CLEVELAND -- On the night when it mattered most, Donald Trump harnessed the power of his populist campaign rhetoric and turned it into a potent, structured speech in which he contended that he — and he alone — understands voters’ angst in a frightening, rapidly changing world.
“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves,” the 70-year-old billionaire New York developer said.
“Nobody knows the system better than me,” he added, pausing for laughs and dramatic effect, “which is why I alone can fix it.”
Trump accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination Thursday in Cleveland, a little more than a year after launching an insurrectional candidacy that overwhelmed 16 other candidates and upended the modern GOP.
He reveled in retelling the story of his improbable White House bid, decrying a political class whose campaigns he helped fund for years and a news media that gave singular attention to his celebrity candidacy.
“America is a nation of believers, dreamers and strivers that is being led by a group of censors, critics, and cynics,” Trump said. “Remember: All of the people telling you that you can’t have the country you want are the same people telling you that I wouldn’t be standing here tonight.”
Though toned down and scripted, Trump still sounded like his blunt, blustery self, speaking in direct and often-short sentences and offering a grim picture of America.
Photo credit: J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press