CLEVELAND - Border security, job creation and terrorism were melded into one on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland as speakers touched on the top issues of Donald Trump’s campaign.
Topics ranged from building a U.S.-Mexico wall to ramping up the military to supporting cops across the country and increasing scrutiny of immigrants. While the day was officially labeled “Make America Safe Again,” most remarks fell under the umbrella of the campaign’s main issue: A focus on American prosperity.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani summarized those feelings while introducing Trump and his wife Melania Monday night, telling the crowd to not be afraid to be politically incorrect when it comes to their views on the issues.
“The vast majority of Americans today do not feel safe,” he began. “They fear for their children and they fear for themselves.”
“Being politically correct can have serious consequences,” Giuliani added. “It did in San Bernardino—the only person who couldn’t understand that it was a serious terrorist attack was Barrack Obama, who called it work place violence. That’s why our enemies call us weak and vulnerable.”
Giuliani’s points about fear of terrorists and an unsafe America under Obama were echoed by many delegates who attended the convention.
“I really don’t want somebody coming into the country who could harm me or who could harm you,” said Randy Reger, a delegate from Montana. “As long as they come in for freedom and liberty and they want to live under our rule of law, and learn English then they can come here.”
Retired Air Force veteran and alternative delegate from Georgia Henry Childs said for him fear of death wasn’t a driving factor, instead it was fear of lost job opportunities and debt.
“Economics, it’s all about economics. It will solve your border problem, it will solve your military problem, it will solve the education problem,” he said. “They are taking the dollars from America. Just think of the dollars we could save if we did not give them the free opportunities, free education, free medical care.”
Putting political correctness aside, as Giuliani did, Marga Colp, an alternate delegate from New Hampshire, said the current U.S. immigration policies worried her for one main reason—she fears immigrants are changing America.
Talking about refugees, Colp lamented, “They will take a city. You put 100 families in there, an average of 5 to a family, and that will pretty much ruin a community. Because we don’t have enough resources. The government gives them a little dribble and then it goes away. The crime goes up, we don’t have room in schools they don’t’ speak our language.”
Colp, 64, holds an appointed position in the New Hampshire Republican Party and is a mother of two and grandmother of three.
“When a woman becomes a mother, she gets really protective of her children and we want them to grow up in a world where their parents grew up in and the where their grandparents grow up in and we’re slowly losing that. We aren’t going to be America anymore if we keep going the way we’re going,” Colp said.
Representing Puerto Rico as a delegate, Robert Gonsalas, 25, said he favored Trump’s views on immigration and anti-terrorism much like many others of his generation and heritage.
“I’m a Puerto Rico delegate, it’s important that we will have a nominee who will support Hispanics,” he said. “And we support Hispanics by having good jobs, by having a great economy, by having free trade that will help people have a better way of living. I think Trump is better at that than Hillary.”
Miranda Green is a Scripps reporter for DecodeDC. She can be followed on Twitter @Mirandacgreen.