Editor’s note: This story has been updated with reaction from Texas delegates.
CLEVELAND — Texas Republicans capped a tumultuous week at their national convention watching a forceful address by Donald Trump, the presidential nominee whose defeat of favorite son Ted Cruz loomed large over the festivities in Cleveland.
Formally accepting his party’s nomination, Trump delivered an unusually disciplined speech that promised to keep Americans safe from threats abroad and at home, and assailed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as part of a political insider class. Trump did not mention Cruz, who dropped out of the race after he lost to Trump in the Indiana primary, paving the way for Trump to claim the nomination.
There was nonetheless an appeal to Texans, who are still reeling from a shooting earlier this month in Dallas that left five police officers dead and seven others wounded.
“America was shocked to its core when our police officers in Dallas were so brutally executed,” Trump said. “Immediately after Dallas, we have seen continued threats and violence against our law enforcement officials.”
“I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police: When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country,” Trump added.
Trump’s remarks came at the end of a convention that was at times overshadowed by GOP disunity — especially when it came to Cruz, who delivered a closely watched speech Wednesday night that offered no support for his party’s presidential nominee. Cruz was then put on the hot seat at a Texas delegation breakfast Thursday morning where some of his constituents angrily pressed him over his refusal to back Trump.
Cruz was not at the convention for Trump’s speech — he flew out of Cleveland earlier Thursday — but had said he would be tuning in from afar.
Trump’s speech was generally well received by members of the Texas delegation, even some Cruz loyalists. Among them was Randall Dunning, an alternate delegate from Garland who called Trump’s speech “phenomenal.”
“I’ve been one of his harshest critics, but I really have to admit he delivered absolutely the right speech with the right tone that he had to do for a Republican nominee,” said Dunning, also a member of the State Republican Executive Committee. “It was better than Romney’s, it was better than McCain’s, and I’m even tempted to say it was better than Bush’s.”
A number of delegates said they appreciated how Trump steered clear of the kinds of attacks on fellow Republicans that characterized his primary campaign. Trump’s only reference to the bruising nominating process came toward the end of his speech, when he briefly deviated from his prepared remarks to comment on those who said he had no chance of becoming the nominee: “Oh, we love defeating those people, don’t we?”
Trump was otherwise more restrained than usual Thursday night. In one instance, while criticizing Clinton, he declined to join in on chants of “Lock her up!” instead encouraging delegates to “defeat her in November.”
Yet even as they credited Trump with a more diplomatic speech than usual, some delegates still had issues.
“The biggest problems I had with it were there wasn’t any detail to some of his ideas or his plans,” said Laura Koerner, a delegate from Fair Oaks Ranch. “Things were going to be done soon, fast, immediately, and there wasn’t much detail how that was going to happen.”
As they streamed out of the Quicken Loans Arena after Trump’s speech, Texas delegates were largely split on whether they were leaving Cleveland more unified than when they came in. Koerner said she was still deciding whether to support Trump, while another delegate, Darl Eaton of Eueless, estimated “95 percent or more” of the delegation was on the same page.
“It ended on a positive note for everyone who was here,” said Erich Wolz, an alternate delegate from Houston. “I think it will help some of the healing.”
Abby Livingston contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
Top image: Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on July 21, 2016. Image courtesy of C-SPAN.