New York Times: ‘Vehement...Extreme...Incendiary’ Trump Crowned at ‘Dark...Toxic’ RNC

July 22nd, 2016 12:31 PM

The final night of the Republican National Convention that crowned Donald Trump as the party’s nominee was greeted in dark tones on the front of Friday’s final edition (as if that failed to fit the current mood of the country) while Adam Nagourney lamented "one of the darker speeches I’ve heard in American politics," and MIchael Barbaro said Trump had failed "to escape his own caricature."

Reporters Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin found a “vehement” and “incendiary” candidate in “Trump, as Nominee, Vows: ‘I Am Your Voice.’

Donald John Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday night with an unusually vehement appeal to Americans who feel that their country is spiraling out of control and yearn for a leader who will take aggressive, even extreme, actions to protect them.


With dark imagery and an almost angry tone, Mr. Trump portrayed the United States as a diminished and even humiliated nation, and offered himself as an all-powerful savior who could resurrect the country’s standing in the eyes of both enemies and law-abiding Americans.

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” an ominous-sounding Mr. Trump said, standing against a backdrop of American flags. “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life. Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”


Evoking the tumult of the 1960s and the uncertainty that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Mr. Trump made a sharp departure from the optimistic talk about American possibility that has characterized Republican presidential candidates since Ronald Reagan redefined the party over 30 years ago. In promoting his hard-line views on crime, immigration and hostile nations, Mr. Trump was wagering that voters would embrace his style of populism and his promises of safety if they feel even less secure by Election Day.

But his speech -- the longest, at an hour and 15 minutes, since at least 1972 -- had relatively little new to offer women, Hispanics, blacks and others who have been turned off by Mr. Trump’s incendiary brand of politics. He did sound like a different sort of Republican at times, though, making no mention of abortion -- a core issue for many Republicans -- and saying of his support among evangelical voters, “I’m not sure I totally deserve it.”


The party staged a convention that reflected just how fractured it is. There were, to be sure, effective attacks on the character and record of Mrs. Clinton, whose unpopularity among modern presidential nominees is exceeded only by Mr. Trump’s. But some of the anti-Clinton language spilled into ugliness and catcalls. The party at times seemed unified only around a shared determination to imprison the former secretary of state.

Reporter Michael Barbaro’s front-page “news analysis,” “Failed Chance To Humanize Outsize Image” revealed himself flabbergasted by Trump’s failure to show  “humility, generosity and depth.”

It was Donald J. Trump’s best chance to escape his own caricature. He did not.

After 40 years in the public eye, Mr. Trump decided on Thursday night that he was not interested in revealing himself to America with disarming tales of his upbringing, hard-earned lessons from his tumultuous career or the inner struggles masked by his outward pomposity.

In the most consequential speech of his life, delivered 401 days into his improbable run for the White House, Mr. Trump sounded much like the unreflective man who had started it with an escalator ride in the lobby of Trump Tower: He conjured up chaos and promised overnight solutions.

To an electorate that remains anxious about his demeanor, his honesty and his character, Mr. Trump offered no acknowledgment, no rebuttal, no explanation.

It was a speech that might be remembered, ultimately, as much for what it lacked as for what it contained -- and for the message those absences seemed to convey: He is content with the angry voters he has won, who thunderously cheered him on here, and indifferent about wooing those he has not.

For those grasping for new signs of humility, generosity and depth, Mr. Trump offered the thinnest of reeds.


Campaign speechwriters from both parties were stupefied.


But Mr. Trump, even at 70, seems constitutionally incapable of, or stubbornly averse to, capturing and conveying the complexities of his existence.

Barbaro contrasted the unreflective brute Trump with his flawed but human opponent Hillary Clinton.

But Mrs. Clinton, whose convention next week will extensively mine her biography, has started to undertake the humbling repair work that many Republicans had hoped Mr. Trump would begin on Thursday.

She has admitted some mistakes, conceded that many Americans do not trust her, and acknowledged her role in the partisan warfare that has alienated many voters.

The Times’ live blogging of the convention proceedings Thursday night continued the dark drumbeat, especially during and after Trump’s acceptance speech. Reporter Adam Nagourney even cited the unlikely Times-approved Republican role model Ronald Reagan (whose rhetorical sunniness was often mocked by the liberal media) to better paint Thursday night in dark shades.

Adam Nagourney pre-speech: “I will tell you that in the hall, it seems, at least so far, negative, angry and dark. Conventional strategy says that he should turn optimistic at some point, give people hope. Best case: Reagan.”

Maggie Haberman on Trump’s speech: “This is not a future vision so far. This is a recitation of why things are awful.”Alan Rappeport lamented in response: “We’ve come a long way from hope and change.”

Later Haberman re-emphasized the dark tone: “This tableau of American colors and balloons and confetti is tremendously festive despite the dark tone of the speech. A jolting contrast.”

Nagourney underlined: “That was one of the darker speeches I’ve heard in American politics, especially the immigrant and cop-killing stuff. This has the potential to be a very divisive campaign. I’m not going to try to guess right now how it plays out, but it is certainly different from what successful presidential candidates have done in the past.”

Haberman: “It’s already been pretty toxic.”