Donald Trump Basks in Convention ‘Love’ (and Rips Ted Cruz)

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July 22, 2016

CLEVELAND, OHIO — Donald J. Trump lashed out at Senator Ted Cruz on Friday, rehashing a long list grievances from their primary battle during a news conference here only hours after he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination at a weeklong convention meant to unite the party.

July 22, 2016

CLEVELAND, OHIO — Donald J. Trump lashed out at Senator Ted Cruz on Friday, rehashing a long list grievances from their primary battle during a news conference here only hours after he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination at a weeklong convention meant to unite the party.

Donald J. Trump, who accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president on Thursday, continued talking about the convention on Friday before leaving Cleveland.

After bragging that he had unified the party in one of the most “love-filled” conventions in political history, Mr. Trump launched an extended diatribe against Mr. Cruz, who pointedly declined to endorse him during his own convention speech on Wednesday night, instead urging people to vote their conscience. The speech embarrassed Mr. Trump and cast a shadow of discord over the convention, which had already been marred by plagiarism in Mr. Trump’s wife’s speech Monday night.

 “I don’t want his endorsement,” Mr. Trump said angrily, in a rambling stream-of-consciousness performance that seemed half standup routine, half vengeful diatribe. “If he gives it, I won’t accept it.”

The remarks were a remarkable display of lingering tension within the party and Mr. Trump’s own inability to let go of grudges from the past.

They also represented a seemingly inevitable reappearance of Mr. Trump’s irrepressible id; The Republican nominee, having spoken from a teleprompter for more than an hour Thursday evening for the final night of his convention, seemed almost incapable of restraining himself any longer as the campaign moved to its next phase.

“Now it was the summer of Trump, it was the autumn of Trump, it was as the Christmas of Trump,” Mr. Trump said, with characteristic braggadocio. “It was everything.”

Clearly still stung by Mr. Cruz’s actions, Mr. Trump ruminated aloud about why the senator from Texas would not back him. He recalled their personal fights during the nominating fight, including the unflattering picture that Mr. Trump reposted on Twitter of Mr. Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and he defended his suggestion that Mr. Cruz’s father might have had a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, citing a report in The National Enquirer.

“This is a magazine that frankly in many respects should be very respected,” Mr. Trump said of the tabloid.

Mr. Trump’s comments about Heidi Cruz — which prompted an audible gasp from a member of his traveling press corps as he began his riff — is also likely to remind voters that he attacked Mr. Cruz’s wife during the nominating contest. Mr. Trump is already struggling to woo female voters, who still view himself overwhelmingly negatively, polls show.

Trying to explain away the incident also left him in the slightly uncomfortable situation of mentioning Penthouse, a risqué magazine known for its nude photographs, as Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, Mr. Trump’s running mate and a mild-mannered social conservative, stood looking on just behind him. (He mentioned the magazine in asserting that a nearly nude picture of his wife, Melania, was “artsy” and in GQ, which he said was hardly Penthouse.

The Republican nominee also quipped that as president he might form a “super PAC” to challenge Mr. Cruz, before questioning the ethics of such a move. And he said that Mr. Cruz did not know how to properly use his intellect.

“He’s got good intellect but he doesn’t know how to use it and he was a good debater but he didn’t do well in the debates against me,” Mr. Trump said.

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump said that the convention had been a raging success and that the party was, in fact, coming together.

“That was unity,” Mr. Trump said from a downtown hotel here with Mr. Pence standing behind him. “The party has just come together.”

Though Mr. Pence briefly introduced Mr. Trump in what was billed as a goodbye reception for supporters, Mr. Trump called up on stage Dan Scavino Jr. — his social media director who took responsibility for a Star of David post on Twitter last month — before finally allowing his own running mate to address the crowd.

Mr. Trump also praised Corey Lewandowski, his former campaign manager whom he fired last month, before turning to key members of his current staff, including Paul Manafort, who now runs the Trump campaign and who often feuded with Mr. Lewandowski.

“Corey Lewandowski was great,” Mr. Trump said. “And he’s been very loyal, he’s been on CNN and he’s really been fighting for me, which is very nice, and I respect that.”

Mr. Pence, whose brief, humble remarks offered a stark contrast with those of Mr. Trump, largely struck a posture of benevolent amusement, standing at Mr. Trump’s shoulder and chuckling lightly through the more provocative parts of his rant.

Mr. Trump, seemingly in jest, also suggested that he might fault Mr. Pence should he not win the White House in November. “I ran as an outsider, I didn’t want anybody — Now I have guys like Mike Pence,” he said. “See now if I don’t win, I’m going to blame Mike, right?”

“We have to blame Mike,” he added, as the small crowd in the small hotel ballroom chuckled uncertainly.


Courtesy: NY Times

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