The Republican convention, which will formally coronate billionaire Donald Trump as the party’s presidential candidate, will kick off here amid tight security and heightened tensions following a series of shootings in the US.
Sleuths of security forces and secret service agents have converged on the city and huge make-shift iron walls have come up several blocks around the Quicken Loans Arena where Republican National Convention would be held over the next few days – July 18 to July 21.
The Convention which kicks off tomorrow is aimed at Americans to “get to know Donald Trump the man” rather than Trump the candidate, his top campaign aide said here yesterday.
A different and new image of Trump, a successful businessman and a great human being, would be narrated through the personal stories of people who have known him and worked with him throughout the past several decades and along with his own family members, his campaign manager Paul Manafort said.
Manafort said the line to speakers have been selected in such a way which so that “Americans would get to know Trump the man” and not the candidate.
“They’re going to see more of the man. I mean, they’ve seen him on the campaign trail, but they haven’t seen him in the back, in the boardrooms. They haven’t seen him up close and personal. They have a perspective of the man, but this convention is going to focus on the whole part of the personality,” Manafort said.
Trump, 70, is scheduled to arrive in the city today, but is unlikely to address the convention which would have a theme beginning with “Make America Safe Again”.
Main speakers as per the list announced are Melania Trump, Lieutenant General (ret) Michael Flynn, Senator Joni Ernst, Jason Beardsley and Congressman Ryan Zinke.
“A Donald Trump administration will listen to and learn from our nation’s heroes who have put themselves in harm’s way and pursue a national security strategy and foreign policy that will strengthen our military and make America safe again,” the Republican Convention said in a statement.
“You’re going to have his family speaking. You’re going to have friends who have known him speaking. You’re going to have people who have worked with him both inside the company and outside of the company. And so you’re going to see how he’s built his successful empire,” Manafort said.
Strongly refuting the allegations that the party is divided, Manafort said the Republican was united under Trump.
“It is a Trump convention. The delegates on the floor are going to be his delegates. More importantly, the message is going to be his. The platform that was passed in this past week that will be adopted by the convention,” Manafort said.
Trump will deliver the acceptance speech on Thursday night when the theme is “Make America One Again.” Other speakers on that day are Peter Thiel, Tom Barrack and Ivanka Trump. “America faces serious challenges at home and threats from abroad. In order to turn our challenges into opportunities and keep America secure, we need leadership that will focus on what unites us, not what divides us,” a statement said.
“Donald Trump will move our country beyond the divisive identity politics that have been holding us back by restoring leadership, building trust, and focusing on our shared love of country and our common goal of making America great again,” it said.
Thousands of Republican supporters from across the country have started arriving in the city along with the party delegates.
Several thousand protesters along with the anti-Trump movement have also come to the city to hold peaceful protest rallies every day.
A Multi-Agency Coordinating Center (MACC) has been set up which is staffed by representatives from participating law enforcement and public safety agencies.
A total of 74 different agencies providing security have been pressed into service. They would serve as the central 24-hour communications and coordination hub throughout the event.
While no official figures are available, it is estimated that several thousand law enforcement officials and those from security agencies have been roped into the city for the event to help the Cleveland Police.
The Department of Homeland Security has deployed nearly 3,000 personnel from more than two dozen components and subcomponents, including Transportation Security Administration, US Customs and Border Protection, the National Protection and Programs Directorate and the US Coast Guard.
These personnel will work closely with federal, state and local partners, including the Cleveland Police, to ensure the safety and security of convention, a statement said.
The activities in the city are also being monitored through satellite and helicopters.
Anticipating that there would be scores of protests in various parts of the city, during which they expect that a number of people would be arrested, all pending municipal court cases have been suspended to make way for near round-the-clock arraignments of protesters.
A 29-year-old African American gunman shot three police officers dead in Baton Rouge in Louisiana yesterday.
Micah Johnson, a black military veteran, killed five police officers and injured nine others in another shooting incident in Dallas on July 7.