Donald J. Trump was formally crowned the Republican nominee for president at the party’s convention on Tuesday, ending a tumultuous primary season but not the nagging questions about his polarizing candidacy as he once again found himself embroiled in controversy.
With his campaign appearing in disarray after his wife, Melania,delivered a convention speech cribbed in part from one once given by Michelle Obama, Mr. Trump officially claimed the nomination. But the gap between Mr. Trump and the party he now aims to lead yawned as wide as ever across the convention.
At times, the only unifying appeals — the only themes truly capable of rallying the Republican Party, even briefly — were ominous denunciations of Hillary Clinton. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Trump ally stung by his rejection in the hunt to be Mr. Trump’s running mate, rebounded with a call to arms against Mrs. Clinton.
Casting himself as her prosecutor in a mock trial, Mr. Christie roused the crowd to spontaneous chants of “Lock her up!”
But such moments of unity passed quickly in an evening that showcased the Republican Party’s crippling divisions from the start. In the roll call vote that began the night, formally marking Mr. Trump’s capture of the Republican nomination, 721 delegates cast their votes for candidates other than Mr. Trump — the most significant expression of party dissent since 1976, when Republicans had a contested convention.
And if more traditional Republicans in the audience showed limited enthusiasm for Mr. Trump, the misgivings were mutual: Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, drew scattered boos from the crowd in multiple appearances on stage. Mr. McConnell, who has both endorsed Mr. Trump and criticized his campaign, offered a restrained embrace on Tuesday, stressing in his remarks that Mr. Trump would sign laws passed by the Republican-held Senate.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who was reluctant to endorse Mr. Trump, was more direct in his remarks over the party’s rift — what he called “our arguments this year.” But, Mr. Ryan said, “democracy is a series of choices.”
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The mood of the event careened uneasily back and forth, from exultant celebrations cheered on by the Trump family to sober discourses on conservative policy guided by Republican congressional leaders to attacks on Mrs. Clinton.
While Mr. Ryan, representing the G.O.P.’s governing wing, laid out a vision for “a reformed tax code that rewards free enterprise,” Ben Carson, the physician who briefly caught fire last year in his presidential campaign, used part of his address to claim that Mrs. Clinton is a student of Saul Alinsky, the 20th-century activist and community organizer.