Cleveland, July 19 (IANS) The Republican National Convention began on Monday in Cleveland, Ohio, for the purpose of officially designating real estate mogul Donald Trump as the party’s candidate for the November 8 elections to the White House.
“Welcome to the 2016 Republican National Convention,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said to open the meeting at the Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland, which is shielded by more than 3,000 policemen providing security for the conclave, Efe news reported.
Priebus asked for a moment of silence in honour of the five police officers gunned down by a sniper in Dallas last July 7, and for the three officers who lost their lives the same way this Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Some 50,000 people are attending the convention, of whom about 15,000 are reporters and other media personnel.
Also at the opening day of the convention, which ends next Thursday, are some 5,000 delegates representing the country’s 50 states, the District of Colombia and five US territories.
Those delegates will be in charge of formalising this Thursday Trump’s designation as the party’s Presidential candidate, who will then contest the election with Democratic ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will in turn be nominated next week at her party’s convention in Philadelphia.
The debates at Monday’s meeting, which has as its theme “Make America Safe Again”, will focus on issues of security, including the war on terrorism, a subject Trump has dealt with extensively in his campaign, during which he has presented himself and his running mate Mike Pence as “the law and order candidates”.
Among the speakers at the convention on Monday will be Trump’s wife, the former Slovene model Melania Knauss.
The magnate let it be known that he will be there for his wife’s speech.
“I’d love to be there when my wife speaks. So the answer is yes, I will be there,” the New York multimillionaire said in an interview on Fox News on Monday, adding that “I’ll bet she gives a great speech. She’s worked hard on it.”
The Republican National Convention kicked off after Trump announced last Friday that his running mate and Vice-Presidential candidate will be Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
The convention began in an air of tension, partly because of the murders of police officers on Sunday in Louisiana, and partly because of the many protests expected during the conclave.