The Latest: Gingrich felt obligated to explain Cruz remarks

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

7:15 p.m.

Newt Gingrich says that when he took the stage at the Republican convention soon after Ted Cruz had given his speech, he felt obligated to explain Cruz’s remarks.

Gingrich says he was trying to quell the uproar after the Texas senator ended his speech without endorsing Donald Trump. The crowd booed loudly as Cruz stepped away.

Gingrich says he took on the role of attempting to calm the crowd because, as he puts it, “the delegates were so angry, you needed the act of closure, or they couldn’t shift to the next topic.”

The former House speaker quieted the room, but he certainly didn’t put to rest questions of whether Cruz would vote for Trump.


7:05 p.m.

Donald Trump says he wants to focus on helping people who have been — in his words — “neglected, ignored and abandoned.”

Excerpts of his speech later Thursday night at the Republican National Convention are coming out now, and he’s singling out the middle class.

He says that under his leadership, middle-income Americans “will experience profound relief, and taxes will be greatly simplified for everyone.”

Trump says a combination of tax cuts and fewer regulations will allow trillions of dollars to flow into the country. He also says he’ll improve the roads, bridges and other public works — and that’ll create more jobs.

On education, he promises to “rescue kids from failing schools” by giving parents more of a say in where they send their children.


6:50 p.m.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine has emerged as the leading contender to join the Democratic ticket as Hillary Clinton’s running mate.

That’s according to two Democrats, but they also caution that Clinton hasn’t made a final decision and could change direction.

The announcement of Clinton’s pick could come as early as Friday afternoon in Florida.

The timing is aimed at shifting attention away from the end of Donald Trump’s Republican convention and generating excitement before the start of Clinton’s own convention next week in Philadelphia.

The two Democrats also say Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is still in the mix.

The Democrats are familiar with the selection process and spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the search publicly.


6:40 p.m.

Donald Trump is pledging that as president, he’ll end “crime and violence” across the country.

Excerpts of his speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention are being released ahead of his address, and the GOP presidential nominee is taking a tough law-and-order stance.

Here’s what he says: “The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored.”

That’s the day that President Obama’s term ends.

Trump says America is “far less safe — and the world is far less stable — than when Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy.”

He blames her “bad instincts and her bad judgment” for causing “many of the disasters unfolding today.”

Trump is promising to lower taxes, cut regulation and give parents more choice in selecting their children’s schools.


6 p.m.

There’s not a lot of love from the O’Jays about the use of their song “Love Train” during the Republican National Convention.

The R&B group says its hit — including a version remixed as “Trump Train” — is being used without the band’s consent.

Founding O’Jays members Eddie Levert and Walter Williams say in a statement they were asked to appear at the Cleveland convention. They say they turned down the offer, and they say Donald Trump’s candidacy is — in their words — “divisive and at odds with the overriding message of their song.”

Levert is making clear what he thinks about the GOP presidential nominee: “I think he just may be the anti-Christ.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers say they’re willing to be a part of the upcoming Democratic National Convention.


5:30 p.m.

Donald Trump’s campaign says it raised $3.5 million via online fundraising just on Wednesday.

That’s a single-day record for the campaign.

The campaign is crediting Trump’s new running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, for driving the contributions.

Pence delivered the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.

Trump got off to a late start fundraising after largely self-funding his primary campaign.


4:40 p.m.

A newspaper in the Italian town where Luciano Pavarotti (loo-chee-AH’-noh pah-vah-RAH’-tee) lived says the late tenor’s loved ones are unhappy that Donald Trump’s campaign has played one of his signature arias, Nessun Dorma.

The Gazzetta di Modena is quoting Pavarotti’s widow, Nicoletta Mantovani Pavarotti, and other family members as saying the “values of brotherhood and solidarity” that Pavarotti expressed in his career “are incompatible with the world vision proposed” by Trump.

The Pavarotti family couldn’t immediately be reached by The Associated Press for confirmation or comment.

The rousing crescendo of words ending Nessun Dorma, from opera composer Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot,” proclaims “I will win.”


4:30 p.m.

The longtime sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix has won a speaking spot on the final night of the Republican National Convention.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (ahr-PY’-oh) says he’ll be speaking a few hours before Donald Trump takes the stage to accept the presidential nomination.

The six-term sheriff has been an enthusiastic Trump supporter for the past year and has regularly campaigned for the New York businessman.

On Wednesday, a federal judge presiding over a racial profiling case handed down the first round of punishments for Arpaio’s decision to prolong immigration patrols months after being told to stop.

Arpaio has been found in civil contempt in the case. But he says the court case hasn’t hurt his standing with Trump.


4:25 p.m.

A pro-Hillary Clinton super political action committee is previewing a new “3 a.m. phone call” ad warning that Donald Trump is too dangerous to be president.

The ad starts with a picture of the White House at 3 a.m. The ads cuts to a red phone that’s ringing as Trump has “just zinged another loser” on Twitter. He then complains that someone should answer the ringing phone.

“Will someone get the damn phone?” a President Trump says. “Who is calling me at 3 a.m. anyway? Total loser.”

The spot mirrors an ad that Clinton ran in the Democratic primaries in 2008 against Barack Obama.

The new ad from Priorities USA Action PAC will start running in August.


4:20 p.m.

Pro-gay Republicans are portraying Donald Trump as the most supportive Republican presidential nominee ever.

But at this week’s Republican National Convention, their excitement is clashing with the stark realization their party is still pressing a very different message.

Republicans want to broaden their appeal ahead of November’s election. Yet this week the party adopted policies that move further away from gay rights. For example, there’s a new admonition of gay parenting.

Trump says he’s a “friend of the gay community.” Yet his nominating convention has featured awkward silences on the rare occasions when gay rights have come up.


3:55 p.m.

A GOP delegate says mega-donor Sheldon Adelson has made it clear where he stands on Ted Cruz’s nonendorsement of Donald Trump.

Afterward Cruz’s speech Wednesday night at the Republican convention, Adelson invited Trump into his box.

Delegate Amy Tarkanian says she was in the box with Adelson and his wife, Miriam, while Cruz was on stage.

When Cruz advised Republicans to “vote your conscience,” Tarkanian says she fell back into her seat — and was angered.

She says she saw Miriam Adelson’s jaw had dropped, too.

Tarkanian says the Adelsons were Cruz supporters who weren’t yet fully on board with Trump — but now are “100 percent” for the nominee.

She says the Adelsons then invited Trump into their box.


3:11 p.m.

More than 60 elected officials from across the country are scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next week.

That list Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; the mayor of Flint, Michigan — Karen Weaver; California Gov. Jerry Brown; Minnesota Sen. Al Franken; and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.


2:35 p.m.

Some leading Republicans are rejecting Donald Trump’s suggestion that if he becomes president, the U.S. may revisit NATO’s policy of defending its allies against possible Russian aggression.

His comments in The New York Times created a controversy hours ahead of Trump’s acceptance speech as the Republican presidential nominee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tells CNN that he “totally” disagrees with Trump’s suggestion that U.S. support could be conditional.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker says the U.S. is required under the alliance to defend its allies against possible Russian aggression.

McConnell says on Facebook that he’s willing to attribute Trump’s remarks to “a rookie mistake.”


2:27 p.m.

There’s a surprising supporting actor at the Republican National Convention: the teleprompter.

There are two standard teleprompters that flank the podium at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. A larger screen at the back of the hall is visible to many in the crowd.

That screen contributed to the wild scene Wednesday night. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was showered with boos when he ended his speech without endorsing GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Some delegates on the floor realized they could see what Cruz was about to say by turning to face the screen.

They got excited with Cruz went off-script near the end of his remarks: Was he about to endorse Trump? No.

Trump has spent months criticizing other politicians for employing teleprompters, only to start using them himself for big speeches in recent weeks.


1:42 p.m.

Donald Trump is doing a walk-through at the Cleveland arena where he will accept the Republican Party’s nomination for President Thursday night.

Trump walked on stage at the Quicken Loans Arena and stood at the microphone for several minutes, pointing to various spots in the building.

The Republican presidential nominee briefly spoke, joking that he loved the media before then paying tribute to the host city and the Cleveland police.


12:08 a.m.

Ted Cruz and Mike Pence are winning the race for most-Googled searches.

Google says that searches for the Texas senator spiked by 1,100 percent, while searches for the vice presidential candidate jumped 450 percent since the two men addressed the convention in Cleveland late Wednesday.

The most-searched question for Cruz was: “Why were people booing Ted Cruz,” after Cruz was booed off stage when he wrapped up his speech without endorsing Donald Trump for the president.

Other searches for the Texas senator included “booing” and, Cruz’s final message to voters, “vote your conscience.”


12:06 p.m.

Cory Booker wouldn’t say whether he wanted to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. As a former football player, the Democratic senator from New Jersey says, “I’m happy to do what the coach wants me to do.”

But Booker is sounding like he’s auditioning to debate Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence.

Booker says Clinton is a religious person, but you won’t hear her preaching about her religion. Booker says, “You’ll see her living it.”

Pence talks often about his religion.

Booker spoke at a news conference in Cleveland held to criticize the angry tone of the Republican convention.


11:09 a.m.

Forget what you may be hearing about booing and Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention.

Trump tweets that inside the hall in Cleveland, the party is “VERY united. Great love in the arena!”

Cruz was booed when he refused in his convention speech Wednesday night to endorse Trump for president.

And now Cruz has told the Texas delegation he wouldn’t endorse Trump partly because Trump insulted Cruz’s father and wife during the GOP primary.

Trump is attributing any opposition to “a small group of people who have suffered massive and embarrassing losses.”