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Party unity remains elusive as Republicans gather for 2016 convention

Updated: 2016-07-21 09:49

Party unity remains elusive as Republicans gather for 2016 convention

Protesters hold a banner reading "Wall Off Trump" as they attempt to block an entrance to the arena hosting the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, US July 19, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

Despite his earlier endorsement of Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking GOP officeholder, had never concealed his discord with Trump and for once described Trump's comments on a Latino-American judge "textbook" racism.

Speaking at the convention on Wednesday night, Ryan made an impassioned plea for party unity without any praise for Trump, now the party's standard-bearer. In fact, the name of Trump just appeared two times at the beginning of his speech.

Instead Ryan dedicated most of his speech to the governing agenda he proposed in the House that covers taxes, health care, national security, etc.

"This year of surprises and dramatic turns can end in the finest possible way when America elects a conservative governing majority," said Ryan near the end of his speech.

In contrary to Ryan's cautious approach towards Trump, some of the 2,472 delegates attending the four-day event was vocal in their criticism of Trump.

"I don't think he has the temperament to be the president of the United States," said North Carolina delegate William Gillis, referring to a major talking point currently adopted by Democrats. "(if elected) I ultimately don't think he will move our county in a largely positive direction."

Trump first drew widespread criticism last June when he said in his presidential announcement speech that Mexico was sending "rapists" and drug dealers to the United States. Since that, he had repeatedly vowed, if elected president, to deport about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

In another outburst of emotional remarks, Trump called for a "total and complete" ban on Muslims entering the United States in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015.

Since then, the targets of Trump's insults expanded to include women, African-American protesters, family members of rivals, etc.

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