CLEVELAND — A fiery, focused Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump painted a grim picture last night of a nation in chaos, wracked with violence and humiliated in the world, laying blame squarely at the feet of President Obama and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton — and promising to reverse eight years of setbacks.

“I am your voice,” Trump said, embracing his often inflammatory, no-holds-barred populist style. “Things have to change, and they have to change right now.

“The American people will come first once again,” Trump thundered, to cheers.

In a speech wrought with unabashed patriotism, Trump came out leading a chant of “USA! USA! USA! USA!”

Decrying a “rigged system,” he offered himself as a champion for ordinary people who feel alienated by elites in Washington.

“I’m with you, and I will fight for you, and I will win for you,” he declared. “I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves.”

He accused Clinton of utterly lacking the judgment to lead the nation and serve as the military’s commander in chief.

“This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness,” he said. “But Hillary Clinton’s legacy does not have to be America’s legacy.”

Reciting a litany of police deaths, rising murder rates and rampant illegal immigration, Trump again promised a “great border wall” and said, “I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20, 2017, safety will be restored.”

“The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its citizens … It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of our nation. We cannot afford to be politically correct any more,” he said, calling it a “moment of crisis for our country.”

“So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully crafted lies and the media myths, go to the Democratic convention next week,” he said. “But here there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth and nothing else.”

Invoking Obama’s failed “red line” in Syria and the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Ben­ghazi, Libya, Trump said, “America is less safe than when President Obama put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy. Let’s defeat her in November.”

Trump, often seen as disconnected from minority concerns, went out of his way to reach out to unemployed blacks and Latinos and the 14 million people he said have left the workforce. Trump was introduced by his daughter Ivanka, who evoked the image of a deeply caring, engaged father who cared about and sought to help people suffering misfortune.

“A change in leadership is required to produce a change in outcomes. Tonight I will share with you my plan for action for America,” Trump said. “The most important difference between our plan and our opponent, is our plan will put America first.”

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(c)2016 the Boston Herald

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