The Latest: Trump: Unity, “great love” at GOP convention


CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on the Republican National Convention (all times EDT):

11:09 a.m.

Forget what you may be hearing about booing and Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.

Trump tweets that inside the hall in Cleveland, the party is “VERY united. Great love in the arena!”

Cruz was booed offstage Wednesday night after a speech in which he refused to endorse Trump for president.

The discord continued Thursday when Cruz told the Texas delegation that he would not endorse Trump in part because the billionaire had insulted his father and wife during the raucous GOP primary.

In his tweet, Trump attributed any opposition to “a small group of people who have suffered massive and embarrassing losses.”

It was the latest display of opposition to Trump’s candidacy at a convention that has featured many of them.

Many prominent GOP officials have skipped the event altogether.

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10:39 a.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says Donald Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. might not defend some NATO allies if Russia were to attack make the world “more dangerous” and Russian President Vladimir Putin “a very happy man.”

Graham, an outspoken Trump critic, said in a statement Thursday that the Republican presidential nominee is suggesting to the Russians and “other bad actors that the United States is not fully committed to supporting the NATO alliance.”

Trump told the New York Times late Wednesday that he would decide whether to protect the Baltic republics against Russian aggression based on whether those countries “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech Thursday formally accepting the Republican nomination for president.

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0:20 a.m.

Former House Speaker John Boehner says, “Lucifer is back.”

That comment from the Ohio Republican, reported on Twitter by his spokesman, was a reference to Ted Cruz, the Texas senator and former GOP presidential candidate who has incensed Republican delegates for speaking to the convention but refusing to endorse nominee Donald Trump.

Boehner’s remark harks back to a comment he made in April, when he told an audience at Stanford University that he considered Cruz, “Lucifer in the flesh.”

He elaborated, according to Stanford Daily, by saying he has never “worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

GOP delegates booed Cruz offstage Wednesday night when it became clear his speech to the convention would not include an endorsement of Trump. Cruz on Wednesday cast his decision as deeply personal, saying he refuses to fall in line, “like a servile puppy dog.”

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10:19 a.m.

Donald Trump is hitting back at Sen. Ted Cruz after the Texas senator explained why he wasn’t endorsing Trump for president.

Cruz said Thursday he will not support anyone who wages personal attacks against his family. Cruz told members of the Texas delegation that he would support the candidate “I trust to defend our freedom and be faithful to the Constitution.”

In a Tweet, Trump said Cruz “talks about the Constitution but doesn’t say that if the Dems win the Presidency, the new JUSTICES appointed will destroy us all!”

Trump was referring to the open seat on the Supreme Court left vacant after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Senate Republicans say it should be up to the next president to appoint a replacement. They have refused to hold a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.

Cruz has refused to rule out a run for president in 2020.

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10:00 a.m.

Sen. Rob Portman says NATO is the “most important military alliance” but says Republican nominee Donald Trump is right that its members should contribute more to honor the agreement.

The Ohio Republican said Thursday that “we need to stand by our allies” but added that Trump’s “point that we would like our NATO partners to contribute more to NATO and to their own defense is absolutely accurate.”

Trump said in an interview with the New York Times that he would decide whether to protect the Baltic republics against Russian aggression based on whether those countries “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

Portman said he has a “little disagreement” with Republican colleagues on what the U.S. contributes to Ukraine in its current conflict and acknowledged a push for a new “lead from the front.”

“That doesn’t mean we’re the world’s policemen,” Portman said. “It may mean we’re more like the world’s sheriff where you bring a posse together.”

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9:42 a.m.

Donald Trump’s allies are pummeling Ted Cruz for refusing to endorse his former rival for the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort told reporters that Cruz is “in violation” of his pledge to support the nominee. Trump formally won that title on Tuesday. Manafort added that the delegates who booed the Texas senator offstage Wednesday night helped unify the party behind Trump.

Another ally, New York Congressman Chris Collins, said on Fox News that Cruz has “ended his own career” with his refusal to endorse, which Cruz repeated Thursday morning at an appearance before his home state delegation.

More heckling ensued, but Cruz refused to yield, “like a servile puppy dog.” Cruz cast his position as personal, a refusal based in part on Trump’s insults of his father, Raphael and wife, Heidi.

Cruz has not ruled out another run for the presidency in 2020.

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9:12 a.m.

Ted Cruz says he won’t vote for Hillary Clinton, but he’s not promising to endorse Donald Trump, “like a servile puppy dog.”

The Texas senator was heckled Thursday morning as he spoke to his home state delegation to the Republican National Convention.

He says he’ll “watching and listening” but won’t “sit down, shut up, support the team.” Cruz adds that he doesn’t intend to “throw rocks” at Trump, but he’s not ready to endorse him.

He adds that, “We either stand for shared principles or we’re not worth anything.”

Cruz and Trump have significant bad political blood between them. Trump nicknamed him, “Lyin’ Ted” and implied that Cruz’s father, Raphael, had a connection to President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. Trump also criticized the appearance of Cruz’s wife, Heidi.

He adds, “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.”

Cruz was booed offstage during his address to the GOP convention Wednesday night when it became clear that his speech would not include an endorsement of Trump.

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8:11 a.m.

Mike Pence says he’s confident that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump would stand by the nation’s NATO allies, but insisted those countries “must pay their fair share.”

The vice presidential nominee on Thursday was reacting to Trump’s comments that if Russia attacked the Baltic States, he would consider defending them only after reviewing whether those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.” Trump’s comments were published in Thursday’s New York Times.

His position is at odds with longstanding U.S. foreign policy. The 28 nations that are part of the NATO alliance have all signed a treaty pledging to automatically come to the aid of any member country that is attacked.

Pence told Fox News that a Trump administration would tell U.S. allies “the time has come for them and for their citizens to begin to carry the financial costs of these international obligations.”

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7:48 a.m.

Donald Trump’s oldest daughter says she is “proud” of her father’s wife for the speech she delivered at the Republican National Convention, despite controversy that the address in some places mirrored First Lady Michelle Obama’s words.

Ivanka Trump tells NBC’s “Today” that, “I love Melania so much.”

She added that her stepmother is “a very private person, and for her to come out on stage and speak from the heart” is significant.

Trump Organization staff writer Meredith McIver released a statement Wednesday apologizing for the mistake, saying she submitted her resignation to Donald Trump, but he refused to accept it.

Looking ahead to her own speech Thursday night, Ivanka Trump joked in the interview joked that her biggest hope is that she doesn’t trip on stage.

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7:30 a.m.

Donald Trump’s top adviser said former rival Ted Cruz “used very bad judgment” when he addressed the GOP convention without endorsing its presidential nominee.

Paul Manafort told NBC’s “Today” Thursday that Trump invited his primary opponents to address the convention in Cleveland because “he views the primary process as over.” Convention delegates formally nominated Trump on Tuesday.

Manafort added that the Republican Party is coming together, despite the Texas senator’s failure to endorse Trump during his primetime address late Wednesday.

But he believes Cruz “used very bad judgment,” adding that “he was not respectful to the invitation by the convention to come and speak.”

Manafort said that Cruz “understood what the responsibilities are, someone in his position.”

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7:15 a.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says the Republican Party is coming together even though one-time presidential candidate Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump at the party’s convention.

The GOP vice presidential nominee told Fox News Thursday that he is grateful Cruz came to the convention noted that the Texas senator did congratulate Trump on winning a hard-fought campaign.

Boos filled the convention hall on Wednesday night after Cruz declined to endorse Trump in his prime time speech and urged Republicans to vote their conscience.

Pence said he is “absolutely confident that in the days ahead you’re going to see this party come together and present the choice to the American people.”

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7:12 a.m.

Donald Trump says he’s pleased that the staffer who wrote Michelle Obama’s words into Melania Trump’s speech has removed “that cloud” shadowing his wife’s otherwise well-received address.

The GOP presidential nominee told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday that he appreciated Meredith McIver’s apology. He said it’s “terrific” that McIver, who is an employee of the Trump Organization, admitted inadvertently lifting the first lady’s phrasing from her 2008 convention speech word-for-word. He added that “now that cloud is lifted off” Mrs. Trump.

Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort had led a chorus the candidate’s surrogates denying Mrs. Trump’s speech contained any plagiarism, despite clear evidence to the contrary. McIver released a statement Wednesday saying that she had inadvertently included some phrases from Mrs. Obama’s speech into Mrs. Trump’s address and offered her resignation. Trump refused to accept it. He told ABC that “people make mistakes.”

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This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s name.

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