Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention was full of extended passages on immigration, trade and national security — all issues that he’s made central to his disruptive presidential campaign.
Still, there were a few surprising moments:
LGBTQ: When talking about the 49 killed in the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Trump made a point of noting that the target was the LGBTQ community. He struggled a little with getting the acronym out, but it was a pointed response to complaints that some GOP lawmakers were playing down sexual orientation in speaking about the tragedy.
“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology,” he said. “Believe me.”
It drew applause from the crowd.
“And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.”
For a politically incorrect candidate, his use of the “Q” in the acronym was a politically correct gesture.
“Puppet”: The whole week, Hillary Clinton has been blamed for just about everything, but Trump took it a step further. He called her a “puppet” of “big business, elite media and major donors.”
“They are throwing money at her because they have total control over every single thing she does,” Trump said.
The Length: This was a very long speech — clocking in at 76 minutes — reportedly the longest of its kind since 1972. It’s even longer than a length of a Trump rally address.
In the arena, there was some fidgeting in the gallery — the Trump supporters behind me chatted among themselves for much of it — but the delegates didn’t lose their sense of enthusiasm.
Trump went well beyond primetime, so it is a little surprising that he may not have been more conscious of the possibility that some viewers may tune out.
Trains: Trump’s stray from the establishment on trade and international affairs is well known, but he threw in one almost in passing. “We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways of tomorrow,” Trump said. There are many, many Capitol Hill Republicans who are skeptical of high-speed rail and Amtrak.
Self Deprecation: Trump got laughs when talked about his support among evangelicals. “I would like to thank the evangelical and religious community because I’ll tell you what, the support they’ve given me, and I’m not sure I totally deserve it,” he said, drawing a lot of chuckles in the crowd. It was an acknowledgement of how much he doesn’t fit the mold of social conservatives, even if he is garnering their support.
And the least surprising:
A protester. Like so many of his rallies, Trump was disrupted, this time by a protester from Code Pink who unfurled a banner saying “Build Bridges Not Walls” in the media section. Reporters identified her as Madea Benjamin. They’re familiar with her because her group seems to have an uncanny ability to get in to places with tight security, not just this convention but also the GOP gathering in Tampa in 2012.