The Latest: Ivanka Trump: “I love Melania so much”

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Latest on the Republican National Convention (all times EDT):

7:48 a.m.

Donald Trump’s oldest daughter says she is “proud” of her father’s wife for the speech she delivered at the Republican National Convention, despite controversy that the address in some places mirrored First Lady Michelle Obama’s words.

Ivanka Trump tells NBC’s “Today” that, “I love Melania so much.”

She added that her stepmother is “a very private person, and for her to come out on stage and speak from the heart” is significant.

Trump Organization staff writer Meredith McIver released a statement Wednesday apologizing for the mistake, saying she submitted her resignation to Donald Trump, but he refused to accept it.

Looking ahead to her own speech Thursday night, Ivanka Trump joked in the interview joked that her biggest hope is that she doesn’t trip on stage.


7:30 a.m.

Donald Trump’s top adviser said former rival Ted Cruz “used very bad judgment” when he addressed the GOP convention without endorsing its presidential nominee.

Paul Manafort told NBC’s “Today” Thursday that Trump invited his primary opponents to address the convention in Cleveland because “he views the primary process as over.” Convention delegates formally nominated Trump on Tuesday.

Manafort added that the Republican Party is coming together, despite the Texas senator’s failure to endorse Trump during his primetime address late Wednesday.

But he believes Cruz “used very bad judgment,” adding that “he was not respectful to the invitation by the convention to come and speak.”

Manafort said that Cruz “understood what the responsibilities are, someone in his position.”


7:15 a.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says the Republican Party is coming together even though one-time presidential candidate Ted Cruz refused to endorse Donald Trump at the party’s convention.

The GOP vice presidential nominee told Fox News Thursday that he is grateful Cruz came to the convention noted that the Texas senator did congratulate Trump on winning a hard-fought campaign.

Boos filled the convention hall on Wednesday night after Cruz declined to endorse Trump in his prime time speech and urged Republicans to vote their conscience.

Pence said he is “absolutely confident that in the days ahead you’re going to see this party come together and present the choice to the American people.”


7:12 a.m.

Donald Trump says he’s pleased that the staffer who wrote Michelle Obama’s words into Melania Trump’s speech has removed “that cloud” shadowing his wife’s otherwise well-received address.

The GOP presidential nominee told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday that he appreciated Meredith McIver’s apology. He said it’s “terrific” that McIver, who is an employee of the Trump Organization, admitted inadvertently lifting the first lady’s phrasing from her 2008 convention speech word-for-word. He added that “now that cloud is lifted off” Mrs. Trump.

Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort had led a chorus the candidate’s surrogates denying Mrs. Trump’s speech contained any plagiarism, despite clear evidence to the contrary. McIver released a statement Wednesday saying that she had inadvertently included some phrases from Mrs. Obama’s speech into Mrs. Trump’s address and offered her resignation. Trump refused to accept it. He told ABC that “people make mistakes.”


6:50 a.m.

Donald Trump Jr. says that Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has boycotted the Republican National Convention, was briefly a prospect to be his father’s vice presidential running mate.

The younger Trump tells MSNBC “we talked about it as a potential,” but said nothing came of it and that Kasich never directly discussed it with Donald Trump.

Donald Trump Jr. says the talk of Kasich possibly joining the ticket took place last spring, well before his father started building momentum for the nomination the convention bestowed on him Tuesday night.

Kasich has refused to endorse Trump and the governor has refused to go to the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland where the convention was taking place, although he has made public appearances in the area.


3:37 a.m.

It’s Donald Trump’s moment to make his case to the country — and to the many rattled doubters in his own party.

The most important speech of his presidential campaign will bring down the balloons Thursday night on a convention marked by divided loyalties and unwanted distractions.

Competing passions were sharply on display Wednesday night when Trump’s fiercest primary rival, Ted Cruz, stopped far short of endorsing the nominee and drew loud boos.

Mike Pence’s acceptance speech as Trump’s running mate was overshadowed as a result, one more missed opportunity at a convention with a daily drip of them.

Trump tweeted about Cruz’s speech: “No big deal!”

He said he saw the text of Cruz’s speech two hours before it was delivered but thought, “let him speak anyway.”