How did Trump do? GOP pundits weigh in on speech
© Greg Nash

The Hill asked Republican pundits to assess Trump's acceptance speech. Here's what they had to say.

Bradley A. Blakeman

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE — you're hired! His personal statement tonight made the case not only to the Republican convention, but also to the American people at large. Trump's remarks were as impressive as his resume. By the reaction of the convention attendees tonight, it is clear they liked what they heard. He tells it like it is: unfiltered and direct. And it was clearly not your typical acceptance speech delivered by a not-so-typical GOP nominee.

Trump lived up to tonight's theme, "Make America One Again," laying out by subject, one after the other, the problems we face, what needs to be done and how he will get it done — getting back to basics and vowing to unite the nation in his efforts will be his immediate challenges as president.

It starts with our own safety and security; only then can we achieve a healthy economy, fair trade, immigration reform, a strong military, care for veterans, tax reform, regulation reform, job creation, a robust manufacturing base, infrastructure development, energy independence, debt reduction, the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, a strong foreign policy and a balanced Supreme Court, just to name a few of his objectives. In short, his message is simple: He fixes things and will put America first.

This has been the year of the outsider in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. The Republicans chose one, but the Democrats took a pass. There is no more outsider than Trump and no more insider than presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations Top GOP legislator in California leaves party GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties MORE. The choices for the American people could not be starker.

Trump is the real deal and after tonight's performance, I have to believe that Democrats are shivering in their pantsuits about the next 100-plus days to come before Election Day.

America, your choice: great again or same again? 

Blakeman is a professor of Public Policy, Politics and International Affairs at Georgetown University and was formerly a senior adviser to President George W. Bush.

Former Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-N.Y.)

Trump's speech began to frame the election in the right way: Our system is "rigged," and it thus takes an outsider to change it. This is the theme he needs to concentrate on from now until Nov. 8.

While veering off into crime too often during the speech, and thus taking the focus away from his strength on jobs and the economy, and for going on too, too long, Trump effectively laid out the differences between himself and Clinton.

If he keeps the focus on Clinton, he can win in November. But if he lets her make the election a referendum on his temperament, he will lose.

Tonight's speech is his guidepost for the road to November.

The question now is: Will he stick to it?

LeBoutillier is a former Republican congressman from New York and is the co-host of "Political Insiders" on Fox News Channel.

Matt Mackowiak

Tonight, Trump effectively asked all Americans to answer one question: Do you feel safe? He believes the overwhelming answer is "no." Given the limitations of his candidacy, this was a well-developed and strongly delivered speech. At times it did appear too negative, but contrast is necessary in a nomination speech.

Trump made an address worthy of the presidency and I believe the result will be a small bump in the polls in the next week. My biggest concern is that he did not use this speech to expand his appeal, choosing instead to deepen it among the support he already has. His themes were entirely consistent with his campaign over the past year, but it was presented in the most thorough, disciplined and specific way yet. Trump smartly tapped in to the economic and security anxiety that many Americans feel, presenting himself as the only acceptable solution.

If Trump would present himself this seriously in campaign rallies, interviews and in the televised debates for the rest of the campaign, he would likely have a reasonable chance to win against a weak Democrat in a change year. He has now set a new standard. The question is: Can he keep it up?

Mackowiak is a syndicated columnist; an Austin, Texas-based Republican consultant; and a former Capitol Hill and George W. Bush administration aide.

Rick Manning

Trump's personal, national and job security message hits to the heart of Americans who have seen their jobs threatened or lost, watched violence against the police seemingly accepted by our nation's leaders, and had their constitutional freedoms and beliefs come under nonstop attack over the past eight years, all the while terrorist attacks and beheadings seemingly are becoming the new normal.

Trump speaks directly to these voters, many of them blue collar, who have found that the Democratic Party that they once felt spoke for them has completely abandoned them. Tonight, Trump looked them in the eye and promised to be their voice, one that will tell the truth rather than subtle lies couched as political correctness. Trump promised to be a voice that will stand for them and against the corporate cronies who have fixed the system against them.

Rather than run a failed wash, rinse, repeat campaign, Trump's appeal to put America first in trade deals, restore law and order, enforce our borders, and protect our national security demonstrates that he is going to fight for traditional blue-collar, Democratic and independent voters in the Great Lakes states and beyond against an opponent saddled with a globalist record that is despised by these voters. The political brilliance of changing the electoral map from one where the GOP candidate had no margin for error to one where there are more battleground states in play automatically puts Clinton on the defensive in traditional Democratic strongholds like Pittsburgh, where it is Trump's rhetoric that is much more familiar and popular than Clinton's.

The fight for America has been joined, and the battleground will be blue-collar voters, a massive voting bloc that Clinton wishes would just go away.

Manning is a longtime conservative political professional who remains active in his local Republican Party.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.