The Republican convention pauses to mourn slain Baton Rouge officers

The theme of the first night of the Republican convention was "Make America Safe Again" and it coincided with the slayings of three Baton Rouge officers, punctuating Donald Trump's vow to be the “law and order president, Lisa Desjardins reports from Cleveland.

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    Good evening. I'm Gwen Ifill.


    And I'm Judy Woodruff.


    We bring you the "NewsHour" tonight from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, site of the 2016 Republican National Convention.


    For the next four days, the political spotlight shines on Donald Trump.

    Tonight, with memories fresh of violence at home and abroad, the Republicans focus on security and immigration.


    Plus: Who is Donald Trump? We begin our three-part look at his life, beginning tonight.

    MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, Author, "The Truth About Trump": From the very start with Donald, it was about getting control of the family business, building it, growing it, and becoming the rich and famous and powerful person that he eventually became.


    And I'm Hari Sreenivasan in Washington. We will have all the non-convention news of the day, including another ambush targeting police officers, leaving three dead and three wounded in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

  • Plus:

    Turkey's crackdown. We're on the ground there as the country's government fires nearly 9,000 police, and arrests 6,000 others after a failed military coup.


    All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."



    The Republican National Convention has officially opened for business, but not without a fuss. Opponents of Donald Trump objected loudly to adopting convention rules by voice vote.

    Meanwhile, the candidate is hoping to keep focused on a law and order theme.

    Correspondent Lisa Desjardins begins out coverage.

  • REINCE PRIEBUS, Chairman, Republican National Committee:

    This convention will come to order.



    The convention formally began this afternoon, with events of the last two weeks looming over party business. Police killings of black men and the killing of officers in Dallas and now Baton Rouge are in the air, and Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus opened with a moment of silence.


    The men and women who protect our safety and well-being, who put their lives on the line every day, they're our genuine heroes. We also want to recognize all the families who have lost loved ones during these troubling times.


    The theme of day one is make America safe again.

    That idea of security will not just dominate here at the convention, but also throughout the Trump campaign, we're told. Donald Trump will try to make the case that the leadership of President Obama and Hillary Clinton has fed violence here at home and insecurity abroad.

    Tonight's speakers are meant to drive that message home, including Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

    In a convention twist, Trump himself will introduce his wife, Melania, the night's featured speaker. But not everyone is here to see it. Ohio Governor John Kasich, a one-time Trump opponent, is staying away, and so are former Presidents George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush.

    Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort today brushed aside the absences.

  • PAUL MANAFORT, Manager, Trump Campaign:

    The Bush family, while we would liked to have had them, they are not — they have not been — they are part of past. We're dealing with the future. We're dealing with fixing the issues that relate to the future.


    Another former Trump opponent, Ben Carson, told the "NewsHour"'s John Yang:

    DR. BEN CARSON (R), Former Republican Presidential Candidate: The choice is going to be as dramatic as any choice we have ever had. We are talking about traditional American values, faith, family, personal responsibility, compassion for your neighbor, vs. a continuation of secular progressivism.


    Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters showed up today.

  • WOMAN:

    We should have turned our backs on what I see as a festival of hate. I'm very, actually, disappointed.


    Several hundred Trump supporters also gathered for a rally today, and a few were openly carrying guns. Authorities have banned some items in the event zone around the convention. But under Ohio's open-carry law, firearms are permitted. That's adding to security worries and the heavy police presence.

  • Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams:

  • CALVIN WILLIAMS, Chief, Cleveland Police Department:

    We want to make sure that the demonstrators are safe walking through the streets of the city of Cleveland, and we want to make sure we have enough officers to respond if things turn otherwise.


    Meanwhile, the Democratic nominee-to-be, Hillary Clinton, was in Cincinnati, addressing the NAACP and laying into Trump.

    HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presumptive Presidential Nominee: Donald Trump led the movement to delegitimize our first black president, trumpeting the so-called birther movement. Donald Trump plays coy with white supremacists. Donald Trump insults Mexican immigrants, even an American judge born of Mexican heritage.


    The GOP has been known as the party of Lincoln. Clinton said, we are watching it become the party of Trump.

    And this convention saw its first political test tonight, just late tonight, as the delegates who oppose Mr. Trump called for a roll call vote, trying to change the rules of this convention. They didn't have enough states to do that. And in the end, the convention receded for dinner with the Trump forces saying they feel strong. Will we see more of those objections?

    We will wait and see — Gwen, Judy.


    Thank you, Lisa.

    Gwen and I will be back later in the program with much more from Cleveland.

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