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Trump's Speech At RNC Satisfies Delegate Bell: 'He Absolutely Delivered'

Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took to the stage Thursday night at the final night of the GOP National Convention. He was rallying the crowd behind him as the party looks toward the general election. We’ve been checking in with Washington state delegate Jack Bell throughout this week as part of our election series “From the Floor.”

Bell was elected to the national convention as a state delegate supporting former candidate Ted Cruz. But he’s since thrown his support to Donald Trump in the interest of “party unity,” though he has said he wanted to hear more specifics from the GOP candidate. Bell says Trump "absolutely delivered."

"I thought his speech was fantastic. He seemed very presidential. And something that I haven't seen from him that he really showed was humility, and courage as well," Bell said.

He says candidate Trump laid out a "solid plan" during his speech, which went on for more than an hour. But Bell was especially glad to hear Trump walk back one policy that he's been talking about for months: banning Muslims from entering the country.

"He talked about protecting against Islamic terrorism ... rather than banning a certain religion. That just goes against everything I see this country as."

Credit John Locher / AP Photo
AP Photo
Balloons fall after Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, addresses the delegates during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Thursday, July 21, 2016.

Many have said Trump's speech was light on specifics, and Bell says that's fine because the candidate is focused more on the Republican platform right now.

"Obviously, he's not going to have time to explain how he's doing to do each and every thing. But the fact that he was solid on the issues themselves, of what he's doing to do, I was really happy with it," Bell said.

He says he felt pride standing on the convention floor watching the balloons drop from the ceiling as Trump finished his speech. Bell says he hadn't realized Trump's "full potential" until Thursday night. He says taking part in the convention, and talking with his fellow Republicans, has been a "learning experience." Bell says he has high hopes for the party's future, and his role in it. But he does see some challenges ahead.

"As a party, we need to reach out a lot more to millennials through social media — and changing our messaging and how we portray ourselves," he said. "Right now, it's kind of cast in a negative light ... I think a lot of people truly just don't understand what it means to be a Republican. We are the party of hope; We are the party of diversity; and we are the party of growth."

This is part of KPLU's ongoing election series "From the Floor," focused on the Washington delegation at each of the party's national conventions.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.
Ariel first entered a public radio newsroom in 2004 while in school at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. It was love at first sight. After graduating from Bradley, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Ariel has lived in Indiana, Ohio and Alaska reporting on everything from salmon spawning to policy issues concerning education. She's been a host, a manager and now rides shotgun with Kirsten Kendrick as the Morning Edition producer at KNKX.