Monday 19 March 2018

Trump flies in alone for landmark speech

Donald Trump flew into Cleveland without his wife Melania. Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP Photo
Donald Trump flew into Cleveland without his wife Melania. Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

David Lawler, Ruth Sherlock and Nick Allen

Donald Trump made a triumphant helicopter landing in Cleveland ahead of the biggest speech of his political life today at the Republican national convention - but without his wife Melania, who is caught in an embarrassing plagiarism row.

Mr Trump's children and their spouses awaited the Republican nominee's arrival, mingling with the family of Mike Pence, Mr Trump's running mate.

Mrs Trump was conspicuous by her absence just two days after she delivered an address at the convention in which whole passages were taken from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama.

As Mr Trump prepared to give his most high-profile address to date, Newt Gingrich has praised his mastery of mass communication in the age of Kim Kardashian. The former speaker of the house described Mr Trump as "the first presidential candidate of the Kardashian era", which he said was one of the property mogul's biggest assets as a candidate.

"He sends tweets before he gets out of bed in the morning," Mr Gingrich said. "Then he thinks deeply: 'What shall I do at 10am to make news?'"

While he has found success on social media, Mr Trump will face a far different test tonight on one of the largest stages American politics has to offer as he accepts the Republican Party's nomination for president.

His advisers say he will give a "disciplined" speech that would mix pre-written material with some characteristic ad-libbing.

The campaign, meanwhile, was hit by further unwelcome distractions.

First, the speechwriter who helped construct Mrs Trump's convention address - in which passages were taken wholesale from a 2008 Michelle Obama's speech - said a mix-up was to blame for the passages being included.

Meredith McIver, a Trump Organisation employee, offered her resignation, which Mr Trump rejected.

Then, hours before Mr Pence was to take the stage as Mr Trump's vice-presidential pick, the New York Times reported that John Kasich, the Ohio governor, had rejected the job before it was offered to Mr Pence.

Donald Trump Jr, serving as a delegate from New York State, gave what has been praised as the best speech of the convention so far, leading to speculation he may enter politics himself. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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