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Donald Trump Praises GOP Convention As 'Peaceful,' 'Love-Filled'

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The morning after his carefully choreographed speech in Cleveland, Donald Trump ditched the teleprompter. He spoke to volunteers after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention, and his off-script comments went after Texas Senator Ted Cruz. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Trump's remarks this morning started on a positive note.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: I want to thank the people of Cleveland and the people of Ohio.

(APPLAUSE)

HORSLEY: The newly-minted presidential nominee boasted about the peaceful atmosphere at this week's convention, the TV ratings and the grandeur of the convention stage. He sounded a little sheepish that his acceptance speech ran so long last night, but added that was only because there was so much applause.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: This was probably one of the most peaceful, one of the most beautiful, one of the most love-filled conventions in the history of conventions. And when they talk about unity, I want to tell you that was unity. That was unity, right?

HORSLEY: Indeed, despite some early missteps, the GOP convention did wrap up on a celebratory note.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HORSLEY: As balloons dropped and confetti flew last night, Utah Delegate James Lee said Trump had won him over, even though he'd arrived at the convention a strong supporter of Ted Cruz.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JAMES LEE: But at the end of the day I'm happy. It's a time of unity. Conventions are times of celebration - time to get out there for Trump.

HORSLEY: It seemed as if the storyline that dominated the middle of the week - Cruz's pointed refusal to endorse Trump - might be put to rest as Republicans join forces for the upcoming general election. But rather than binding up old wounds with Cruz today, Trump decided to pick the scab.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: Honestly, he may have ruined his political career. I feel so badly. I feel so badly. And, you know, he'll come and endorse over the next little while. He'll come and endorse - just cause he has no choice. But I don't want his endorsement. What difference does it make? I don't want his endorsement.

HORSLEY: A day earlier, Cruz had defended his decision not to back Trump, citing Trump's attacks on his wife and father.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TED CRUZ: I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.

(APPLAUSE)

HORSLEY: Trump argued today it was Cruz's side that started the fight over wives when a political action committee circulated a risque photo of Trump's wife, Melania, to conservative Utah voters. Trump had also suggested Cruz's father was associated with John F. Kennedy's assassin. But Trump insisted today he was just passing on information from a reputable supermarket tabloid.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there's a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast.

HORSLEY: Even as he was picking fights with old primary rivals today, Trump argued conservatives have no choice but to support his campaign, if only to prevent Democratic rival Hillary Clinton from getting the chance to name Supreme Court justices. As he was making that case though, Trump veered into an observation of the money he could have made scalping tickets to the RNC.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: There were no seats, and those seats were selling for a lot of money on eBay. They were going for big numbers. In fact, I was thinking about taking about 10 or 12 tickets and saying, let's go.

HORSLEY: Trump's daughter Ivanka found her own way to capitalize, tweeting out a link today where shoppers can find the dress she wore during her convention speech from her own signature collection. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.