Donald J. Trump officially became the Republican presidential nominee Tuesday evening, as the convention crowd celebrated not just the naming of a standard-bearer, but the welcomed end of a primary campaign that has forced the party to confront its own future.
The moment seemed to mark a turning point for the candidate and his party.
“Congratulations, Dad, we love you!” Donald Trump Jr. said in casting the votes for the Trumps’ home state of New York that officially made him the nominee.
Later, Trump himself addressed the convention via video from New York.
“Together we’ve achieved historic results, with the largest vote total in the history of the Republican Party,” he said. “This is a movement, but we have to go all the way. I’m so proud to be your nominee for president of the United States. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you on Thursday night on how we build a brighter and more hopeful future for all Americans.”
Two of Trump’s children spoke from the convention stage, with daughter Tiffany giving a moving description of life with Donald Trump as a father.
“I have admired my father all of my life, and I love him with all of my heart,” she said.
Both Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr. served to humanize their father, giving voters a glimpse of life with him outside of politics.
“He’s always helped me be the best version of myself, by encouragement and by example,” Tiffany Trump said, sharing stories of her father writing notes on her report cards or calling to check on her. “He motivates me to work my hardest and always stay true to who I am and what I believe.”
Trump’s campaign managed to avoid a replay of Monday, when a floor fight erupted over the convention’s rules. It was considered a precursor to a possible insurgent attempt to challenge Trump’s nomination, but the effort never materialized. Even Colorado, which briefly walked out of Monday’s session in protest, cast its votes as scripted.
Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett gave a full-throated “Go Dawgs!” after announcing that the state was sending 42 votes to Trump, 18 to Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and 16 to Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
The final delegate count proved that any pro-Cruz, anti-Trump movement was destined to fail. Trump won 1,725 delegate votes to Cruz’s 475. Shortly afterward, the delegates voted to name Indiana Gov. Mike Pence the party’s vice presidential nominee by acclimation.
Trump was hailed by speaker after speaker once the vote count was official. From the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Dana White, who said Trump “is a fighter and I know he’ll make a great president” to professional golfer Natalie Gulbis, who said Trump inspired her.
“He encouraged me to think of myself not as an athlete but as a businesswoman … and to be fearless,” she said.
Many speakers, however, focused more on attacking presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton than on boosting Trump.
Clinton was hit over the scandal involving her use of a private email server as the secretary of state and the American deaths in Benghazi.
“Hillary’s cold, calculating lying continues,” U.S. Sen. Rob Johnson of Wisconsin said. “If we can’t trust her to tell the truth, how can we possibly trust her to lead America?”
No speaker was as biting toward Clinton as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie, who said he was there “as Donald Trump’s friend for the last 14 years,” blistered Clinton. A former federal prosecutor, Christie said he wanted to present an “indictment” of Clinton to the convention, the delegates of which repeatedly drowned him out with chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!”
“I welcome the opportunity to hold Hillary Rodham Clinton accountable for her performance and her character,” Christie said.
Georgia delegates to the convention said making Trump’s nomination official was an important moment for the party. It ends the divisive 18-month primary battle.
Jade Morey, a delegate from Middle Georgia, said it’s a sense of relief.
“It was a foregone conclusion. People who follow the numbers knew this was going to be the outcome,” she said. “The media tried to build it up, but people are ready to move on and start supporting the nominee.”
Clint Day of St. Simons said he’s seen a rising enthusiasm for Trump over the week.
“I’m sure there are a lot of people like myself — I liked Ted Cruz — but the reality is Trump is our nominee. And it’s time to get behind him,” he said.
Joseph Brannan wore a big smile on his face after Trump was formally nominated. The Muscogee County delegate said Republicans “got our job done — we nominated Trump and Pence.”
“Now it’s about rallying the party,” he said. “I think people are getting it. We are learning about him — and I think people are beginning to like him.”
Back home, however, other Georgia Republicans remain unconvinced.
“Hillary is/was beatable,” said Charlie Harper, the editor of the conservative news site GeorgiaPol.com and an advocate for transportation reform. “But she’s not going to be beaten by the amateur hour clown show that’s masquerading as a campaign in Cleveland right now. Instead of attacking everything you disagree with, it may be time to understand the fact that you need more professionals doing a lot more work than is currently being done.”
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Staff writer Kristina Torres contributed to this article.Greg Bluestein reported from Cleveland. Aaron Gould Sheinin reported from Atlanta.Greg Bluestein reported from Cleveland. Aaron Gould Sheinin reported from Atlanta.