Cleveland played central role in Donald Trump campaign

CLEVELAND-- Everyone knows the road to the White House goes through Ohio.

Cleveland played a major role in many of the pivotal events that propelled Donald Trump to victory in the presidential race.

In August 2015, Trump arrived in Cleveland for the first Republican presidential debate and revealed the central theme of his campaign.

"I've been preparing all my life. We have to make our country great again, that's what we have to do. We have to make America great again," he said.

Later that night, at Quicken Loans Arena, the businessman foreshadowed the campaign that would confound his critics.

"I've been challenged by so many people and I frankly don't have time for total correctness, and to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either," Trump said.

He would emerge from the crowded GOP field in the primaries and return to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention in July. In his acceptance speech, Trump pledged to keep Americans safe.

After the efforts of the Cleveland Division of Police and partners from across the country to main order during the RNC, Trump called Police Chief Calvin Williams to thank him personally.

"He has done and you people done an unbelievable job. They're talking about it all over the country," Trump said.

When the "Access Hollywood" recording was released, many thought it was torpedo his chances of winning the White House. He returned to the I-X Center in Cleveland in October and told a large audience his campaign was gaining momentum in key swing states like Ohio.

"Ohio is a special place, and Cleveland is a special place and always will be to me," Trump said.

In an exclusive call to FOX 8 News on election night, the now-president-elect displayed unwavering confidence.

"You know, look, we have a great country and it needs help, it needs leadership," he said.