Trump Calls for Love, Unity Hours After Angry Words at Phoenix Rally

President Donald Trump speaks at the National Convention of the American Legion, Aug. 23, 2017, in Reno, Nev. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks at the National Convention of the American Legion, Aug. 23, 2017, in Reno, Nev. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A different President Donald Trump showed up at the American Legion convention Wednesday with a different message calling on Americans to come together and love one another.

"We are people who love, we are people with heart," Trump said in an address at the Reno-Sparks convention center in Reno, Nevada, before signing a bill to speed up the veterans disability claims appeals process.

Trump said America's veterans had shown the way to heal the divisions in the country that resulted in violence earlier this month in the aftermath of a march by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va.

"We are here to hold you up as an example of the strength, courage and resolve that our country will need to overcome the many challenges that we face," Trump told the estimated 5,000 veterans in the audience.

"We are here to draw inspiration from you as we seek to renew the bonds of loyalty that bind us together as one people and one nation," he said. "We have no division too deep for us to heal. In America, we never lose faith. We never stop striving for a better future. Together, we will not fail," Trump said.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Trump was on stage for more than an hour at a raucous, campaign-style rally of enthusiastic supporters who cheered as he launched tirades at the "fake news" media he claimed misrepresented his comments on the Charlottesville violence.

Trump also mocked political rivals and threatened to shut down the government next month unless Congress comes up with the money to build the border wall he promised during the campaign.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, later went on CNN to question Trump's "fitness" for office. Clapper also said he found Trump's access to the nuclear codes "downright scary."

A calmer and more focused Trump was on stage in Reno. Americans are "defined by our shared humanity," he said. "It is time to heal the wounds that have divided us, and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us. We are one people, with one home, and one flag."

"If American Patriots could secure our Independence, carve out a home in the wilderness, and free millions from oppression around the world, that same sense of patriotism, courage, and love can help us create a better future for our people today," Trump said.

Trump brought on stage Navy and Army National Guard veteran Donald E. Ballard, a Medal of Honor recipient for his "above and beyond" service in Vietnam. "I believe we've elected the right leader to lead us out, to drain the swamp," Ballard said to prolonged cheers from the audience.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

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