Story highlights

Republican Party convention took place this week in Cleveland

Speakers on the final night included Donald and Ivanka Trump

CNN —  

CNN Opinion contributors offer their takes on the final day of the Republican Party convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump’s speech, and what this week has meant for the Republican Party. The views expressed are the writers’ own.

David Gergen: A vision for the Apocalypse?

David Gergen
David Gergen

Give credit where it is due: Donald Trump delivered the best constructed and best rhetorical speech of his campaign as he accepted the GOP nomination Thursday night. Moreover, he must have taken great pride in his children, two of whom – Donald Jr. and Ivanka – gave the best speeches of the entire gathering. Father and children together rescued a convention that had many stumbles.

But Trump’s acceptance address was also deeply disturbing. This was my 20th political convention, and I cannot remember one where the nominee was so angry, divisive and resentful.

Repeatedly he whipped his audience into a frenzy with charges that were misleading (for example, he is right that Americans feel less safe than they should but he painted an apocalyptic picture of crime in the streets when in truth, we are witnessing a rise of crime from historic lows).

Trump said up front that he was humbled and he called for generosity, but then continually boasted about his prowess and launched harsh, relentless attacks on his foes. He made a long litany of promises but mostly avoided telling us how he would fulfill them. These are not the qualities of great presidents.

Earlier in the week, his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, said that in reviewing past acceptance addresses, Trump focused most on Richard Nixon’s acceptance in 1968, when RN famously presented himself as the law and order candidate and proclaimed himself champion of “forgotten Americans.” Put aside for a moment the oddness of choosing that role model.