CLEVELAND, Ohio -- As protests outside the convention hall here grew increasingly violent, Republican delegates made official what had become inevitable -- nominating New York businessman Donald Trump for president in a raucous roll call vote punctuated by chants of “USA! USA!” and “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
Trump’s name was placed in nomination by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, an early supporter of Trump who echoed many convention speakers’ messages about a United States in decline before suggesting -- as the nominee has -- that Trump is the only one who can fix it.
“It is not given to us to know the future,” Sessions said. “I certainly don’t. But I came to believe some months ago that Donald Trump is the singular leader that can get this country back on track.”
With the crowd primed to erupt, he officially placed Trump’s name in nomination, and after a few more brief speeches from Republican officials, a roll call vote of the states began, with the New York delegation, led by Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., providing the votes that officially placed Trump over the top.
The band played New York, New York for several minutes before the roll call recommenced, but the result was no longer in doubt: The GOP had officially declared Trump its candidate for president in the upcoming November election.
However, just as the process of getting to the roll call was a messy one, the roll call itself was not without its uncomfortable moments.
When the call came for Utah, the home of anti-Trump Sen. Mike Lee, to cast its votes, it was announced that the state’s 40 delegates were bound to Trump. However, when Utah’s representative came to the microphone, he said, “We cast all 40 of our delegates to the gentleman who won out state, Sen. Ted Cruz.”
Cruz, from Texas, withdrew from the race in the spring, but multiple other states that had cast at least some delegates for Cruz were allowed to cast votes for him. But after the delegates made their statement, the secretary reiterated that all 40 of the state’s votes would go to Trump.
When Sessions placed Trump’s name in nomination, the seats belonging to the Virginia delegation were largely empty, and when the time came for the state to announce that it was throwing a plurality -- but far from a majority -- of its votes to Trump, it sent delegate Subba R. Kolla, the first Indian American to serve as a Virginia delegate to the national convention, to the microphone. However, Kolla’s accent was so heavy that it was extremely difficult for attendees to understand what he was saying.
In the end, the result was a Trump nomination -- something that will largely define the Republican Party in all likelihood for a lot longer than the four years between now and the next presidential election.
As the states were finalizing the selection of Trump, an Ohio State Highway Patrol officer stood guard at one of the many doors to the Quicken Loan arena, listening to radio reports of what was going on out in the streets.
“Protesters are moving up 9th Street,” he said to a reporter. “They’ve got injuries...They sent in the riot squad.”