The 2016 Republican National Convention was famous for Sen. Ted Cruz’ non-endorsement, and Trump’s speech where he said “I alone can fix it.”
But many speakers warned Americans that the country had gotten off course, with a broken political system and economy. The current president’s term was not ending well.
“We simply cannot be great if we do not feel safe in our homes, on our streets, and in our schools,” warned one. “Today I’m afraid we’re losing that sense of unity and optimism,” lamented another. “Our spirits are nearly broken.”
Speaker after speaker warned about a president who has broken the trust of the American people. A political establishment that breaks its promises. “Bumbling indecisiveness, willful ignorance, and total incompetence,” as one described it.
“Today in a lot of ways, America is in a bad spot,” declared a cast member of Duck Dynasty. “Folks, our country is in a very bad spot,” agreed Scott Baio.
Trump himself said in his speech that safety would be restored after he was sworn in: “I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon — and I mean very soon — come to an end. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored.”
He then said: “The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.”
Nearly four years later, 175,000 Americans and counting have died due to a bungled pandemic response. Tens of millions are out of work, and Americans face deeper divisions stoked by a president who sees enemies in people who do not support him.
These 2016 warnings from the Republican convention in Cleveland were sounded four years early.
Fran Tarkenton (former NFL coach)
“Right now, I look at America and I need to ask what the hell’s going on here.”
Henry McMaster (R-SC)
“Today the current administration has abandoned what little confidence they ever had in our constitution, and our country. And the world has lost confidence in us. The inevitable consequence: weakness, decline, and ultimately, chaos and oblivion. We feel an eerie unease in CS Lewis’ haunting words, of men without chests. But ladies and gentlemen, that is about to change. Because finally, after 8 years of incompetence, arrogance, and disrespect for the rule of law, the American people have had enough. I’ve had enough, you’ve had enough, we’ve all had enough.”
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
“Americans love our country like no other people on earth. But we have gotten off course. And the American people know it. Our political system is not working….”
“Our economy is broken. If you’re watching me right now, you understand this better than any politician in Washington DC.”
“That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan Project. We don’t accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.”
“…Failures such as bumbling indecisiveness, willful ignorance, and total incompetence that has challenged the very heart and soul of every American and singlehandedly brought continued mayhem, murder and destruction into our neighborhoods and onto our streets.”
Ted Cruz (R-TX)
“We stand here tonight a nation divided. Partisan rancor, anger, even hatred are tearing America apart. And citizens are furious — rightly furious — at a political establishment that cynically breaks its promises and ignores the will of the people. We have to do better.”
“We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Who unite us all behind shared values. Who cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect, from everybody.”
Mike Pence (R-IN)
“We’ve seen entire stretches of our country written off by bad economic policies in ways that are deeply unfair to American workers. We’ve seen relentless mandates from the executive branch. It seems like no aspect of our lives is too small for the present administration to supervise and no provision of the Constitution is too large for them to ignore.”
“You know, the party of Lincoln was founded on equality of opportunity. And during these difficult days, it will be our party and our agenda that opens the doors for every American to succeed and prosper in this land.”
“We cannot have four more years apologizing to our enemies and abandoning our friends.”
“And this much is certain, this much is certain of the Obama years. They’re not ending well. There seems to be so many things that divide us and so few great purposes that unite us as they once did. And it’s at moments like this, moments when politics fail, that I believe we’d do well to remember that what unites us far exceeds anything that sets us apart in America.”
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
“No one, no one, who has lost the trust of the American people should ever serve as our president.”
John Barasso (R-WY)
“For the past eight years, our country has been led in the wrong direction. Our economy has become unnecessarily weak. Too many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Struggling, sacrificing, and suffering. Our standing in world affairs has declined significantly. Our enemies no longer fear us and our friends no longer trust us. … The president and the Democratic party have abandoned their promise of being accountable.”
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
“We’ve had enough division and enough heated rhetoric that serves to only drive a wedge between us and our neighbor.”
“Again we find our nation in desperate need of true leadership, in desperate need of unity. The last eight years have really been a challenge to our national and our household budgets, to our constitution…”
“I want a president who knows that leadership is not as it appears, but is as it performs.”
Paul Ryan (R-WI)
“For a country so ready for change, it feels like we’ve been cleared for takeoff and then somebody announced we’re all going back to the gate.
“Wages never seem to go up, the whole economy feels stuck, and millions of Americans — millions of Americans — middle-class security is now just a memory.
“The result is a record of discarded promises, empty gestures, phony straw-man arguments, reforms put off forever, shady power plays like the one that gave us Obamacare, constitutional limits brushed off as nothing, and all the while dangers in the world downplayed, even as the threats go bolder and come closer.
David Clarke (R-WI)
“We simply cannot be great if we do not feel safe in our homes, on our streets, and in our schools. I see this every day at street level, where many Americans increasingly have an uneasiness about the ability of our families to live safely in these troubling times. … Sadly, for a growing number of communities, the sense of safety that many of us once took for granted has been shattered. Americans don’t always feel safe, no matter if they are working in a big city, living in a suburb or rural area, all around this great country.
Rick Scott (R-FL)
“Today America’s in terrible, world-record-high debt, our economy’s not growing, our jobs are going overseas, our military’s in decay, and we project weakness on the world stage. The Democrats have not led us to a crossroads. They have led us to a cliff.”
Mary Fallin (R-OK)
“Today I’m afraid we’re losing that sense of unity and optimism, not just in towns like Tecumsah, but across this land. Our country is divided. Our people are afraid. And our spirits are nearly broken. But we can’t lose that hopelessness [sic] and have it become the new normal.
“Today in a lot of ways, America is in a bad spot. And we need a president who will have our back. And I can promise you this, no matter who you are, Donald Trump will have your back. If you’re looking for a job, ir trying to grow your business, Donald Trump will have your back.:”
Newt Gingrich (R-GA)
“We cannot let ourselves become numb to these accumulating atrocities.”
Donald Trump Jr
“For too long, our country has ignored its problems, punting them down the road for future generations to deal with”
Ralph Alvarado (R-KY)
“Today, we have a President who has not only failed to end racial tension, he has made us more divided than ever.”
“The truth is, the Democratic Party has failed us: at home, our growth is lethargic and our debt deeper; we are spiritually empty; and we are more divided now than we’ve ever been before. Abroad we are neither respected nor feared by our adversaries, and our friends cannot count on us. This is their legacy.
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
“For the past eight years we have witnessed the economy sputter and stall. We’ve seen the president ignore the constitution. And we’ve watched instability fester around the world.”
“Folks, our country is in a very bad spot. You can see it everywhere. There’s no stability. Nothing seems right. And all the things we hold dear are being attacked every single day. We cannot go down this road anymore. We need to stop.”