Donald Trump accepts US presidential nomination vowing to put America first, renegotiate trade deals

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Melania Trump stands with husband and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21.
Melania Trump stands with husband and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump after his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21. PHOTO: REUTERS
Protesters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands amongst supporters as they watch him speak on a television in the street near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21.
Protesters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands amongst supporters as they watch him speak on a television in the street near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21.PHOTO: REUTERS
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer as they watch him speak on a television in the street near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21.
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer as they watch him speak on a television in the street near the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 21.PHOTO: REUTERS
Ivanka Trump waves to the crowd as she walks on stage to deliver a speech during the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Ivanka Trump waves to the crowd as she walks on stage to deliver a speech during the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.PHOTO: AFP
Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves during the evening session as Barron Trump (left) looks on on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21.
Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves during the evening session as Barron Trump (left) looks on on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21.PHOTO: AFP

New York billionaire Donald Trump promised to put America first and globalism on the backburner if elected president of the United States as he accepted the Republican nomination, bringing down the curtain on his party's convention.

In a long, rambling speech filled with numerous promises, he also said he would work to block the Trans -Pacific Partnership (TPP) signed earlier this year by twelve countries including Singapore, Malaysia and the United States, and to "renegotiate our horrible trade agreements with China" and many others.

"As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America first, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect, the respect that we deserve," he said.

To occasional cheers and chants from the crowd, the 70-year-old Mr Trump spoke for one hour and 15 minutes, said by US networks to be the longest such acceptance speech for a presidential nomination in 40 years.

 

Most notably for countries in Asia, he hit out at current trade policies of the United States.

"No longer will we enter into these massive transactions, with many countries, that are thousands of pages long - and which no one from our country even reads or understands," he said. "We are going to enforce all trade violations against any country that cheats, including through the use of taxes and tariffs, against any country that cheats."

Pundits noted that such positions sharply deviated from the traditional Republican platform. China, in particular, came in for a pointed attack from the controversial candidate.

"This includes stopping China's outrageous theft of intellectual property, along with their illegal product dumping, and their devastating currency manipulation," Mr Trump said.

"Our horrible trade agreements with China and many others, will be totally renegotiated. That includes renegotiating NAFTA to get a much better deal for America - and we'll walk away if we don't get that kind of a deal. Our country is going to start building and making things again."

At such points, Mr Trump's speech was interrupted by chants of  "USA, USA" by the crowd,  and he applauded himself.  He also doubled down on his infamous pledge to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, and restrict immigration of people from Middle Eastern countries.

Mr Trump had started speaking by promising to transform the United States into a country of generosity, even as he makes it a bastion of law and order.

"Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace," he said. "We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order."

Then, however, Mr Trump's tone turned dark as he spoke of the woman he will face in November's presidential election, Hillary Clinton, who will accept the Democrat's presidential nomination at their convention in Philadelphia next week.

"Let’s review the record. In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map. Libya was cooperating. Egypt was peaceful. Iraq was seeing a reduction in violence. Iran was being choked by sanctions. Syria was under control," he began.

"After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the world. Libya is in ruins, and our Ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos."

Mr Trump continued: "Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis that now threatens the West. After fifteen years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before."

"This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness," he said, putting emphasis on the last three words. 

Mr Trump also said he would come to the aid of the country's neglected, without giving details how he planned to do it.

"Every day I wake up determined to deliver for the people I have met all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned," he said. 

"I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country, and they are forgotten but they're not gonna be forgotten long.These are the people who work hard but no longer have a voice."

Then the billionaire, whose businesses and refusal to release his tax returns have started to come under scrutiny, said: "I am your voice." 

The Republican Convention has been staged here in this bustling northeast Ohio hub and, notably, stronghold of the opposing Democrats, over four days with a massive security presence from Homeland Security and police forces across the US and little of the trouble from protesters that was expected but he noted that it occurs at a moment of crisis for the US.

"The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life," said Mr Trump. "Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.

Early reaction to the speech was largely negative . One of CNN's most staunch Republican analysts reported receiving texts from Republicans legislators that they were "embarrased" by their party's choice of presidential candidate, that Mr Trump  sounded liked a "fear-monger" .. "this is not Republicanism".  

As in the previous nights of the convention, a member of Mr Trump's family, daughter Ivanka, took the stage to paint him as a wonderful father and brilliant businessmen and, in sharp contrast, her speech was praised by the media. 

She said her father was “colourblind and gender neutral” and hires “the best person” for a job. “At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives.When a woman becomes a mother she is supported, not shut out.

“I have seen him fight for his family. I have seen him fight for his employees,"  said the 34-year-old businesswoman. "I have seen him fight for his company and now I am seeing him fight for our country."

Ms Trump then introduced him to cheers from the delegates gathered from across the US at the Quicken Loans Arena for the final night of their party's political convention.

Reuters noted: "Social media crowned a new political star. Some Republicans said they were seeing the US president they longed for.

"It was Ivanka Trump’s night."