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Donald Trump To Accept Republican Nomination At Convention

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And while Donald Trump has been seen a few times already on the convention stage here, tonight is his big night. He accepts his party's presidential nomination amid a flurry of red, white and blue balloons. Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is also one of the evening's headliners. She did a walkthrough of the convention arena this afternoon and tested out the sound system.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

IVANKA TRUMP: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight...

SIEGEL: NPR's Scott Horsley is with me in Cleveland. Scott, lay out the evening for us.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Well, Ivanka Trump will be continuing the work that her brothers and sister began earlier this week trying to paint a fuller picture of Donald Trump as both a father and a businessman. We'll also hear tonight from another successful businessman - Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor from California. And then of course the highlight will be Donald Trump himself. He had a little fun with the media during his own sound check this afternoon.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: I love the media. It is so honest, such honorable people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Laughter) Thank you.

SIEGEL: That was his mic check.

HORSLEY: (Laughter).

SIEGEL: Scott, a lot of people are still talking about last night's speech by Ted Cruz in which the Texas senator avoided endorsing the nominee. What are people saying about that?

HORSLEY: Well, Cruz was loudly booed during that speech, and then he and his wife quickly ducked out of the arena. We caught up with Cruz this morning when he spoke to delegates from his home state of Texas.

(APPLAUSE)

HORSLEY: The Texas delegation should be friendly territory for Ted Cruz. Two out of 3 Texas delegates voted for him, and many greeted the senator warmly when he walked into a hotel ballroom this morning for a delegation meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted...

HORSLEY: But Cruz also faced some hostility over his decision not to endorse GOP nominee Donald Trump in his speech last night. Geraldine Sam of La Mark, Texas, challenge Cruz, suggesting he's making it harder for Republicans to get behind their party's standard bearer.

GERALDINE SAM: If we expect to win, then we've got to come together as a party, as a unit together as one. And so I'm very disappointed.

HORSLEY: Cruz listened politely to his critics, but he wasn't giving an inch.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TED CRUZ: This isn't just a team sport. We don't just put on red jerseys or blue jerseys and, yay. This is about principles and ideals. This is about standing for what we believe in.

HORSLEY: The more delegates shouted questions, the more Cruz dug in. He stressed that while he didn't endorse Trump last night, he didn't attack him either. But when pressed on whether he'd vote for Trump, Cruz was noncommittal. That depends on how Trump conducts the campaign, Cruz said, beginning with tonight's acceptance speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CRUZ: I am doing what millions of Americans are doing. I'm watching. I'm listening. But I can tell you I'm not voting for Hillary.

(CHEERING)

HORSLEY: Cruz has made it clear to Trump beforehand that he would not be endorsing the candidate. Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, acknowledges Trump knew what was coming.

PAUL MANAFORT: That was Senator Cruz's decision. Mr. Trump invited him because he wanted him to have the opportunity to speak.

HORSLEY: Trump's campaign argues if anyone was hurt by Cruz's speech, it was Cruz himself, noting the Texas senator was the only speaker who was roundly booed during the convention. Manafort also accused Cruz of breaking his primary pledge to support the ultimate GOP nominee, though Cruz insists that pledge was voided once Trump leveled crude attacks on Cruz's wife and father.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CRUZ: And that pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I'm going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say, thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.

HORSLEY: Some members of the Texas delegation urged Cruz to get over it for the sake of party unity. But Randall Dunning of Dallas defends the Texas senator, saying Cruz is actually offering Trump a roadmap of how to win over hard-core conservatives.

RANDALL DUNNING: And I see Ted Cruz as being the kind of person who's willing to take the slings and arrows, to take the arrows in his back if he has to in order to stand up for the foundational principles that we have in this party.

HORSLEY: Dunning says he's already committed to voting for Trump in November. Geraldine Sam agrees, saying Cruz's hostility won't sway her vote.

SAM: Whether or not he support Trump or not, we're still going to leave as a united party, as a united Republican Party. One person doesn't stop a show.

HORSLEY: Trump's team is pretty confident about carrying Texas. Ohio, where this convention's being held, is a much bigger question mark.

SIEGEL: That's NPR correspondent Scott Horsley. Scott, thanks.

HORSLEY: My pleasure, Robert. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.