mostly low key, and mostly a laundry list of accomplishments, most of which were mentioned by earlier speakers, but, yeah, he gets to recite them, too.
Since he had an audience, this was the one event in either convention to feel like a convention, with people cheering and leaping to their feet. Also better-then-Biden fireworks at the end, with some spelling out “2020.“
Traditional acceptance speeches by incumbents usually lay out what they will do in the next four years, as the candidates re-applies for the job.
Trump did none of that until the end, and then it was a long paragraph. Some of the new items included landing a woman on the Moon, planting our flag on Mars, creating 10 million jobs in 10 months, further reducing taxes and regulations, bringing back our medical supply chains, and banning Sanctuary Cities, which I don’t think he can do.
His undisputed list of achievements in his first four years include a big tax cut, smashing regulations, appointing almost 300 federal judges, two Supreme Court appointments, a great economy (until coronavirus), record low unemployment, building up the military, improving the V.A., prison reform, the Space Force, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, U.S. energy independence, record funding to Black colleges, replacing NAFTA with USMCA, breaking some other treaties, and rescuing hostages from unfriendly hands.
Well, enough with the unpaid PR.
Here’s a phrase you will be hearing more of: The best is yet to come.
Here is another: Joe Biden is a Trojan horse for socialism.
Trump, and others, repeatedly referred to the Democrats as radical socialists, but Trump was so presidential he didn’t once refer to him as Slow Joe. Or Sleepy Joe.
He did say at the Democratic convention, “Joe Biden and his party repeatedly assailed America as a land of racial, economic, and social injustice.” In that case, he asked, “How can the Democrat Party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?”
In what I will call the undercard, Ivanka did a good job of warming up the crowd for her father, who she called “the people’s president,” whose tweets are “a bit unfiltered.“
The biggest emotional punch of the night came from Carl and Marsha Mueller, whose daughter Kayla was the humanitarian social worker kidnapped by ISIS and held for 18 months. The Muellers held up a picture of their daughter while relating that she was tortured and repeatedly raped before being murdered. They held President Barack Obama responsible for not rescuing her, nor allowing them to negotiate with the terrorists, which is against U.S. law. I think they were unfair, but I have never been in their shoes.
In the first hour there was a video tribute to the American Athlete, with a lot of action shots, and video of championship teams meeting with the president in the White House. There was no mention of teams that declined that honor.
Nor was there any mention during the evening of the American athletes who are currently boycotting their sports.
On the other hand, there was a lot of mention of unrest, riots and violence in U.S. cities run by Democrats, but the briefest mention of racial injustice.
Each party has nominated a white, male septuagenarian.
May the best man win.