From The Associated Press:
CLEVELAND (AP) — A man badly in need of a big moment, Donald Trump on Thursday faced the most important speech of his presidential campaign, a last chance to make his case to skeptics at a convention marked by divided loyalties and unwanted distractions.
The newly crowned Republican nominee had hoped for a triumphant turn at the podium, but he has instead been plagued by fresh political and policy headaches: His most tenacious primary rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, still refused to endorse him – and happily took the convention stage anyway. And Trump’s own exposition of his foreign policy views was rattling allies at home and abroad.
The candidate said he just wanted people to come out of the Republican National Convention knowing this fact: “I’m very well-liked.” But it is clear he’ll need more than that if he is to end his four days in the spotlight achieving more good than harm.
Trump raised the stakes in an interview in which he said he would set new conditions before coming to the aid of NATO allies. The remarks, in an interview published Thursday with The New York Times, deviated from decades of U.S. foreign policy doctrine and seemed to suggest he would put new conditions on the 67-year-old alliance’s bedrock principle of collective defense.
As president, Trump said he would defend an ally against Russian aggression only after first ensuring that the allies had met their obligations to the U.S. “If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes,” he said.
The comment put a finer point on the candidate’s previous criticism of NATO’s relevance and his contention that allies aren’t paying their fair share. It served up a fresh …