Trump: A speech like no other?


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CNN- Give credit where it is due: Donald Trump delivered the best constructed and best rhetorical speech of his campaign as he accepted the GOP nomination Thursday night. Moreover, he must have taken great pride in his children, two of whom -- Donald Jr. and Ivanka -- gave the best speeches of the entire gathering. Father and children together rescued a convention that had many stumbles.

Trump: A speech like no other?

But Trump's acceptance address was also deeply disturbing. This was my 20th political convention, and I cannot remember one where the nominee was so angry, divisive and resentful.

Repeatedly he whipped his audience into a frenzy with charges that were misleading (for example, he is right that Americans feel less safe than they should but he painted an apocalyptic picture of crime in the streets when in truth, we are witnessing a rise of crime from historic lows).

Trump said up front that he was humbled and he called for generosity, but then continually boasted about his prowess and launched harsh, relentless attacks on his foes. He made a long litany of promises but mostly avoided telling us how he would fulfill them. These are not the qualities of great presidents.

Earlier in the week, his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, said that in reviewing past acceptance addresses, Trump focused most on Richard Nixon's acceptance in 1968, when RN famously presented himself as the law and order candidate and proclaimed himself champion of "forgotten Americans." Put aside for a moment the oddness of choosing that role model.

What is truly ironic is that Nixon, considered so dark, spoke that night with humility, generosity and brightness of spirit. He drew deeply upon American history and chose Washington and Lincoln as role models. Biographer Evan Thomas has written that Nixon in that acceptance was also sentimental and uplifting.

Trump exuded strength -- and occasional compassion -- but mostly he was angry and harsh. As a candidate of law and order, Nixon thrust forward an iron fist but clothed it in a velvet glove. Trump showed the fist and threw away the glove.

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