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Melania Trump tells GOP Convention: ‘Donald gets things done’

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND — Melania Trump made her prime-time speaking debut Monday night, describing her husband as a mix of toughness, compassion and patriotism “who is ready to lead this great nation.”

“Donald gets things done,” Melania trump told a cheering Republican National Convention.

The endorsement of her husband came after others dubbed Democrat Hillary Clinton a “liar,” “crooked,” and someone who believes she’s “owed” the presidency.

Night One of the Republican National Convention found a steady line of speakers voicing concerns over national security and immigration.

Monday also marked Donald Trump’s first public appearance before the convention’s delegates — entering to the tune of Queen’s “We are the Champions,” as he introduced his wife — whose speech was aimed at painting Trump in a more personal light.

Her speech came hours after a failed attempt by some delegates to deny Trump the GOP presidential nomination after a rowdy unscripted back and forth, with the rules ultimately locking in Trump as the nominee.

“We’re going to win so big,” Trump said during his brief introduction of his wife.

Melania Trump, born in Slovenia, spoke of her husband’s love of America and of her own pride of becoming a citizen, which she called “the greatest privilege on Planet Earth.”

“I have been with Donald for 18 years and I have been aware of his love for this country since we first met. He never had a hidden agenda when it comes to his patriotism because like me, he loves this country very much,” Melania Trump said.

Speakers on Monday sought to describe how Trump would make American safe again, focusing on critiques of Clinton in her handling of Benghazi and her foreign policies, alongside President Barack Obama’s “reckless immigration policies.”

“I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son. Personally,” Patricia Smith said through tears about the death of her son Sean Smith, one of four Americans killed during the 2012 terrorist attack at Benghazi.

“This entire campaign comes down to a single question. If Hillary Clinton can’t give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency?” Smith asked.

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Highlighting another cornerstone of Trump’s campaign, family members of people killed by illegal immigrants spoke, including Mary Ann Mendoza whose police officer son died in a drunk driving crash in 2014. Also speaking was Sabine Durden, whose son, a 911 dispatcher, was killed by an illegal immigrant as he rode his motorcycle.

“We need to reform our existing immigration laws. We need to secure our borders so no other person has to ever go through this kind of grief, pain and agony, knowing this could have been prevented,” Durden said. “Build the wall and Americans need to come first.”

Others focused on the tragic deaths of police officers, including four officers killed in Baton Rouge on Sunday.

“Blue lives matter in America,” Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, said, while calling the Black Lives Matter movement “anarchy.”

One of the night’s fieriest speeches came from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who endorsed Trump earlier this year and who Trump said he’d consider to run a “radical Islam” commission.

“You know who you are, and we’re coming to get you.” Giuliani said to cheers about “radical Islamic terrorists.”

“It’s time to make American safe again. It’s time to make American one again. One America,” Giuliani thundered. “What happened? There’s no black America. There’s no white America. There is just America.”

The former mayor also described Trump as a man with a “big heart, who repeatedly reached out to help police officers and firefighters in need.

“He asked not to be mentioned. Well I am going to break my promise to him. I am going to mention it. This is a man with a big heart who loves people, all people from the top to the bottom, from the middle to the side,” Giuliani said, while criticizing the media for “the defamation of Donald Trump.”

Monday’s kick off of the convention also included a somewhat unusual list of celebrity speakers, which included actors Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato Jr. Several high-profile politicians opted out of the convention. Bob Dole was the only former GOP nominee in attendance at the convention.

The evening’s speeches were interrupted briefly by a few heckling protesters.

But the day’s biggest drama came earlier. At about 4 p.m., Trump opponents tried to force a roll-call vote on convention rules to try to buy time. Rules Committee Chair Enid Mickelsen called for the rules to be adopted on a voice vote. That prompted a shouting match between anti-Trump delegates and the New York billionaire’s supporters with many delegates jumping out of their seats to make their voices heard.

The protests prompted a second voice vote.

The Ohio delegation – loyalists to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who folded his GOP presidential bid last May – and who is not backing Trump – and not planning to attend the convention – sat mainly in their seats.

The rules package that was adopted calls for delegates to remain bound to their candidate, meaning they cannot vote their “conscience.” The theory here is that Trump would not have the vote to become the nominee if his bound delegates were set free.

But the vote was largely symbolic with leaders of the revolt simply wanting to show Trump still has some opposition.

Contributing: Lynn Sweet