Republicans let fly at Clinton, but pro-Trump unity remains elusive

Sen. Ted Cruz (R) of Texas will speak on Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, though it's unclear whether he will endorse Donald Trump.

Aaron P. Bernstein/AP
Oregon alternate RNC delegate Nathan Dahlin wears an assortment of political buttons at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Donald Trump won the Republican Party's presidential nomination on Tuesday, putting an official end to an unpredictable primary season and marking a turn toward the general election race against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. 

At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the GOP's disdain for Mrs. Clinton was on full display, with speakers doubling down on efforts to rally the party against her.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin spoke of the need for a "clean break from a failed system" rather than a third term of an Obama presidency. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky accused Clinton of lying and flip-flopping on key issues, saying she has "a tortured relationship to the truth." And Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who had earlier aspired to the Republican nomination, said that Saul Alinsky – a pioneering community organizer whose work was the subject of Clinton's college senior thesis – had "acknowledged Lucifer" in the introduction to one of his books.

Despite shared enmity toward Clinton, Republicans have struggled to unite behind Mr. Trump. Several prominent figures within the party are skipping the convention, including Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, Ohio governor and former presidential aspirant John Kasich, and the Bush family, according to The Los Angeles Times.

One frequent target of Trump's bruising statements, Sen. Ted Cruz (R) of Texas, will address the convention on Wednesday after meeting with the Trump campaign this month. It's unclear whether Senator Cruz will endorse the nominee, though the Trump campaign has said Cruz's message should be "consistent" with those from Trump.

Cruz, who finished second in the nomination race, was often on the receiving end of Trump's worst and most personal abuse, with the real estate tycoon referring to him habitually as "Lyin' Ted" and even criticizing his wife's appearance. In an angry response to the latter, the Texas senator had seemed to rule out any chance of a future endorsement, calling Trump a "pathological liar," a "bully," and "utterly amoral."

Outside the convention, skirmishes broke out between rival groups of protestors, though no arrests were made. The federal and local governments have prepared a massive security deployment, including 4,000 federal personnel and $49.9 million in federal funding, according to CNN.

Clinton called the proceedings at the RNC "surreal," saying during a Las Vegas speech that "it was just Donald Trump with nothing to offer to the American people." She also responded to criticisms from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with a reference to the George Washington Bridge Scandal, tweeting, "If you think Chris Christie can lecture anyone on ethics, we have a bridge to sell you."

On Tuesday, anti-Trump holdouts staged a last push to unbind delegates from their obligation to cast the vote they'd pledged. But as The Christian Science Monitor reported, the Trump campaign and Republican Party leadership squashed that push in dramatic fashion. Faced with the possibility of a vote to change convention rules – and potentially allow pro-Trump delegates to change their minds – party whips beelined across the convention floor, pressuring delegates not to buck leadership at such a late hour. 

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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