With supporters and protesters squaring off in the streets, and despite flurries of dissent on the convention floor, Donald Trump formally secured the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday.
The final delegate count capped the billionaire businessman’s stunning takeover of the GOP and propelled him into a November faceoff with Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“There’s no convention to look forward to,” U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, said. “There are no other theories. He is our nominee.”
Trump’s campaign hoped the formal nomination would both end the discord surging through the Republican Party and overshadow the convention’s chaotic kickoff, including a plagiarism charge involving Melania Trump’s address on opening night.
For Gainesville attorney Ashley Bell, a Ninth District delegate not bound to Trump going into the convention, the moment was symbolic.
“The brutal primary is officially over,” Bell said. “Now we can finish the process of uniting the party and offering America a unified vision of how the Republicans are ready to lead.”
And that’s just the message Collins said he delivered to all of Georgia’s delegates on Tuesday.
“What I tried to emphasize was looking forward,” Collins said. “At this point, it makes it a very clear choice.”
While some delegates emphasized the need for a televised display of party unity after the deeply divisive GOP primary, Colorado’s Kendal Unruh, a leader of the anti-Trump forces, called the convention a “sham” and warned party leaders that their efforts to silence opposition would keep some Republicans on the sidelines in the fall campaign against Clinton.
This week’s four-day convention is Trump’s highest-profile opportunity to convince voters that he’s better suited for the presidency than Clinton, who will be officially nominated at next week’s Democratic gathering.
But the rocky start raises fresh questions about his oversight of his campaign, which gives voters a window into how a candidate might handle the pressures of the presidency.
Following the roll call vote, a parade of Trump’s former campaign rivals, Republican leaders who are lukewarm about his nomination and more family members were scheduled to take center stage.
Republicans were also closely watching House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has endorsed Trump despite disagreeing with him on numerous issues.
Collins said now is the time for conservatives to help restore faith in the political process and ensure strong checks and balances between the branches of government.
But he acknowledged that more work must be done.
“As we go through the week, we’ll see continued discussion of how the policies are going to actually take place,” Collins said.