Melania Trump’s cribbing of a speech delivered by Michelle Obama has become the story the of day one of the convention, but furor over her lack of preparation—another sign of the Trump campaign’s erratic approach—shouldn’t overshadow some of the truly crazy things said at the convention.
Here are some quotes that stood out during a night of emotional appeal to fear, backed with little apparent substance.
“Donald Trump always tells the truth, as he sees it.”
This, from bearded Duck heir Willie Robertson, was one of the more factual statements of the night.
“The war is at home. Who will stand up and take the fight to the enemy? It’s here.”
Marcus Luttrell, the Navy SEAL behind the movie “Lone Survivor,” began talking about the importance of service and care for veterans. But he abandoned his prepared remarks to warn darkly about a dangerous world and domestic threats, a common theme on the evening, before this nebulous call to action.
“I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”
Patricia Smith, whose son Sean died during the Benghazi attack in 2012, took the stage to blame Clinton for the loss of her son, in an uncomfortable display of raw grief. But repeated investigations have demonstrated that Clinton isn’t to blame for the attacks, and the parents of other victims have questioned Smith’s accounts of her meetings with Clinton.
“It’s time we had an administration that cares more about Americans than illegal aliens.”
Another grieving mother, this time Mary Ann Mendoza, whose police officer son was killed in a drunk driving accident caused by an undocumented immigrant. But despite her anger, the current administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than any in US history.
“Are you safer than you were eight years ago? Is our Army strong? Is America still respected?”
The crowd answered “no” to each of Rep. Michael McCaul’s questions. For some context, consider: Despite increasing concerns about gun violence in the US, crime has been falling steadily for 25 years; the US Army, which was considered “broken” at the end of the Bush administration, now complains about budget cuts pushed by Republicans in Congress, including McCaul; and according to global opinion surveys, the US is more respected now by its allies than it was eight years ago.
“War is not about bathrooms.”
This is something that was said by retired Lt. General Michael Flynn and met with applause.
“Hillary Clinton…put our nation’s security at extremely high risk with her careless use of a private email server. Lock her up, lock her up!”
Flynn also said this; perhaps the first time that a speaker on a convention stage has called for the arrest of the other party’s candidate. For the record, an exhaustive FBI investigation of Clinton’s e-mail server found that, while careless, the former Secretary of State had not done anything illegal, and found no comparable cases where prosecution had been brought.