2020 Republican National Convention

Live Updates And Analysis


Republicans portrayed Democrats as “radical” and decried “cancel culture” on Night 1 of the Republican National Convention. Speakers also hailed President Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, even as relief talks are stalled, and shared personal stories of supportive interactions with Trump.


Next up: Tuesday night will feature first lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Highlights From Night 1: Warnings Of A Dire Future

Republicans kicked off their convention with a lineup of speakers focused on touting the successes of President Trump in his first term.

Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley argued that Trump “has earned four more years as president,” praising his relationship with China and military gains against ISIS. “He tells the world what it needs to hear,” Haley added.

Speaking to the president’s character, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise stressed the support he received from the president and first lady Melania Trump after he was shot in 2017. “They were there for my family in my darkest hours,” Scalise said.

Anti-Democratic rhetoric also dominated the evening, with speakers criticizing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.

In one of the most memorable speeches of the evening, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott argued that Biden “would turn our country into a socialist utopia.” Scott, who is the only Black Republican in the Senate, also attacked Biden’s criminal justice record and the Democrats’ policy response to the racial unrest over the killing of George Floyd.

The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., took direct aim at Biden in his speech. “Joe Biden and the radical left are also now coming for our freedom of speech and want to bully us into submission,” he said.

Earlier in the day, over 300 delegates convened in Charlotte, N.C., and officially voted to make Trump the Republican Party’s nominee for president. Trump spoke at the convention during the day as well as at an event nearby in Mills River.

“This is the most important election in the history of our country,” Trump said during the convention. “This is the biggest — this is it. Our country can go in a horrible, horrible direction or an even greater direction. And before the plague came in from China, that’s where we were going. We were going in a direction like we had never seen.”

For analysis and a post-convention recap every day this week, be sure to subscribe to The NPR Politics Podcast.

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During The Convention, Biden Highlights Past GOP Opposition To Trump

In a night of Republican leaders voicing their support for President Trump, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tweeted a compilation of video clips showing GOP criticism of Trump during the 2016 Republican primary.

The video clips feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — all of whom ran for president in 2016. It also features former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who praised Trump at the convention tonight, as well as then-Rep. Mike Pompeo, who now serves as Trump’s secretary of state and is slated to speak on Tuesday.

Zeroing in on past criticisms from primary opponents is a strategy used on both sides of the aisle. After California Sen. Kamala Harris was announced as Biden’s running mate, Trump repeatedly referenced Harris and Biden’s altercation during the first Democratic debate, where she criticized Biden’s stance on school busing.

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Major development

Tim Scott Attacks Biden’s Record — And Tries To Give Hopeful Vision

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the lone Black GOP senator, used his headliner slot wrapping up opening night of the Republican National Convention to lambaste some of Joe Biden’s previous comments about African Americans and the former vice president’s record on policing issues.

Scott also recounted his own story of rising from poverty to power — using a far more optimistic tone than other Republican speakers, who mostly warned about a grim future under possible Democratic rule.

Addressing the country live from the stage of the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., Scott ticked through some of Biden’s statements that he has had to walk back or clarify during the campaign.

And, Scott added: “While his words are one thing, his actions take it to a whole new level.”

He described Biden as a senator crafting a 1994 crime bill that many now say was an overreaction and penalized people of color, and he contrasted that with President Trump’s efforts on criminal justice reform.

“Biden led the charge on a crime bill that put millions of Black Americans behind bars,” Scott said in prepared remarks. “President Trump’s criminal justice reform law fixed many of the disparities Biden created and made our system more fair and just for all Americans.”

Scott led the effort to craft his party’s police reform proposal after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody touched off national pressure for Congress to act. His plan was blocked by Senate Democrats, as House Democrats argued for a much more sweeping proposal, and the issue stalled along partisan lines.

Scott tonight said Democratic leaders “wanted the issue more than they wanted a solution.”

The 54-year-old senator’s description of his own childhood as a poor student who became the first African American elected to both the House and Senate was an inspirational finish to a program that was mostly a dark warning about what Republicans believe the Biden-Harris ticket could mean for the United States.

“Our family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime,” Scott said. “And that’s why I believe the next American century can be better than the last.”

Scott painted the 2020 Democratic ticket as left-wing extremists who “want a cultural revolution” and echoed other GOP speakers warning that a Biden administration “would turn our country into a socialist utopia.”

He also attempted to strike an optimistic tone about the Trump administration’s record on economic issues — specifically policies he says aided communities of color — and plans for the future.

“We don’t give in to cancel culture or the radical — and factually baseless — belief that things are worse today than in the 1860s or the 1960s,” Scott said. “We have work to do … but I believe in the goodness of America … the promise that all men and all women are created equal.”

Scott has publicly talked about his own experiences as a Black man with law enforcement — saying in a tearful speech on the Senate floor after police-related shootings in 2016 that he had been pulled over by police seven times since he was sworn in to his Senate seat.

The South Carolina senator has been tagged by top leaders as a future party leader since he arrived in Washington. Scott was elected to the House in the Tea Party wave of 2010 and was quickly elected as the freshman class representative to the GOP leadership team. When South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint stepped down in 2013, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley tapped Scott to finish out his term.

Political observers have raised the possibility that Scott would return to South Carolina and run for governor or even president. But he said in 2019 that his reelection bid for his Senate seat in 2022 would be his last political campaign.

Scott talked about his experience in the business sector before running for office. He was the lead champion of adding opportunity zones to the 2017 Republican tax-cut bill. “We put hard-earned tax dollars back in people’s pockets by cutting their taxes, especially for single-parent households like the one I grew up in — cutting single mothers’ taxes 70% on average,” Scott said.

Trump won only 8% of the Black vote in the 2016 election, according to exit polls. Most current polls show Joe Biden with another big lead among African Americans, but Trump continues to argue that he has done more for Black people than any other president since Abraham Lincoln. In some of the key battleground states that helped Trump win four years ago — such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — Democrats are mounting efforts to turn out the vote. North Carolina has become a major focus in the 2020 campaign. Changing demographics there and concerns about the state being a hot spot for the coronavirus pandemic have shown the president’s popularity fading there.

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Donald Trump Jr. Offers Fiery Defense Of His Father

Tonight, President Trump’s oldest child delivered a passionate defense of his father’s first term in office — and some red meat for his base of supporters.

Donald Trump Jr. accused Democrats of being too politically correct to blame China for the coronavirus and of clamping down on people who “speak their mind.”

“Joe Biden and the radical left are also now coming for our freedom of speech and want to bully us into submission,” said Trump Jr., a popular figure on the Republican Party’s right flank who’s known for his provocative use of social media.

In July, Twitter put a 12-hour restriction on his account for what it called a “misleading and potentially harmful” post questioning the use of masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and promoting the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine.

Trump Jr., 42, got his first big political platform in a speech to the 2016 Republican convention. In his book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, Trump Jr. said that moment drove his interest in politics, and he acknowledged the speculation that he, too, would one day pursue public office.

He became a figure in the special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election because of a meeting he took in Trump Tower with Russians who had offered information on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. was interviewed but was not charged with any crime over the incident.

Trump Jr. has since become one of the highest-profile surrogates for his dad on the campaign trail, regularly warming up arena crowds for rallies, before the coronavirus shut those down. Since then, he has led scores of online events for the campaign. His girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle — a former Fox News host who also scored a speaking slot at the RNC — is national chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committee.

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Trump Chats With Freed U.S. Hostages, Detainees

President Trump gathered a group of six U.S. hostages and detainees freed during his time in office in a recorded segment for the convention, part of a push by the Republican Party to show his negotiating acumen, his commitment to religious freedom — and his compassionate side.

Trump sat in a semicircle with the six people, each of whom briefly recounted their stories and thanked him for his efforts to secure their freedom.

The group included Andrew Brunson, a pastor who had been arrested in Turkey and detained for more than two years. Brunson’s cause was championed by American evangelical leaders.

Trump emphasized his appreciation for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “To me, President Erdogan was very good,” he said. “He ultimately, after we had a few conversations, he agreed,” Trump said.

A second pastor, Bryan Nerren of Tennessee, explained that he had been arrested by the Indian government while traveling there. “India responded very well to my request,” Trump said.

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Former Ambassador Nikki Haley: Trump Has ‘Earned 4 More Years’

Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley says President Trump has stood up for America as president and created a record of “strength and success.”

“Joe Biden and the Democrats are still blaming America first,” Haley said in her remarks. “Donald Trump has always put America first. And he has earned four more years as president.”

Haley also denounced Democrats for “cancel culture,” wading into the clash between Democrats and Republicans over social justice protests that erupted early this summer after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist,” Haley said. “That is a lie. America is not a racist country.”

Haley focused on the opportunity ahead for both parties to improve race relations and opportunity for communities of all kinds, referencing her own background growing up with Indian immigrant parents and South Carolina’s response to the 2015 Charleston church shooting.

Haley is widely seen as a rising star within the Republican Party and has been discussed as a potential future presidential candidate.

Haley has spent the past four years walking a careful line between supporting President Trump and distancing herself from some of his most controversial policies, even as she served as his ambassador to the United Nations.

Haley frequently criticized Trump during the 2016 campaign when she served as governor of South Carolina.

Her relationship with Trump has ranged from supportive to directly adversarial. Haley was a prominent supporter of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and was a frequent target for Trump online. She waited until late October 2016 to announce that she would be voting for Trump.

“That doesn’t mean it’s an easy vote,” Haley said at a news conference at the time. “But it does mean that I’m watching out for the people of South Carolina, and I’m watching out for the people of this country.”

Less than one month later, Trump announced that he planned to nominate Haley to be ambassador to the United Nations. Haley resigned as governor to take that role.

Haley served as ambassador to the U.N. for two years before resigning. During that time, she supported Trump’s hard-line approach to conflicts with Iran and North Korea but was known to clash with Trump on other issues. In 2018, Haley published an op-ed in The Washington Post where she explicitly said she disagreed with Trump on some issues but said those disagreements should be confined to the White House, not shared to the press through anonymous leaks.

Haley has remained lightly and carefully critical of Trump in the years since she left her post as ambassador to the United Nations. Last year, Haley published a book on her time in the Trump administration. During the book’s promotion, she told NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly that while she had some concerns about Trump’s behavior in office, like calling for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, she did not believe the actions warranted impeachment.

“It is not a good practice for us ever to ask a foreign country to investigate an American,” Haley told NPR. “I don’t see it as impeachable.”

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Cuban American Maximo Alvarez Warns Against Socialism

Maximo Alvarez, a Cuban American whose family fled Fidel Castro’s oppressive government when he was a child, warned tonight that Democratic policy goals mirror the socialism and communism of his homeland.

“These false promises — spread the wealth, defund the police, trust a socialist state more than your family and community — don’t sound radical to my ears; they sound familiar.”

The South Florida businessman and donor to President Trump is one of several people born in socialist or communist-controlled countries who will speak at the Republican National Convention this week, as the Trump campaign continues to try to tie former Vice President Joe Biden to socialism.

“The country I was born in is gone — destroyed,” Alvarez said in emotional remarks. “When I watch the news in Seattle and Chicago and Portland, when I see history being rewritten, when I hear the promises, I hear echoes of a former life I never wanted to hear again. I see shadows I thought I had outrun.”

The Trump campaign has repeatedly attacked Biden as beholden to a radical wing of the Democratic Party that favors socialist policies.

Alvarez’s speech was followed by a video package accusing Biden of marching in “lockstep” with socialists. That’s despite the fact that Biden ran in the Democratic primary as a relative moderate compared with the rest of the field; opposes a government-run single-payer health care system; and defeated Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed democratic socialist, by a wide margin.

Polls and focus groups have shown that many swing voters don’t fully buy the Trump campaign’s attempts to portray Biden as a far-left socialist or even as a “puppet” of the more progressive wing of his party.

Still, Biden has tacked to the left on several key issues, including climate change, since he won the nomination and is running on an overall platform that is far more progressive than what Barack Obama ran and won on. Biden has repeatedly promised in recent months to be the most progressive president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Sean Parnell Makes His Case For Congress In A Race To Unseat Democrat

In an address to the convention, Republicans heard from Sean Parnell, an Army veteran challenging Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb for his Pennsylvania seat.

Parnell criticized the direction of the Democratic Party and stressed his support for President Trump.

“Where Democrats once stood for hardworking, law-abiding Americans who displayed our flag with pride, this new Democratic Party considers these people uneducated racists, clinging to guns and Bibles,” Parnell said.

Lamb was first elected to Congress in March 2018 during a special election, winning by an extremely thin margin in a district that voted for Trump by close to 20 percentage points in 2016. His win was a defeat for Republicans, as President Trump had both endorsed and campaigned for Lamb’s Republican opponent.

Due to redistricting changes, Lamb launched a second campaign later that year for Pennsylvania’s 17th District and secured the seat that November.

Parnell’s campaign has tied Lamb to several prominent Democrats in Congress. In a recent advertisement, Parnell stressed the similarities in Lamb’s voting record to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, using a not-so-subtle pun.

“Conor became Pelosi’s little lamb the moment he got to Washington,” the ad says. “He voted against the Born Alive Act, for the job-killing Paris climate accords. He voted to impeach our president, has an F rating from the NRA. In fact, Lamb votes with Pelosi over 90% of the time. I’m no shepherd, but I can tell you that’s baaaaaaaaad.”

According to OpenSecrets, Parnell currently trails Lamb in fundraising, pulling in close to $1.2 million, compared with Lamb at $2.1 million.

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Scalise Showcases Trump’s Personal Side And Hits On Biden’s Long Washington Tenure

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican leader, used his prime-time speaking slot to reveal his own personal stories about President Trump.

He talked about the president and first lady’s visit to the hospital after he was shot in 2017.

“They were there for my family in my darkest hours,” Scalise said from the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Scalise, like most Republicans on Capitol Hill, didn’t have a close relationship with Trump before the 2016 presidential campaign. But Trump came to the hospital after Scalise was gravely injured in 2017 when James Hodgkinson opened fire on the GOP baseball team at a morning practice. Scalise was playing second base and was shot multiple times. He was treated on the scene by his teammate, fellow GOP Rep. Brad Wenstrup, who was a medic in the Army Reserve in the Iraq War.

Scalise spent months recovering and had an emotional return to the House floor three months later and even got the first play during the annual charity game. Scalise noted that if he hadn’t been at the field that morning with his security detail, which returned fire, it’s likely multiple lawmakers could have been killed.

Scalise, as he and other top Republican lawmakers have done for months, warned against what a Democratic administration would mean, arguing it would be a sharp swerve to the left for the United States.

“This is an election about a party that wants to burn down the foundations of our country to the ground and a party that wants to rebuild and protect our great nation,” Scalise said. Like other GOP speakers, Scalise incorrectly stated that Joe Biden wanted to defund the police. He said it was personal for him because his security detail saved his life. Unlike some progressives in his party, Biden has said he opposes that approach.

Scalise contrasted Trump’s three years in office working on trade and economic policies and enacting criminal justice reform with Biden’s long tenure in both the Senate and Obama administration.

“What has Joe Biden done in his 47 years in Washington that can compare to that?” Scalise asked.

The Louisiana lawmaker is popular with his colleagues, hosting dinners with Cajun food and organizing political and messaging strategy against Democratic legislation. His whip operation, which had some issues keeping lawmakers united when the Republicans controlled the House, has largely held the smaller GOP conference together in the minority. His team’s floor strategy has forced Democrats to take tough procedural votes ahead of the November election. He rose to the leadership ranks after chairing the conservative Republican Study Committee.

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Georgia Democrat Vernon Jones Defends Trump’s Record With Black Voters

Georgia state lawmaker Vernon Jones, a Democrat who endorsed President Trump in April, defended Trump’s relationship with Black voters and touted his record on criminal justice reform.

“On issue after issue and in just a single term, [Trump] destroyed these negative forces that have victimized the Black community for decades,” Jones said in his remarks. “He gave us the opportunity to rise.”

Jones has become a major surrogate for Trump both as a Black lawmaker and as the only Democratic official in the state to publicly back the president. Jones credited Trump with creating economic and educational opportunities for Black voters across the United States.

His speech also included a number of false or misleading claims about Trump’s policies. Jones claimed that Trump saved historically Black colleges and universities, known as HBCUs. Trump did sign bipartisan legislation at the end of 2019 that will provide more than $250 million a year for HBCUs and other institutions. However, many HBCU institutions continue to struggle financially.

Jones also claimed that Trump “ended — once and for all — the policy of mass incarceration of Black people.”

Trump signed and supported the 2018 First Step Act, a bipartisan bill that made changes to sentencing, including ending automatic life sentences under the three-strike penalty for drug felonies; added additional rehabilitation opportunities within prisons; and allowed petitions for sentence reduction from those who were incarcerated before a 2010 law ended mandatory minimum sentencing for drug violations.

That law has not ended mass incarceration.

Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he views Trump as a transformational figure who has helped African Americans, veterans and farmers while in office.

“In 3 1/2 years @realDonaldTrump has a solid record of accomplishments,” Jones tweeted this month. “Give him 4 more, he will finish the job. No brainer! I’m rolling with the @TeamTrump.”

Jones has been widely criticized by fellow Democrats, and state Democratic Party officials attempted to disown him after the endorsement.

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Kimberly Guilfoyle: Democrats ‘Want To Destroy This Country’

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top Trump campaign official and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., painted a dark picture of a possible Biden administration when she spoke to the Republican National Convention in scripted remarks.

“[Joe] Biden, [Kamala] Harris and their socialist comrades will fundamentally change this nation. They want open borders, closed schools, dangerous amnesty and will selfishly send your jobs back to China, while they get richer,” Guilfoyle said. “They will defund, dismantle and destroy America’s law enforcement. When you are in trouble and need 911, don’t count on the Democrats.”

Guilfoyle was one of several speakers to warn of grave dangers that a President Biden would present to the U.S. and to attack what they called a “cosmopolitan” “cancel culture” of urban progressive elites.

“They want to destroy this country and everything that we have fought for and hold dear,” she said. “They want to steal your liberty, your freedom. They want to control what you see and think and believe, so they can control how you live.”

Guilfoyle singled out California, where Democrats hold every statewide office as well as have large majorities in the state legislature.

"It is a place of immense wealth, immeasurable innovation and immaculate environment — and the Democrats turned it into a land of discarded heroin needles in parks, riots in streets and blackouts in homes,” she said. Guilfoyle is the former wife of California’s current governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom.

Guilfoyle has emerged as an increasingly influential person in President Trump’s orbit in recent years. Along with being Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, the former Fox News host is a high-profile surrogate for the president, as well as the Trump campaign’s national fundraising chair. She also regularly headlines her own campaign rallies and fundraising events.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have raised more than $1.2 billion, an unprecedented sum. But former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has narrowed the fundraising gap between the two sides in the months since he locked up the Democratic nomination in March. Usually, incumbents outpace challengers on fundraising.

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Coronavirus Relief Efforts Touted At Convention As Talks Over Additional Aid Are Stalled In Congress

President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has become the central issue in the 2020 campaign. Last week, speakers at the Democratic National Convention attempted to frame his effort as a dismal failure and argued that the president was responsible for the high death toll and economic recession. But several speakers on the opening night of the Republican National Convention worked to show that the Trump administration’s enactment of relief legislation is helping working families and credited his work at turning things around.

These Republican supporters pointed to several bills Trump has signed since the pandemic began, like the roughly $2 trillion CARES Act, but they didn’t note that current negotiations about additional aid are mired in a partisan stalemate.

Tanya Weinreis, a Montana business owner who runs a coffee business, was one of the first speakers on Monday’s program. She discussed how she was among the first recipients of a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, a popular small-business relief program, and was able to continue hiring new workers.

But after Congress approved four bills with overwhelmingly bipartisan support that provided support to individuals, businesses, hospitals and states, there is bipartisan acknowledgment that more needs to be done, as deaths mount and unemployment rolls grow.

Amy Johnson Ford, a nurse practitioner, lauded the president’s “quick action and leadership,” citing deregulation of telehealth services, which are critical in West Virginia, where she works.

Currently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is pointing to a $3 trillion package that the House approved in May as what is needed, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a slimmed-down version with liability protections for businesses, educators and health care workers. Talks over a compromise have stalled, and with the election growing closer, it’s unclear whether the divided Congress can hammer out a deal this fall.

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St. Louis Couple Who Waved Guns At Protesters Say Families Aren’t Safe In ‘Radical Democrats’ America’

The white St. Louis couple that attracted national attention this year for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters said that families will not be safe in “the radical Democrats’ America.”

“Whether it’s defunding the police, ending cash bail so criminals can be released back out on the streets the same day to riot again or encouraging anarchy on our streets, it seems as if Democrats no longer view the government’s job as protecting honest citizens from criminals, but rather protecting criminals from honest citizens,” Mark McCloskey said.

Mark and Patty McCloskey are facing felony charges for waving firearms “in a threatening manner” at demonstrators who were marching past their house on their way to the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

“Not a single person in the out-of-control mob you saw at our house was charged with a crime,” Mark McCloskey said. “But you know who was? We were. They’ve actually charged us with a felony for daring to defend our home.”

The couple also echoed the same message that President Trump has been conveying about the suburbs recently, falsely suggesting that they are under siege and ravaged by crime.

Democrats are “not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities — they want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning,” Patty McCloskey said. “This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into thriving suburban neighborhoods.”

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Father Of Parkland Shooting Victim: ‘Gun Control Laws Didn’t Fail My Daughter — People Did’

Andrew Pollack, the father of a teen killed in the 2018 Parkland, Fla., mass shooting, addressed Republicans at their nominating convention this evening.

“I got to see who [President Trump] really is. He’s a good man and a great listener. And he cuts through the BS,” Pollack said.

“I truly believe the safety of our kids depends on whether this man is reelected,” he said.

Pollack’s 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, was one of 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018 by a 19-year-old former student of the school.

Since his daughter’s death, Pollack has become outspoken on the issue of school security and has promoted improving security systems and shortening police response times to active-shooter incidents.

In his speech tonight, Pollack criticized “far-left Democrats,” whom he accused of making the shooting possible.

“Gun control laws didn’t fail my daughter — people did,” Pollack said.

His organization, the School Safety Grant, supports “finding and funding new, advanced and easily-implemented security technologies for schools across the country regardless of where we come from or how we vote.”

Pollack’s presence on the Republican National Convention dais reflects the different target demographic compared with last week’s Democratic National Convention, which also featured a survivor of the Parkland massacre — teenage gun safety activist and Stoneman Douglas graduate Emma Gonzalez.

In a Sunday tweet, one of Pollack’s sons congratulated his father on the speaking invitation while also criticizing fellow RNC speaker Nikki Haley.

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Trump Repeats Offensive Label For Coronavirus

In a conversation with a group that included health care professionals, law enforcement officials and others, broadcast during the RNC, President Trump repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as the “China virus,” one of several offensive and racist terms he has used in recent months to describe the virus.

“I don’t want to go through all the names because some people may get insulted,” Trump told the group.

The White House has denied any malicious intent in using those terms. Asian Americans have reported a growing number of racist attacks and insults since the rise of the coronavirus, which was first reported in China.

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Jim Jordan Says Trump Doing What He Said He Would — Fighting Back Against The Swamp

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, once the renegade thorn in the side of the House GOP leadership team, is now effectively one of the most powerful lawmakers in his party. He is one of President Trump’s most forceful allies on Capitol Hill and is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.

“Look at what’s happening in American cities — cities all run by Democrats: crime, violence and mob rule,” Jordan said in a taped address from Ohio, repeating some false arguments that the Democratic ticket planned to defund the police.

He argued that the president was following through on campaign promises he made in 2016. “When you take on the swamp, the swamp fights back: They tried the Russia hoax, the Mueller investigation and the fake impeachment, and in spite of this unbelievable opposition, this president has done what he said he would do.” Jordan ticked through tax cuts, immigration reforms, foreign policy moves and a trade deal as the president’s chief accomplishments.

Before his evening address, Jordan participated in an oversight hearing with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and linked Democrats’ concerns that DeJoy’s service changes to the Postal Service would slow delivery of mail-in ballots this fall with other issues Democrats have raised about the Trump administration, like the Ukraine matter that led to Trump’s impeachment.

In a pivot from the sharp criticism of the resistance to Trump’s agenda that Jordan frequently talks about in Fox News appearances, he recounted a personal story about how the president spoke to him after his nephew Eli was killed in a car accident. Jordan said that when he was visiting the family, Trump spoke to them over the phone. “That’s the president I’ve gotten to know over the last four years.”

Jordan was one of the founding members of the House Freedom Caucus in 2015 — a group of roughly three dozen conservatives who felt that their own party leaders didn’t focus enough on spending discipline and other right-wing policy goals.

The former college wrestling champion regularly uses his committee posts on both the House Judiciary and Oversight committees to aggressively spar with Democrats and witnesses who have been critical of the administration. His combative demeanor led GOP leaders to add him to the House Intelligence Committee during the impeachment proceedings.

As is his custom, Jordan shunned wearing a suit jacket, instead opting for rolled-up shirtsleeves in his taped address. He says his more casual look helps him get fired up to tangle with witnesses at hearings. He said he does put on his coat when he is required to during votes on the House floor and when he goes to the White House to meet with the president.

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‘Everyone Knows What That Feels Like, To Be Waiting For A Cure’

Natalie Harp, an advisory board member for the Trump campaign, spoke in support of President Trump on Monday night.

“Mr. President, you’ve done so much more than promises made and promises kept,” Harp said. “For numbers only tell part of the story. We are the rest of it — facts with faces of Americans who would still be forgotten if you and our favorite first lady hadn’t given up your own wonderful life so we could have the chance at one.”

Harp has been a vocal supporter of the president, appearing on Fox & Friends in 2019 to share her experience with Trump’s 2018 Right to Try Act, which she says allowed her to try experimental drugs to fight her cancer after failing two rounds of chemotherapy and being rejected from clinical trials.

“Now, with the coronavirus, everyone knows what that feels like, to be waiting for a cure — but we’ve only been waiting a few months. Just imagine what 2020 would’ve looked like, fighting for your life, without Donald Trump fighting for it too,” she said Monday night.

The Right to Try Act, which allows terminally ill patients to get access to experimental drugs, had patient advocates divided, with some concerned it could do more harm than good.

Trump appeared with Harp during the 2019 Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference.

“I heard the story of an incredible, unbelievable young woman who is battling rare bone cancer,” Trump said. “Her name is Natalie Harp, and she lit up the television screen like very few people I’ve ever seen do it. And she talked about how they were preparing her for death. And because of Right to Try, she’s now living and, I think, doing phenomenally well.”

Harp has tweeted that the president is her “Good Samaritan” and has pledged to help Trump get elected to a second term.

She frequently tweets in support of the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that has also been touted by the president, to treat COVID-19. Trump has pushed ardently to expand the use of the drug, but the Food and Drug Administration does not believe the treatment is effective and said in a statement in June, “nor is it reasonable to believe that the known and potential benefits of these products outweigh their known and potential risks.”

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Herschel Walker: It ‘Hurts My Soul’ To Hear People Call Trump ‘Racist’

Citing a “deep, personal friendship,” retired football star Herschel Walker vouched for President Trump’s character and defended the president against Democratic claims that his repeated personal attacks on lawmakers of color, disparagement of African and Caribbean countries, criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement and other actions amount to racism.

“It hurts my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald. The worst one is ‘racist,’ ” Walker said tonight. “I take it as a personal insult that people would think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist. People who think that don’t know what they are talking about. Growing up in the Deep South, I have seen racism up close. I know what it is. And it isn’t Donald Trump.”

Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, and Trump first met in the 1980s, when Walker played for the Trump-owned New Jersey Generals in the soon-to-be-defunct USFL. Walker went on to play in the NFL but returned to the Trump orbit as a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice.

Walker is one of the president’s most high-profile Black supporters.

The two have made several appearances together since Trump became president, and Walker backed Trump’s vocal and sustained criticism of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem to protest police violence against African Americans.

“Just because someone loves and respects the flag, our national anthem and our country doesn’t mean they don’t care about social justice,” Walker said from Texas. “I care about all of those things, and so does Donald Trump. He shows how much he cares about social justice and the Black community through his actions. And his actions speak louder than any stickers or slogans on a jersey.”

Walker has played a leading role in the Trump campaign’s attempts to woo Black voters, who traditionally back Democratic presidential candidates by an overwhelming margin. In recent weeks, Walker has criticized former Vice President Joe Biden for, among other things, telling The Breakfast Club that any African American considering voting for Trump “ain’t Black” — a comment Biden quickly apologized for.

Though Trump has repeatedly engaged in racist attacks against Democrats of color like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, among others, the Trump campaign has made a sustained attempt to woo Black voters, particularly in key states like Wisconsin.

Polls have repeatedly shown that roughly 9 in 10 Black voters support Biden over Trump.

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Doctor And Coronavirus Survivor Praises Trump’s Pandemic Response

Dr. G.E. Ghali, a surgeon and coronavirus survivor, on Monday praised President Trump for what he called “decisive leadership” in addressing the pandemic.

“I feel uniquely positioned to share how President Trump’s decisive leadership led to a rapid and efficient response to the coronavirus pandemic. I know this as a health professional and as a COVID patient,” the oral and maxillofacial surgeon and Louisiana State University professor said in prepared remarks.

“As a patient, I benefited from the expedited therapies made possible by the swift action of this administration. Donald Trump truly moved mountains to save lives, and he deserves credit.”

The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 175,000 Americans, has been one of the most consequential tests of the Trump presidency.

Trump has pushed for rapid development of a vaccine and for expanding the use of treatments even when their effectiveness is unclear. On Sunday, for example, the Food and Drug Administration issued emergency-use authorization to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus.

The response has been uneven across the U.S.; proven mitigation measures such as wearing masks and social distancing have become politicized, leading to a resistance to follow health guidance by some, particularly among Republicans. The Republican National Convention itself went through multiple iterations because Trump initially pushed for a large in-person gathering, but that was eventually scaled back.

A Gallup survey published Aug. 7 found that just 70% of Republicans said they always or usually wear a mask indoors when they are not able to social distance, compared with 97% of Democratic respondents.

Just 23% of Republicans in that survey said they wear masks outdoors, compared with 64% of Democrats. Trump himself only recently wore one in public and started encouraging others to do so, though his administration’s health advisers have been advocating for the public to wear face coverings.

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Cardinal Dolan Controversially Offers Opening Prayer To RNC

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who leads the Catholic Church’s Archdiocese of New York, on Monday gave the opening prayer of the Republican National Convention, despite some onlookers’ criticism of the religious leader’s association with President Trump.

“Pray we must in thanksgiving, in thanksgiving, dear God for democracy, as we ask your hand, Almighty Father, upon this convention and the nominees of both parties,” Dolan said as part of his evening invocation.

“Pray we do, for we dare claim ‘In God We Trust.’ 

Dolan in a statement posted to Twitter on Monday defended his decision to offer the opening prayer and said it did not constitute an endorsement on his part.

“Prayer is speaking to God, offering Him praise, thanking Him for His many blessings, and asking for His intercession; it is not political or partisan,” the statement reads.

“It is my hope that, during this tumultuous time in our nation’s history, people of all religious faiths or none at all might join together in seeking peace and reconciliation in our hearts, in our cities, and in our country."

Dolan has offered prayer during at least two other high-profile political events, including the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and Trump’s inauguration in 2016.

However, his relationship with Trump has come under fire in recent months. An April column in the National Catholic Reporter declared Dolan had revealed his “true colors” during a phone call between the president and hundreds of Catholics, when Trump and Dolan shared glowing praise for each other and discussed the close relationship they had cultivated.

In April, Dolan appeared on Fox & Friends, a favorite program of the president, to praise Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Nurse Practitioner Lauds Trump’s Coronavirus Response

Amy Johnson Ford, a nurse practitioner from West Virginia who was deployed to New York and Texas to provide care during the coronavirus pandemic, praised President Trump for his response to the public health crisis.

“I don’t want the media taking my personal story and twisting it, so let me be clear: As a health care professional, I can tell you without hesitation, Donald Trump’s quick action and leadership saved thousands of lives during COVID-19,” she said.

“Increased access to telehealth for millions of Americans has truly been lifesaving. And we have President Trump to thank,” added Ford, who also spoke at the White House in July about her use of telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis.

She said deregulation of telehealth during the pandemic has allowed her small, rural hospital to continue caring for patients “without risking exposure to illness” in the office. She has advocated for the expansion of telehealth in rural and other underserved areas for primary care, chronic disease management, mental health and other services.

During her speech, Ford also applauded expanded Medicaid and Medicare coverage for telehealth services as a way of providing an “essential” service during the pandemic.

Reproductive rights advocates have criticized the Trump administration and Republican state officials around the U.S. by noting that while the use of telemedicine has been greatly expanded during the pandemic, women in many states have faced obstacles to obtaining abortion via telemedicine.

— Sarah McCammon, NPR Correspondent, National Desk; Barbara Sprunt, Producer, Washington Desk
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Florida Firebrand Matt Gaetz Paints Dark Picture Of Biden Win

Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, one of President Trump’s most vocal defenders and a regular presence on Fox News, was among those on the first night of the Republican National Convention to make the case for another four years of the Trump-Pence administration.

Gaetz, speaking live from the Mellon Auditorium in Washington, painted a dark picture of what Democrats would do if they took control of the White House. He argued the threat from the left included protecting the country from those who want to attack the police or children. “The dangerous left need America to be weaker to accomplish their goal of replacing her. We know that to make American great again, we must first make something of ourselves,” Gaetz said.

He also criticized Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, by taking a shot at her home state of California, which is dealing with wildfires and energy problems. “A state that cannot keep power running for its own people should not send its junior senator to be vice president,” he said.

The 38-year-old lawmaker was elected in 2016, and his outspoken style has often clashed with his own leaders.

Recently, he called on House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney to step down after she criticized Kentucky Rep. Tom Massie for forcing lawmakers to return for voting in person during the pandemic. Gaetz was among the first lawmakers to self-quarantine in March after learning an individual he had contact with at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference outside Washington, D.C., tested positive for the coronavirus.

Although he relishes his role as a conservative firebrand, Gaetz has split with his leadership and the White House on some policy issues. He was one of just three Republicans to vote for an amendment requiring the White House to get approval from Congress before taking military action against Iran.

Gaetz was admonished by the House Ethics Committee last week for a tweet from early 2019 that appeared to threaten Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen over his public testimony to the House — a tweet for which he later apologized. While the ethics committee said that it’s not their job to be the “social media police,” they did find that Gaetz’s action violated the House code of conduct.

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Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk: Trump Is The ‘Defender Of Western Civilization’

Speaking from the Andrew W. Mellon auditorium in Washington, D.C., Charlie Kirk, the co-founder of Turning Point USA, heralded President Trump as the “defender of Western civilization.”

“This election is a decision between preserving America as we know it, and eliminating everything that we love,” Kirk said.

Much of Kirk’s remarks centered around a theme that the “American way of life” is being threatened by a “vengeful mob that seeks to destroy our way of life.”

“The American way of life means you speak your mind without retribution — without being kicked off of social media by a self-righteous censor in Silicon Valley,” he said.

“It means you can freely practice your religion and that church is more essential than a casino. And it means that we judge people on actions, not on their immutable characteristics.”

Kirk, 26, decried “bitter, deceitful, vengeful, arrogant activists who have never built anything in their lives.”

“We will build monuments to heroes, not burn down our cities,” Kirk said, adding, “A country that values our remarkable journey, the complexities of our past, but clearly communicates to the next generation that we have to be grateful, not angry that we live in the United States.”

Kirk appears to be referencing the national protests that erupted earlier this year out of the anguish over George Floyd, and numerous other Black citizens’ deaths at the hands of police. The protests over systemic racial injustice have also led to demonstrations to remove Confederate statues and rename military bases named after Confederate generals.

Turning Point USA is a conservative campus group that has been critical of what it describes as liberalism on college campuses.

Kirk also hosts the Charlie Kirk Show, a podcast aimed at conservative high school college students. The Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center note that Turning Point USA members and leaders have been linked to extremist and white nationalist groups. Kirk’s co-founder, Bill Montgomery, recently died of coronavirus-related complications. Kirk has been critical of mask-wearing but has said that people at risk should take precautions against the virus.

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Kimberly Klacik, Baltimore Congressional Candidate, Says Democrats Have ‘Betrayed’ Black People

Kimberly Klacik, a Republican running for Congress in a district that includes Baltimore City, said that Baltimore has been controlled by Democrats for half a century “and they have run this beautiful place into the ground.”

She said she wants the city to be an “example to Republicans around the country that we can compete in our inner cities if we reach out to the citizens and deliver real results.”

Klacik is the Republican candidate running for the House seat previously held by Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died last year. She is running against Rep. Kweisi Mfume, the former head of the NAACP, who defeated her in an April special election.

In her remarks, she also took aim at Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, saying that Biden believes that Black people can’t think for themselves and “that the color of someone’s skin dictates their political views.”

“We’re not buying the lies anymore — you and your party have ignored us for too long,” she said.

Klacik’s recent campaign ad, in which she walked the streets of Baltimore and made the case that Democrats do not care about Black voters, went viral and drew the attention of national Republicans, including President Trump. In the ad, Klacik says that Democrats “have betrayed” Black people and that “the people that run Baltimore” don’t care about Black lives. Baltimore’s population is roughly 63% Black.

Trump shared the ad on Twitter last week and urged people to vote for her, saying that “Kimberly will work with the Trump Administration and we will bring Baltimore back, and fast.”

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PPP Loan Recipient From Montana Praises Trump

Tanya Weinreis is thought to be the first business owner in Montana to qualify for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, according to the Billings Gazette.

Weinreis and her husband own Mountain Mudd Espresso in Billings, Mont. They have eight kiosk-style locations in the area, per the company’s website. The loan helped them keep their 50 employees on payroll during the coronavirus crisis.

“Not only were we able to keep every single employee, but I’m thrilled to say we have been hiring weekly since this all began,” Weinreis said in her prepared remarks. “I feel for workers and businesses across America who are under assault from shutdowns, from riots, and now face the terrifying prospect of Joe Biden coming after everything we’ve built.”

The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, was included in the CARES Act in March. The program initially funded $349 billion in small-business loans intended to allow businesses to continue to pay employees and other critical expenses during the peak of the pandemic. The loans are forgivable if the businesses use the money for payroll and other fixed expenses.

The first batch of money quickly ran out, and Congress approved a second infusion of $320 billion in April. Some small businesses credit the PPP for allowing them to keep their doors open, but critics say larger businesses tended to benefit more than the “Main Street” companies it was intended to help.

The average loan amount was roughly $100,000, but nearly 75% of the loan dollars went to companies borrowing $150,000 or more, according to data released in July by the Small Business Administration.

Restaurants were among the top borrowers in that data. Through early July, more than 33,000 restaurant owners applied, and at least $9 billion was distributed to the dining industry.

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Who’s Speaking Tonight?

The lineup is set for tonight, including speeches from prominent Republican leaders, members of the Trump family and everyday Republican voters. Here are some of the key speakers to watch:

Donald Trump Jr.

The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is slated to address the convention on Monday evening. He played a large role in his father’s 2016 campaign, notably setting up the now infamous meeting between the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer over possible information on Hillary Clinton. The younger Trump also serves as an executive vice president of the Trump Organization.

Trump Jr. is also currently dating Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News host and current fundraiser for the Trump campaign, who is also expected to speak tonight.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott

Sen. Tim Scott has played a large role in the Trump administration’s response to the ongoing protests over police brutality and racism. In mid-July, he proposed police reform legislation that was endorsed by the president. Scott is the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate.

Some of Trump’s closest allies in the U.S. House are also expected to speak, including Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise.

Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley

Former governor of South Carolina and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley will also deliver remarks tonight. Despite her close relationship with Trump, the former diplomat resigned from her post at the end of 2018.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

As leader of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel has played a prominent role in the restructuring of the convention amid the coronavirus pandemic. She is also the niece of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who has been a top opponent of Trump within the Republican Party. McDaniel has publicly disagreed with Romney in the past, notably when he voted with Democrats during Trump’s impeachment trial.

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Sen. Tim Scott To Address Police Reform, ‘Siding With Law Enforcement’

Tim Scott, the lone Black Republican senator, will be featured tonight. He’s speaking the same night as another prominent South Carolina Republican, former governor and ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley.

Scott led the Senate’s efforts to approve a police reform bill following the death of George Floyd, and he plans to speak about the issue during tonight’s remarks “siding with law enforcement,” according to Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh.

According to a brief excerpt released by the Trump campaign in advance of his speech, Scott will say that President Trump has taken historic steps for Black Americans “to clean up Joe Biden’s mess” and that the Democrats are campaigning on a “cultural revolution” for a “fundamentally different America.”

The 54-year-old Scott will also likely address what Murtaugh labeled Democratic nominee Biden’s “racially divisive and damaging remarks” made during the campaign and in the course of Biden’s political career. And Scott will talk about Trump’s record on economic opportunity zones and his support for historically Black colleges and universities.

As the first Black senator from the South since Reconstruction, Scott is used to being in the forefront of racial issues in his party. He has said that he has been stopped by police 18 times while driving. The police reform measure Scott sponsored, the Justice Act, stalled in the Senate this summer after Democrats blocked a vote on it, saying it fell well short of what is needed to address police violence against Black people.

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Biden And Harris Will Now Get Regular Coronavirus Testing

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, will begin getting regularly tested for the coronavirus, his campaign says.

This announcement comes after Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, made a surprising statement in an interview with ABC on Sunday: that the former vice president had never been tested for the coronavirus.

She insisted he has not had the virus. And Biden’s campaign points out that he has been operating under strict protocols and routinely wears a mask.

But now, an official says that as the campaign enters a new phase, Biden and Harris will be regularly tested. If either of them ever has a confirmed positive case of the virus, the campaign says it will publicly share that information.

Staff members who interact with Biden and Harris will also be regularly tested.

President Trump and White House staff have long been getting coronavirus tests.

Trump spoke to a few hundred Republican delegates on Monday in a Charlotte, N.C., convention hall. All delegates were to be tested prior to the event.

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In Controversial Move, GOP Convention Will Hold Speeches On Federal Land

The White House grounds, Fort McHenry in Baltimore and a government-owned auditorium in Washington, D.C., are among the locations hosting speeches during a scaled-back Republican National Convention this week.

Along with breaking convention norms, some Democrats and government watchdogs say, those venue choices are inappropriate and may cause staffers to run afoul of the Hatch Act, an ethics law that prohibits most federal employees from engaging in political activity while on duty or in a government building.

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee asked the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, an independent agency, to review the RNC’s plans. Here’s the reply:

“The Hatch Act does not prohibit President Trump from delivering his RNC acceptance speech on White House grounds,” the counsel’s office wrote in an advisory opinion. “However, White House employees are covered by the Hatch Act, so there may be Hatch Act implications for those employees, depending on their level of involvement with the event and their position in the White House.”

Neither the president nor the vice president is subject to provisions of the Hatch Act. Vice President Pence will address the virtual convention on Wednesday from Fort McHenry, a historical site owned by the federal government and administered by the National Park Service.

The act’s legal language specifically prohibits political activity, like wearing partisan buttons or distributing campaign material, in a “government building.” So hosting an event outdoors may give the campaign some legal wiggle room to stage events on the White House’s South Lawn or in the Rose Garden. Mellon Auditorium, a historical Washington venue where many of the week’s speeches will take place, is owned by the federal government but is available for rent by the public. The RNC has previously rented the auditorium for events.

The Trump campaign has said it will reimburse any taxpayer funds used for the president’s speech. And as stage lights go up in front of the White House and other preparations are underway, White House lawyers have been counseling staffers on what planning activities would cross the line, NBC News reports.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the Office of Special Counsel can investigate alleged Hatch Act violations, but it’s up to the employee’s agency to enforce the law, which the Trump administration is unlikely to do. Last year, the Office of Special Counsel recommended the White House fire Kellyanne Conway for “disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media,” but she remains (for the rest of the month) a senior adviser to the president.

“The Trump administration has repeatedly given high-level violators a pass,” says Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Legality aside, Clark says holding a campaign event from the White House or in a national park is inappropriate.

“The statute is kind of an incomplete expression of the principle that they shouldn’t be using government for their own private political gain, and that’s what they’re doing when they’re attempting to appropriate the White House, the image of Fort McHenry, for their own partisan political gain,” she says. “But that is also the pattern of behavior here from the start — using federal power for private gain.”

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said Democrats are trying to gin up controversy where there is none.

“The law plainly states that the President is not bound by the Hatch Act, but Democrats continue to deflect, deter and undermine every lawful action President Trump takes rather than focus on the work Americans expect of their elected representatives,” Comer wrote in a statement. “Truth be told, Democrats should be comforted knowing that the President can deliver his acceptance speech from home since they are so concerned about him traveling for events these days.”

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Major development

Republicans Officially Nominate Trump

Donald Trump has officially been nominated as the Republican Party’s candidate for president.

Three hundred and thirty-six delegates from around the U.S. gathered in Charlotte, N.C., to cast their votes in person for the nominee.

Toward the end of the roll call, President Trump made a surprise visit to address the delegates from the convention hall in Charlotte. He appeared right after the Florida delegation cast its votes — a symbolic nod to his primary residence and an important battleground in 2020.

Trump made a point of appearing in North Carolina, unlike the Democratic ticket, who steered clear last week of Milwaukee, the Democratic National Convention’s host city. “I felt an obligation to come to North Carolina, a place that’s been very good to me,” Trump said.

In a speech that had echoes of a sprawling Trump campaign-rally speech, the president defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and condemned Joe Biden’s comments in an interview with ABC News, aired over the weekend, that he would shut the country down again if scientists recommended it. Trump also complained about the media’s coverage of the roll call, mocked Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, blamed governors for the slow response to the pandemic and continued to make false claims about voting by mail.

Opening the convention this morning, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel promised that the convention would articulate a forward-facing vision for a Trump second term, but on Monday the president spent much of his speech talking about the prospect of a rigged election.

Trump spoke while the House Oversight Committee grilled the postmaster general during a hearing on Capitol Hill over changes at the Postal Service that could delay the delivery of ballots this fall.

“What they’re doing is using COVID to steal an election,” Trump said without evidence, referring to Democrats promoting vote by mail. “They’re using COVID to defraud the American people of a free and fair election.”

Trump heads into the fall general election as triple crises continue to play out in the U.S. — a pandemic that has killed thousands of people, a massive economic recession and historic protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Biden has been leading Trump in national and many state polls; Trump’s approval rating sits at 42%, according to an aggregate of recent polls.

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Rhode Island’s Official Appetizer Wins Bipartisan Support

Americans are polarized over just about everything, as we’ve seen while watching the Republican and Democratic conventions these past few days. But in Rhode Island, at least there is bipartisan agreement on an appetizer.

Last week, during the roll call of the states, Rhode Island’s “calamari guys” went viral as the state’s Democratic Party chairman, Joseph McNamara, announced that 34 of the state’s 35 delegates were voting for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, while putting in a pitch for the state’s official appetizer as a masked chef, John Bordieri, held up a platter of the fried squid, done Ocean State style, with garlic, sliced peppers and parsley.

Not to be outdone, in today’s Republican National Convention roll call, the Rhode Island Republican Party’s national committeewoman, Lee Ann Sennick, also plugged the savory treat as she announced the state’s 19 GOP delegates for President Trump. Sennick also mentioned other local favorites, including “coffee milk and doughboys” and clam cakes dipped in chowder, and admitting, “Yes, we eat a lot of calamari Rhode Island style.”

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Major development

President Trump Greets Delegates In Charlotte

Shortly after Vice President Pence teased an in-person appearance by his boss, President Trump arrived in Charlotte, N.C., to fire up the couple of hundred delegates gathered there to conduct the convention’s official business.

“This is the most important election in the history of our country,” Trump said. “This is the biggest — this is it. Our country can go in a horrible, horrible direction or an even greater direction. And before the plague came in from China, that’s where we were going. We were going in a direction like we had never seen.”

Trump will formally accept his nomination during a prime-time speech later this week from the White House lawn. Later on Monday, he will tour a North Carolina vegetable-growing and packaging operation that the administration set up to help people struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic.

His visit with Pence to North Carolina today is somewhat of a consolation prize for Charlotte, which had spent two years planning for the Republican National Convention before organizers shifted to a largely virtual format because of the pandemic. The Trump campaign attempted to retain some form of a traditional convention with a cheering audience, unlike the Democrats, who delivered all their speeches to mostly empty rooms while delegates watched entirely from home.

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The Virginia Republicans Who Saw Their Convention Plans Change

About 350 Republicans are meeting in Charlotte, N.C., today to begin a slimmed-down national convention, including six Virginians.

Conservative talk show host John Fredericks was elected to chair the group by his fellow delegates. The Trump campaign adviser said the one-day event in Charlotte doesn’t even count as a convention.

“There is no convention,” Fredericks said in an interview last week. “It doesn’t exist. You have a one-day business meeting to nominate the president and the vice president.”

Still, it wasn’t something 79-year-old Barbara Bowie-Whitman wanted to miss. The former State Department official has been a Republican since the day she saw Dwight Eisenhower speak on a whistlestop tour in 1952, when she was 11 year old. She wrote him a four-line diddy that ends "Eisenhower has the power and my vote."

This will be Bowie-Whitman’s 11th convention. Her first came in 1972, when antiwar protests rocked Miami.

Read more from Virginia Public Media.

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Pence Makes Surprise Convention Visit

Vice President Pence made a surprise appearance at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., this morning.

Though most of the marquee convention events will now take place outside of Charlotte, several hundred delegates are still gathered there to conduct some official business, such as the roll-call vote to formally nominate the ticket.

Pence walked onto the stage to the song “All Right Now” by the English rock band Free announcing “Hello, Charlotte!”

“I’m here for one reason and one reason only,” Pence told the cheering crowd. “Not just the Republican Party, but America, needs four more years of President Donald Trump in the White House.”

Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who lost his reelection bid in 2018, delivered the formal nomination speech. Walker contrasted Pence with the Democratic nominee for vice president, California Sen. Kamala Harris, and touted Pence’s conservative bonafides.

“Mike Pence, a successful governor from America’s heartland, is the perfect partner for our president as they take on the Washington establishment — an establishment that Joe Biden’s been a part of for nearly 50 years,” Walker said. “That makes Joe Biden a creature of the swamp. Mike Pence is helping Donald Trump drain that swamp, and we need them there for four more years.”

Walker was supposed to speak earlier in the program, but organizers held the speech for Pence’s in-person arrival later in the morning.

Trump and the party held out hope throughout the summer of having some form of a traditional, in-person convention, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Now, Trump will accept his party’s nomination in a speech later this week from the White House lawn.

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GOP Delegates Hold An Old-Fashioned Roll Call

One by one, delegates to the Republican National Convention are appearing between a microphone and a white backdrop in Charlotte, N.C., to cast their votes for the Republican presidential nomination.

The roll call looks a lot different from the Democratic take last week, when delegates delivered their votes in live and pre-taped videos from iconic landmarks around the country. Last week, Rep. Terri Sewell cast Alabama’s votes from the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. In Rhode Island, a state representative appeared on the Atlantic Ocean shoreline with a chef showing off a dish of calamari.

Albeit without the cheering arena crowd of thousands, the Republican nomination in many ways resembled the traditional roll call, with a representative of each state delegation appearing in person to offer state trivia and Republican bonafides before delivering their delegates to Trump.

Arizona’s delegation heralded “miles of big, beautiful wall.” Delaware’s delegate appeared in a tri-cornered hat to represent the “First State.” Montana’s representative appeared with a hat of his own emblazoned with what he called the state’s new name: “Trumptana.”

Connecticut, the “nutmeg state,” cast 28 “spicy votes” for Donald Trump. Several states touted their U.S. senators facing tough reelection bids this year — including Colorado’s Cory Gardner and Maine’s Susan Collins.

Indiana declared its pride as the racing capital of the world and the recent fan-free Indianapolis 500 — and also of the vice presidential nominee, Indiana’s own Mike Pence. Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox pledged to bring the state, the birthplace of the Republican Party, home again for President Trump.

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‘Greatest Showman On Earth’ Heads To North Carolina

Before the coronavirus upended everything, the Republican National Convention was planned for Charlotte, N.C. Now, most of the sizzle will happen in Washington, D.C. But President Trump is still planning to touch down in the state for a few hours on Monday.

Chris Sinclair, a longtime Republican strategist in the state, says the visit will be “a huge momentum-builder for the grassroots” in the state after the disappointment of losing most of the convention.

“We have to remember that the president is probably the greatest showman on earth right now,” Sinclair told NPR. “He loves to put on a good show. He loves to rally the troops. He’s not himself when he’s not doing the big rallies.”

While in the state, Trump is scheduled to visit a vegetable-growing and packaging operation that is involved with the Farmers to Families Food Box program his administration started to help people struggling financially amid the pandemic. Trump will be joined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, as well as his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump.

Trump is scheduled to return to the White House around 5 p.m. ET.

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Major development

Pence Officially Nominated For Vice President

Republicans have officially nominated Mike Pence as their vice presidential candidate.

Two delegates from Indiana made the motion and seconded. The nomination passed by a unanimous voice vote from the few hundred delegates in Charlotte.

Pence, the former governor of Indiana who served more than a decade in Congress, was tapped to join the ticket in 2016 in part to help shore up evangelical and conservative Republican voters. He has been a loyal defender of President Trump during his first term and, in recent months, took a high-profile role in the administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

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Convention Kicks Off In Charlotte, N.C.

More than 300 delegates are gathering in a Charlotte convention hall to formally renominate President Trump as the GOP nominee. Today, Republicans will dispense with most of the official business of the Republican National Convention, including an in-person roll-call vote later this morning.

The proceedings kicked off much like a pre-pandemic political event — a stage lined with a row of American flags, the tall rectangular signs denoting each state delegation and an in-person performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.” But the delegates stood for the anthem from socially distanced banquet tables, each outfitted with Trump campaign swag bags.

“We are obviously disappointed we could not hold this event in the same way we originally planned,” RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel told the convention as she thanked local officials for helping make some elements of an in-person convention move forward in Charlotte. “We are so pleased we were able to renominate the current president and vice president in the Queen City.”

Typically, delegates would also meet to approve a party platform, but the party announced Sunday that Republicans would not approve a new platform until the 2024 convention and will instead stand behind Trump’s second-term agenda.

So far, Trump has largely focused his campaign message on the dangers of putting a Democrat in the White House, rather than articulating a forward-looking agenda for his campaign.

On Sunday, the Trump campaign released a second-term agenda — though the bullet points hinged more on broad goals than policy prescriptions. The list includes: “Return to normal in 2021,” “Wipe out global terrorists who threaten to harm Americans” and “Create 10 million new jobs in 10 months.”

Tonight, the convention’s prime-time speeches will mostly take place from Washington, D.C., after the campaign pulled back from plans to host a mostly in-person convention amid the pandemic.

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Trump Is No Conservative, Former GOP Sen. Flake Says In Endorsing Biden

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

On the first day of the Republican National Convention, former Sen. Jeff Flake is endorsing Democrat Joe Biden for president.

Flake joins about two dozen other former Republican members of Congress who are endorsing Biden and helping launch a group called Republicans for Biden.

Some of the Republicans, including former Sens. John Warner of Virginia and Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire, also endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Democratic candidacy in the 2016 general election. More than a dozen of the Biden endorsers signed an open letter in 2016 opposing Trump, but stopped short of endorsing Clinton.

Flake, who served in the Senate from Arizona until 2019, had been one of the most vocal Trump critics in the chamber. He declined to seek reelection in 2018, calculating that he would likely struggle to beat his Republican primary opponent, who criticized Flake for not fully standing behind Trump.

"Some of my conservative friends will say, ‘Yes, we don’t like his behavior, but he governs as a conservative.’ Here, today, I will say to my fellow conservatives: Whatever else you might call the behavior … it is most assuredly not conservative,” Flake said in a video released today. “Indifference to the truth or to the careful stewardship of the institutions of American liberty is not conservative. Disregard for the separation of powers — the centerpiece of our constitutional system — is not conservative. Governing by tweet is not conservative. It’s not even governing.

"It is because of my conservatism, and because of my belief in the Constitution, and in the separation of power, and because I am gravely concerned about the conduct and behavior of our current president that I stand here today — proudly and wholeheartedly — to endorse Joe Biden to be our next president of the United States of America."

In a fiery floor speech in 2017 announcing he would not seek reelection, Flake railed against the party’s embrace of Trump without mentioning the president by name.

“We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country he personal attacks; the threats against principles, freedoms and institutions; the flagrant disregard for truth or decency; the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve,” he said. “None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal.”

Biden featured several Republicans during the Democratic National Convention last week, including former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Sen. John McCain. Former Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican who retired last year amid a wave of GOP departures from Congress, had already endorsed Biden during the DNC. Some progressives and young delegates criticized the party for devoting so much prime speaking time to Republicans. The campaign says it’s trying to present a broad tent of supporters unified against the president.

“These former Members of Congress are supporting Joe Biden because they know what’s at stake in this election and that Trump’s failures as President have superseded partisanship,” the Biden campaign wrote Monday in a statement announcing the endorsements.

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Make America Great Again, Again

As it is with most incumbents, the president’s second-term agenda would be a continuation of his first.

But President Trump hasn’t provided details about what that agenda would be. Read NPR’s Mara Liasson for more here.

— NPR Staff
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COVID-19 Precautions In Charlotte, N.C.

A few hundred Republican delegates are gathering this morning, in person, in Charlotte, N.C., to handle some official convention business, such as formally renominating President Trump and Vice President Pence.

When those delegates get to the downtown hotel where the convention activities are being held, they will be given a coronavirus test — even though they already had to take a self-swab test at home before getting on a plane.

Once inside, masks are required, and delegates can’t move their chairs inside meeting rooms. And every delegate’s badge has a fob that uses Bluetooth technology to track who they come in contact with.

Steve Harrison of NPR member station WFAE has more here on the scaled-down, in-person convention and the precautions organizers are taking for safety.

— NPR Staff
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After The Democrats, It’s Republicans’ Turn

Last week was all about Joe Biden and the Democrats. President Trump and Republicans have their turn this week.

The GOP convention kicks off Monday morning, in Charlotte, N.C., in person, as a few hundred delegates will gather to formally renominate Trump and Vice President Pence, and conduct their roll call.

Much of the rest of the four-night event is virtual, anchored in Washington, D.C.

Trump will deliver his acceptance speech Thursday night from the White House, and Pence will give remarks Wednesday at Fort McHenry in nearby Baltimore. Their use of federal land is a norm-breaking decision that further blurs the line between federal office and campaign activities, though Trump and Pence themselves are exempt from the Hatch Act, a law that covers this issue.

Republicans say their convention will be uplifting and optimistic, in contrast to their depiction of the Democratic event as one of “doom and gloom.”

The Trump campaign says the programming will include “everyday Americans whose stories are filled with hope and patriotism,” along with speeches from party leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

But some prominent Republicans won’t be there, such as former President George W. Bush and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Trump, who’s behind in national polls, will use his remarks Thursday not only to tell voters why he thinks Biden would be bad for the country, but also to make his own case for a second term.

In the evenings, from Monday through Thursday this week, check out the top of this page for live video and live NPR coverage of the RNC.

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