Highlights From Night 4: RNC Wraps With Trump’s Promise Of ‘RecordProsperity’
After two weeks of back-to-back conventions, the Republican National Convention has come to a close, with President Trump accepting the party’s nomination from the White House SouthLawn.
In a speech lasting over an hour and ending with a fireworks display over the National Mall, Trump pledged to continue building on his administration’s four-year record, highlighting pre-pandemicgains.
“In a new term as president, we will again build the greatest economy in history, quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes and record prosperity,” he said, as the country faces massive unemployment due to the coronaviruspandemic.
Throughout the speech Trump criticized his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, painting Biden as “radical left” and urging voters to move away from the DemocraticParty.
“Biden is a Trojan horse for socialism,” Trump said. “If Joe Biden doesn’t have the strength to stand up to wild-eyed Marxists like Bernie Sanders and his fellow radicals … then how is he ever going to stand up for you? He’s not.” (Read our fact check of the “socialism” accusations here.)
President Trump was introduced by his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, who characterized her father as “the people’spresident.”
The night also featured emotional voter testimonials, including Ann Dorn, whose husband David Dorn, a retired police captain, was killed by an individual looting a store amid a protest for racial justice lastJune.
“I relive that horror in my mind every single day,” Dorn said. “My hope is that having you relive it with me now will help shake this country from the nightmare we are witnessing in our cities and bring about positive, peacefulchange.”
But while Trump and other speakers blamed Democrats for unrest (largely protests over racism and police brutality), other speakers lauded Trump’s record on criminal justice reform and support for communities ofcolor.
Alice Johnson, whose life sentence was commuted by Trump two years ago, delivered powerfulremarks.
“[Trump] saw me as a person, he had compassion, and he acted,” Johnsonsaid.
Convention Mixes Testimonies From People Of Color With Racial GrievancePolitics
In a speech rife with thinly veiled racial appeals, President Trump argued that Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his party are “completely silent about the rioters and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-runcities.”
But at the same time, the president himself seldom directly mentions the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others whose deaths have sparked outrage and an outcry over systemic racism and police brutality that has spilled into the streets of Americancities.
He also offered little comfort — or notice — to the city of Kenosha, Wis., where Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police. His only passing mention of the shooting and the outrage from the city was in a salvo during the speech focused on condemning looting and fires in cities across thecountry.
“The Republican Party condemns the rioting, looting, arson and violence we have seen in Democrat-run cities like Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland, Chicago and New York,” Trumpsaid.
The speech was the coda of four days of speeches in which some speakers — including several speakers of color — offered personal testimonies that affirmed Trump as someone compassionate to the needs of minorities and immigrants. Yet others echoed Trump’s messages of racial grievance and expressed concern that if Joe Biden is elected leftists would bring civil unrest and anarchy to American cities across thecountry.
Thursday night relied on a number of speeches that focused on fear, telling viewers that they will be safe only if President Trump is elected for a second term, and that if former Vice President Joe Biden is elected instead, they will be in gravedanger.
Over the course of several hours, viewers heard from speakers including Ann Dorn, the widow of a retired police captain killed by someone looting a store during protests in St. Louis, Mo.; Patrick Lynch, the president of New York City’s largest police union; and the parents of Kayla Mueller, the American woman taken hostage by the self-declared IslamicState.
Lynch said that police officers across the country are “staring down the barrel of a public safety disaster” and that when it comes to the safety of American families, “there is no otherchoice.”
“You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America. You can have four more years of President Trump. Or you can have no safety, no justice, no peace,” Lynchsaid.
Dorn described the moment she learned that her husband had been killed in devastating detail, and she said that Trump will “restore order” in Americancommunities.
She also described a society in which “so many young people are so callous and indifferent towards humanlife.”
That said, there were speakers of color on the convention’s final night who testified to President Trump’s personal character amid charges of racism by politicalopponents.
Alice Johnson, whose sentence President Trump commuted, said that Trump “saw me as a person” and had compassion forher.
“Free in body thanks to President Trump. But free in mind thanks to the almighty God,” shesaid.
“I have seen his true conscience. I just wish every American could see the deep empathy he showed to families whose loved ones were killed in senseless violence,” he said. Adding that Trump has made it clear “that if you want to have a safe community, you must have a police department and that department must have the higheststandards.”
President Trump Accepts Nomination And Unleashes Attacks OnBiden
President Trump accepted the nomination for a second term standing on a stage on the White House South Lawn in front of supporters, even as the coronavirus pandemic forced changes to the planned Republican NationalConvention.
“This is the most important election in the history of our country,” he declared. Alluding to the deeply divided country, the president said, “There has never been such a difference between two parties, or two individuals, in ideology, philosophy, or vision than there is rightnow.”
The president touted his accomplishments, arguing that he’s followed through on his pledge to “make America great again.” Then he unleashed a harsh attack on Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee whose slogan is that he’s “fighting for the soul of America.” Trump said the former vice president “is the destroyer of America’s jobs, and if given the change will be the destroyer of Americangreatness.”
With the White House as a backdrop, and with a stage built for the last night of the convention and large signs touting the Trump-Pence ticket, there were few signs that those attending wore masks. A White House official told NPR that those invited weren’t tested, although anyone who was expected to have close contact with the president did gettested.
As other GOP speakers did throughout the week, the president framed the November election as preserving what he has done during his term versus a Democratic agenda that would roll back his accomplishments on the economy and promote a bloated federalgovernment.
“This election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it,” the presidentsaid.
The president reprised his “law and order message” that was a key part of his 2016 campaign.
“The most dangerous aspect of the Biden platform is the attack on public safety,” hesaid.
At times his message about violence in American streets conflicted with his message that he’s been the president who improved conditions. He warned against “mob rule” and portrayed the places that were experiencing unrest as “Democrat-runcities.”
“If the Democrat Party wants to stand with anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters and flag burners, that is up to them, but I, as your president, will not be a part of it. The Republican Party will remain the voice of the patriotic heroes who keep America Safe and salute the American flag,” hesaid.
He falsely claimed that Biden wanted to “defund the police” — a position pushed by a segment of the progressive wing of the party, but soundly and publicly rejected by Biden, who has said he wants to add money for communitypolicing.
He described Biden’s long career in Washington as both a senator and as vice president, saying he “spent his entire career outsourcing the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders, and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars.”
The former businessman and reality star tied his decision to run four years ago to Biden’s tenure, saying, “I could not watch this betrayal of our country anylonger.”
Even though he’s the incumbent president, Trump portrayed himself as the outsider. He described his approach to battling with corporate CEOs, foreign leaders and political leaders asanti-establishment.
In 2016, then-candidate Trump received about 8% of the Black vote, and polls indicate that minorities have an unfavorable view of the Trump administration’spolicies.
Few speakers over the four-day Republican National Convention spent time on the administration’s handling of the coronaviruspandemic.
The president did express empathy with those who have struggled, but he didn’t acknowledge the dramatic impact on the country’s economy or the scope of those who have died — about 180,000 Americans. Trump sounded confident that he had the response to the global pandemic under control. He said he launched the largest mobilization since World WarII.
“Like those brave Americans before us, we are meeting this challenge. We are delivering lifesaving therapies and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner. We will defeat the virus, end the pandemic, and emerge stronger than everbefore.”
He argued that if Biden was allowed to put his plan into place to address the coronavirus, the economic hardship would be far greater and that his plan is to “inflict a painful shutdown on the entirecountry.”
“Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender,” hesaid.
Biden said last week he would listen to scientists and that if they recommended another shutdown, he would implementone.
Trump also contrasted his foreign policy with Biden’s on issues such as his opposition to the Iraq War, his approach to China, and his hard line onIran.
“Biden’s record is a shameful roll call of the most catastrophic betrayals and blunders in our lifetime. He has spent his entire career on the wrong side of history,” the presidentsaid.
The president also warned about political correctness infiltrating American lives, saying “the goal of cancel culture is to make decent Americans live in fear of being fired, expelled, shamed, humiliated and driven from society as we knowit.”
The president, known for his off the cuff raucous political rallies that fired up his loyal supporters, stuck largely to his prepared remarks. While he used much of the speech to draw a contrast with Biden on issues like crime, the economy and foreign policy, he spent a long time at the end remarking on the country’s history winning a revolution and overcoming challenges, and leading the way on innovation and exploration. He even pledged to land the first woman on the moon.
The roughly 70-minute speech began as a rousing political call to supporters but veered more into some of the more lofty rhetoric often heard at official presidentialaddresses.
The stagecraft for the president’s major political prime-time speech was vintage Trump — with a recognition of putting on a show for the television audience. The elaborate setup at the White House finished with an impressive fireworks show that rivaled annual celebrations normally seen on the Fourth of July. Red, white and blue fireworks in the shapes of stars filled the humid summer sky and spelled out “Trump 2020” over the Washington Monument, with an opera singerperforming.
Trump Invokes Dark, Misleading Picture Of Democrats And ‘SocialistAgenda’
Speaking to Republican supporters on the White House South Lawn on Thursday, President Trump painted a dark, ultimately misleading, picture of Democrats’ alignment with socialistpolicies.
“At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between the parties, two visions, two philosophies or two agendas. This election will decide whether we save the American dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny,” Trump said, invoking a fan-favorite enemy ofRepublicans.
But Democrats’ propensity to lean toward regulation and empowering the federal government isn’t actually a socialist political system, which is when the state uniformly provides social welfare services such as health care and controls large sections of theeconomy.
Trump Promises Coronavirus Vaccine By End Of The Year ‘Or Maybe EvenSooner’
As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus reached around 180,000, President Trump pledged a vaccine for the virus by the end of theyear.
“In recent months, our nation and the entire planet has been struck by a new and powerful invisible enemy. Like those brave Americans before us, we are meeting this challenge. We are delivering lifesaving therapies and will produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner,” Trump said from the White House South Lawn in his address to theRNC.
These companies are ramping up production even before they know a vaccine willwork.
Each vaccine has to go through a variety of tests to show that it’s safe and effective. That might be done by the end of the year or even sooner, but there’s no guarantee. The longer a vaccine is in testing, the more information experts will have about it before its widespreaduse.
In Convention Speech, Trump Touts Business Know-How, Despite Faltering U.S.Economy
“In a new term as president, we will again build the greatest economy in history, quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes and record prosperity,” President Trump said during his Thursday evening acceptance speech at the Republican NationalConvention.
Before the pandemic, the U.S. unemployment rate was just 3.5% — as low as it’s been in half a century. But economic growth fell short of what President Trump and his adviserspromised.
The economy grew 2.2% last year, roughly on par with the pace over the past decade. Growth briefly hit Trump’s 3% target in 2018, following passage of the GOP tax cut. But that now appears to have been a short-lived “sugarhigh.”
While supporters of Trump’s tax cut said it would encourage more business investment and spark a decade of sustained 3% growth, business investment actually slumped for most of last year. That was partly a result of sagging global demand as well as uncertainty stemming from the president’s tradewar.
Protests Against Police Brutality Counter Convention Message Of RacialEquality
As President Trump accepted the Republican nomination for reelection on the South Lawn, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the White House barricades to protest racism and policebrutality.
A day ahead of the 2020 March on Washington, a moment organizers are calling the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” protest, demonstrators gathered in the area surrounding the White House as many have done in the months since the police killing of George Floyd inMay.
The event comes during a summer defined by massive nationwide protests against police violence, particularly targeting Black people. After Floyd’s death, protests began calling attention to other recent police killings of Black people, including Breonna Taylor, who had been killed months earlier in her home by Louisville, Ky.,police.
After those incidents, protests continued amid additional instances of police violence, including the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks. And on Sunday of this week, Kenosha, Wis., police shot a Black 29-year-old man, Jacob Blake, several times in the back, leaving himparalyzed.
At the Thursday night demonstration, those names were invoked as protesters chanted andmarched.
Meanwhile, inside the gates of the White House on the South Lawn, the self-proclaimed “law and order president” delivered remarks that criticized his rival Joe Biden for his admission of systemic racism in Americansociety.
“At the Democrat National Convention, Joe Biden and his party repeatedly assailed America as a land of racial, economic, and social injustice. So tonight, I ask you a simple question: How can the Democrat Party ask to lead our country when it spends so much time tearing down our country?” Trumpsaid.
Trump References Those Affected By ‘Wrath Of HurricaneLaura’
In opening remarks from the White House, President Trump said that while Hurricane Laura was “fierce,” the casualties and damage were far less than thought possible a dayearlier.
He lauded the work of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, law enforcement and states responding to thestorm.
“Our thoughts are with the wonderful people who have just come through the wrath of Hurricane Laura,” Trump said. “We are working closely with state and local officials in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, sparing no effort to savelives.”
Laura left devastation in its wake in several states, with more than 800,000 without power and extensive damage to structures throughout the Lake Charles, La., region. There were reports of one fatality, a 14-year-old girl in Leesville, La., who was killed when a tree crashed through herhome.
“Our hearts are with you. The president will continue to support you every step of the way,” Senior White House adviser and Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump said in her opening remarks Thursday evening from the White House. “And just like Americans always do, the nation will come together to help you rebuild your homes, businesses and communities stronger and more resilient than everbefore.”
Earlier Thursday, Trump met with officials at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., for an update on the storm’s damage. He said he signed emergency declarations for the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi and would visit the region sometime thisweekend.
As a result of the storm, Trump said he considered delaying his Thursday address to accept the Republican nomination for president from the White House grounds to Monday. But he reversed course, adding that the storm caused less damage thanexpected.
“It turned out, we got a little bit lucky. It was very big, it was very powerful, but it passed quickly,” Trump said. “And so everything is onschedule.”
Ivanka Trump Heralds Father As The ‘People’sPresident’
On the final night of the Republican National Convention, President Trump was introduced by a familiar face: not his vice president or wife, who both delivered remarks this week, but by his daughter IvankaTrump.
“Four years ago, I introduced to you a builder and entrepreneur, an outsider and the people’s nominee for president of the United States. Tonight, I stand before you as the proud daughter of the people’s president,” shesaid.
Ivanka Trump has served as an unpaid senior adviser to her father’s White House and was a top surrogate on the campaign trail in2016.
When Ivanka Trump spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2016, many looked to her as someone who could appeal to moderate voters, specifically suburban women, and who might be able to tamp down some of the incendiary and divisive rhetoric that had been a campaign staple of then-candidate Donald Trump — a trait that, of course, followed him to the WhiteHouse.
Ivanka Trump’s speech tonight was clearly intended to be a repeat performance, with the first daughter chuckling as she described her father’s particular brand ofcommunication.
“My father has strong convictions. He knows what he believes, and he says what he thinks,” she said. “Whether you agree with them or not, you always know where he stands. I recognize that my dad’s communication style is not to everyone’s taste, and I know that his tweets can feel a bitunfiltered.”
She later added: “Dad, people attack you for being unconventional, but I love you for being real and I respect you for beingeffective.”
She also shared family anecdotes in the effort to humanize herfather.
“When Jared and I moved with our three young children to Washington, we didn’t exactly know what we were in for — but our kids? Our kids loved it from the start,” she said. “My son Joseph promptly built grandpa a Lego replica of the White House. The president still displays it on the mantel in the Oval Office right over there, so that he can show world leaders just so they know he has the greatest grandchildren onEarth.”
She was also one of a few convention speakers this week, along with first lady Melania Trump, to reference the challenges Americans face from the coronaviruspandemic.
“As our nation endures this great trial, I pray for the families who are mourning the loss of a loved one, for those who are battling COVID-19 and for the first responders and the health care heroes who remain on the front line of this fight,” Ivanka Trump said. “The grief, sorrow and anxiety during this time is felt by all. I’ve been with my father, and I’ve seen the pain in his eyes when he receives updates on the lives that have been stolen by thisplague.”
The first daughter seems to have a high degree of access in the administration and has traveled with her father on several high-profile tripsoverseas.
She positioned herself early on as a champion of child care and paid family leave, hosting a 2019 summit on the issue that signaled the Republican Party accepting a policy position that had not traditionally been apriority.
But her time in D.C. has not been without personal and politicalsetbacks.
In 2018, The Washington Post reported that she sent hundreds of emails to government officials through a personal email account, often discussing official White House business. The irony was palpable; her father had railed against his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for having a private emailserver.
And Ivanka Trump’s supposed influence on her father could only go so far. She unsuccessfully lobbied him against pulling out of the Paris climateagreement.
She has also appeared to pivot back and forth between wanting to be seen as an integral adviser and as simply the president’s daughter, criticizing NBC’s Peter Alexander in 2018 for his asking about the sexual assault allegations against thepresident.
“I think it’s a pretty inappropriate question to ask a daughter if she believes the accusers of her father when he’s affirmatively stated that there’s no truth to it,” she said. “I don’t think that’s a question you would ask many otherdaughters.”
And just as politics is now the family business — her brothers also are frequent surrogates on the president’s reelection campaign, and her husband, Jared Kushner, also serves as a senior adviser — so too was her work at the Trump Organization, where she oversaw development and acquisitions alongside her two adultbrothers.
Mueller Family Channels Its Heartbreak Into Strident Support ForTrump
Carl and Marsha Mueller, who testified tonight about what they call President Trump’s strength and resolve against the Islamic State, arrived as strong supporters after a nightmarish ordeal in which their daughter waskilled.
Kayla Mueller was a Christian humanitarian activist who sought to help victims of the Syrian civil war. She was abducted in 2013 and held captive for years, enduring hellish mistreatment before her death. Carl and Marsha Mueller have criticized former President Barack Obama’s handling of the case, calling him hidebound by policy and unwilling to pay a ransom if necessary to free theirdaughter.
U.S. special operations forces attempted without success to free Mueller. A later raid during the Trump administration succeeded in killing the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an action the Muellers praised thisevening.
“The Obama administration kept telling us they were doing everything they could,” Marsha Mueller said tonight. “But their version of ‘everything’ wasn’t enough. What a difference a presidentmakes.”
Sen. Tom Cotton: ‘Biden Won’t Stand Up ForAmerica’
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., framed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as a threat to the national security of the U.S. if he is electedpresident.
Cotton argued that the U.S. is safer today than it was four years ago and blamed Biden for supporting an approach to foreign policy that “coddled socialist dictators” and “aided and abetted China’srise.”
“Joe Biden would return us to a weak and dangerous past,” Cotton said. “If we want peace, we must be strong. Weakness is provocative. President Trump’s strength has kept us out ofwar.”
Cotton is one of Trump’s most frequent defenders in the Senate. The former Army captain is one of the most conservative Republican senators and has a reputation as a foreign policy hawk. He served in Afghanistan and Iraq and was awarded the Bronze Star for his combatservice.
Cotton is a longtime Biden critic, arguing that Biden and Barack Obama are to blame for numerous foreign policy failures and weaknesses abroad. He credits Trump with restoring a hard-line approach to foreignenemies.
He is particularly critical of China and Iran. Cotton is one of the few Republican senators to refer to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus” or “China virus,” terms that Trump has also used in recentmonths.
Cotton was once a student of Sen. Elizabeth Warren when she was teaching at Harvard University. The two now find themselves on the opposite sides of nearly every political issue in theSenate.
Rudy Giuliani Inveighs Against Biden As ‘Trojan Horse’ For LiberalChaos
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani excoriated what he called weak Democratic city governments and said they have been responsible for “continuous riots” in the demonstrations that sprang from the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolispolice.
Giuliani warned that Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his compatriots would preside over more of what Giuliani called violentunrest.
“Mr. President, make our nation safe again,” Giuliani said — though Trump is the currentpresident.
Giuliani also echoed earlier warnings by Republicans who argue that Biden is a camel putting his nose under the tent on behalf of more extreme politicians who would creep intopower.
Giuliani called Biden a “Trojan horse” for people such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and “the radical left.” They’d implement “pro-criminal, anti-police socialist policies,” the former mayorsaid.
Giuliani has come a long way from his own days as “America’s Mayor,” a journey that detoured into brief national political ambitions of his own but that has now placed him firmly by Trump’s side as a counselor and politicaloperator.
Giuliani was at the center of the Ukraine affair, for which Trump was impeached by House Democrats, and he has continued working to uncover what he calls evidence of impropriety by Biden’s family inUkraine.
Ben Carson Addresses Trump Housing Policies That Critics CallRacist
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, one of the featured speakers on this final night of the Republican National Convention, was yet another minority voice attempting to bolster President Trump’s credibility with voters of color andsuburbanites.
“Before I begin, I’d like to say that our hearts go out to the Blake family and other families who’ve been impacted by the tragic events in Kenosha,” Carson said, referring to Jacob Blake — a Black man who was shot in the back multiple times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis., thisweek.
Carson was the first Republican convention speaker all week to mention Blake by name. But he was also quick to turn his focus to theprotests.
“History reminds us that necessary change comes through hope and love, not senseless and destructive violence,” headded.
Republicans have been trying to highlight the president’s law-and-order message as an appeal to thesuburbs.
In fact, much of the Republican convention this week has focused on messaging to the suburbs, particularly suburban women. And in recent months, housing has become one of the most pivotal cultural campaign issues in an attempt to courtsuburbanites.
In July, the Trump administration announced plans to roll back an Obama-era housing regulation to combat racial discrimination, called the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, that would, in theory, allow for more affordable housing in the suburbs. Previously, Carson had criticized the rule as a prime example of federal governmentoutreach.
Gutting this rule has been a key part of President Trump’s pitch to the suburbs. Polling throughout the summer showed the president losing popularity among suburban voters — a key demographic for his reelection efforts. In 2016, exit polls showed Trump won the suburbs 49% to 45%, but Democrats won back control of the House in 2018 largely because of enthusiasm among suburbanwomen.
In recent months, Trump has been warning voters that his opponent, Joe Biden, wants to “abolish the suburbs,” which many Democrats have interpreted as racially coded language appealing to an outdated vision of the suburbs as exclusively whitecommunities.
Widow Of Slain Retired Police Capt. David Dorn Gives Tearful Endorsement OfTrump
Ann Dorn, whose husband, David Dorn, was fatally shot by looters during a protest against police brutality, criticized elected officials for what she described as a failure to address publicsafety.
“I relive that horror in my mind every single day,” Ann Dorn said in an emotional video. “My hope is that having you relive it with me now will help shake this country from the nightmare we are witnessing in our cities and bring about positive, peacefulchange.”
David Dorn, a Black retired St. Louis police captain, was shot and killed in the early morning hours of June 2 while responding to an alarm at a friend’s pawnshop. His death was streamed live on Facebook but was eventually removed by the social networkingsite.
“We must heal before we can effect change, but we cannot heal amid devastation and chaos. President Trump knows we need more Davids in our communities, notfewer.”
President Trump tweeted in June that Dorn’s death was the fault of “despicable looters” and praised Dorn as “a great policecaptain.”
Despite Ann Dorn’s emotional endorsement of the president, two of David Dorn’s children earlier this week criticized their father’s widow for using his death to promote Trump, according to The St. LouisAmerican.
“We know his wife is a Trump supporter, but he was not,” David Dorn’s daughter, Debra White, said in an interview with thenewspaper.
“He frequently said they were not able to talk about politics, because they were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. I know he would not want his legacy to be for his death to be used to further Trump’s law-and-orderagenda.”
Trump Has Boosted Black Communities, White House AideSays
President Trump has been dedicated to issues that matter to Black Americans, argued Ja’Ron Smith, one of the highest-ranking African American officials in Trump’s White House, on the last night of the Republican NationalConvention.
Smith praised Trump’s support for a law that cut down on federal prison sentences for certain crimes and his backing of funding for historically Black colleges anduniversities.
And like many other speakers at the convention, Smith also tried to highlight a softer side of Trump in hisremarks.
“I just wish everyone could see the deep empathy he shows families whose loved ones were killed by senseless violence,” Smithsaid.
Trump won just 8% of the Black vote in 2016, but his campaign has been making a pointed attempt this year to try to boost those margins. In a tight race, winning just a few more Black voters, or convincing them not to vote for Joe Biden, could make adifference.
It will not be easy. Polls have shown that Black voters overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump and his handling of racerelations.
McConnell Highlights Republicans’ Worries About New States If Dems WinMajority
In a prerecorded video from Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned about what he called a litany of moves Democrats would make if given power in the White House and full control inCongress.
“They want to pack the Supreme Court with liberals intent on eroding our constitutional rights, and they want to codify all this by making the swamp itself — Washington, D.C. — America’s 51st state,” hesaid.
In case his concerns about that weren’t clear, he added, “With two more liberal senators, we cannot undo the damage they’vedone.”
Translation: Republicans believe Democrats want to make a power grab by adding new states they know would likely help preserve Democrats in the Senate, keeping it out of reach of the RepublicanParty.
It’s a sentiment shared by President Trump, who told The New York Post in May of statehood efforts: “Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll neverhappen.”
McConnell and Trump are correct that Democrats have made a big push in support of D.C. statehood. This summer, the House of Representatives cast a historic vote to grant statehood to D.C., whose residents overwhelmingly support admission as astate.
While that legislation is dead in the water without current Republican support, statehood advocates are casting their eyes to November in the hopes that they can make inroads in the Senate and White House. Joe Biden himself has said that D.C. should be granted statehood.
Another discussion has swirled around the prospect about a new push for statehood for PuertoRico.
Statehood supporters argue that civil rights implications are at play here. In the case of the District of Columbia, it has been majority minority since the 1950s, and of its over 705,000 residents, 46% are Black. It’s a heavily Democratic city and likely would remainso.
Head Of Ultimate Fighting Championship Praises Trump’s Efforts In Bringing SportsBack
Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and longtime ally of President Trump, loudly voiced his support for Trump and his handling of the coronaviruspandemic.
White said he witnessed Trump’s work ethic in bringing businesses together to try to restart the economy, and he lauded his effort in seeking to get sports leagues back up andrunning.
“The president went above and beyond to help all sports leagues involved,” White said in a prerecorded video, touting the UFC’s decision to start up again. “The UFC was the first to do it. And we are continuing to doit.”
While some pro sports leagues have had successes with their restarts, others, such as Major League Baseball, have had a number of players test positive for the coronavirus. Big-time college leagues have also postponed their fall seasons. (Additionally, White didn’t address the current protests over police violence that are roiling a number of pro sportsleagues.)
White also firmly criticized ideas held by some progressives to defund the police, and he urged viewers to vote inNovember.
“While it’s critically important to reelect President Trump, this pandemic has also taught us to be very, very careful who you select as your next governor, senator, congressperson and mayor; it is so important to vote,” White said. “And don’t think that your vote doesn’t matter because to be honest with you, it has never mattered more than it does rightnow.”
White and Trump have had a professional relationship since 2001, when White first became president of the UFC. That year, then-real estate tycoon Trump hosted White’s inaugural fighting event at one of his casinos. White has since repeatedly thanked Trump for backing his business earlyon.
The head of the UFC has campaigned for Trump before, speaking at the 2016 Republican National Convention and more recently last February at the president’s rally in Colorado Springs,Colo.
At the rally, White characterized himself as “not a very politicalperson.”
As of last fall, White had donated $1 million to the super PAC America First Action, which supports Trump. He has donated to both Republican and Democratic candidates over the past few years, according to OpenSecrets.
Dan Scavino Makes Rare Appearance To Tout Trump As ‘Kind AndDecent’
When President Trump welcomed a group of right-wing Twitter provocateurs into the White House last year for a summit, there was one aide in the front row whom he singled out to take a bow — DanScavino.
Seldom far from Trump’s side, the White House social media director helps Trump use Twitter and Facebook, the president’s favorite megaphones for getting out news and trolling his opponents, and keeps tabs on Trump’s army of social mediasupporters.
Scavino first met Trump when he caddied for Trump as a teenager. While he frequently tweets, he never speaks publicly. But he didn’t use his rare and valuable time in the spotlight of the Republican National Convention to talk about his fights with Twitter and Facebook, or the mainstream media, over posts deemed as crossing theline.
Instead, he spoke to a theme that has threaded among many of the speakers over the four nights: how behind the braggadocio, bluster and public controversies, Trump is “a kind and decent man,” as Scavino putit.
“They call it chaos; President Trump calls it change,” said Scavino, one of the last remaining original staffers still in Trump’s WhiteHouse.
As Pro Sports Players Protest, Convention Video Says ‘We Have To Get Our SportsBack’
Several months ago, President Trump made a plea familiar to many Americans: “We have to get our sportsback.”
The remarks, made in April, were uttered after the coronavirus pandemic brought most competitive sports to a halt. They’re the type of mass gatherings that have been discouraged by public health experts looking to stem the spread of a pandemic that has killed more than 180,000Americans.
The remarks made a recurrence in a video that aired at the Republican National Convention, layered under celebratory occasions in which Trump had stood alongside athletes of various sports. Some athletes were seen wearing red Make America Great Againhats.
But the redux of these comments also comes at a time in which boycotts have disrupted professional sports in the days since Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wis. Trump’s convention lineup has also included speeches by a number of formerathletes.
The protests have gripped the likes of the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, as all of the leagues have taken their boldest stances yet against systemic racism and policebrutality.
As my colleague Sam Gringlas reported, top White House officials brushed off the significance of protests by professional basketball players this week. And President Trump himself weighed in earlierThursday.
"I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly, but I don’t know too much about the protests," Trump said during a visit to the Federal Emergency ManagementAgency.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell Frames Senate Races As Pivotal To TrumpAgenda
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell built a case Thursday night to reelect Republican senators to prevent Democrats from undoing President Trump’slegacy.
McConnell promised that Senate Republicans would be a “firewall against Nancy Pelosi,” the Democratic House speaker, and would prevent Democrats from shifting the country dramatically to theleft.
“The stakes have never been higher,” McConnell said. “Which is why I’m asking you to support Republican Senate candidates across the country and reelect my friend, President DonaldTrump.”
McConnell referenced ongoing coronavirus-related closures and stay-at-home orders, describing a world in which he said Democrats want to intervene in the daily lives ofAmericans.
“They want to tell you when you can go to work. When your kid can go to school,” McConnell said. “They want to tax your job out of existence and then send you a government check forunemployment.”
The comments come as Congress continues to struggle to reach an agreement on the latest round of coronavirus aid. Democrats are calling for $3 trillion in funding, including $1 trillion for state and local governments, nearly $1 trillion to help pay for expanded unemployment benefits and an additional round of direct payments to individuals and additional money for testing, tracing, treatment and hospitalneeds.
Republicans, including McConnell, have suggested the legislation should cost $1 trillion orless.
McConnell’s embrace of Trump, calling him a friend, reflects how closely the fates of Senate candidates are tied toTrump.
One area where the two have partnered closely is in the remaking of the federal court bench. McConnell and Senate Republicans approved more than 200 judges, filling every circuit court vacancy in the country as of June24.
“This Senate will have confirmed 200 of President Trump’s nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor. “And following No. 200, when we depart this chamber today, there will not be a single circuit court vacancy anywhere in the nation for the first time in at least 40years.”
That landmark achievement is one McConnell has pursued for decades, and it is one he celebratesfrequently.
Congressional Republicans have tried, unsuccessfully, to agree among themselves and with Trump on many other issues ranging from immigration and spending to health care and infrastructure. Complicating matters further, there are divisions among Republicans about how to handle Trump’s tweets and his more incendiary statements on everything from policy to socialissues.
Many Senate Republicans have grown weary of being frequently asked to respond to controversial statements from Trump. Their frustration has been amplified this year as GOP members are fighting to defend their majority in theSenate.
The tension has led McConnell to adopt a policy, often repeated to reporters, that he either has no advice, no observation or no comment on Trump’stweets.
Rep. Van Drew — Democrat Turned Republican — Warns That Biden Is A Puppet OfLeft
Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew won his competitive seat in southern New Jersey in 2018 as a Democrat but abruptly left the party during the House impeachment process. Speaking on the final night of the Republican National Convention, he said he left his party when it no longer became the big tent it was when he first ran for localoffice.
“Democratic leaders told me that I had to vote for impeachment or my life would be made difficult and I wouldn’t be able to run again.” He said he voted no on impeachment and “it was an easy call.” Shortly after meeting with the president, he switchedparties.
When he took office in 2019, he was the first Democrat to represent the area in almost 25 years. Van Drew said Thursday night that he opposed Nancy Pelosi for House speaker when he was sworn in, but he voted “present” in that vote, which was viewed as a protect vote. Polls indicated that his reelection race, in a district that Trump won narrowly in 2016, was going to becompetitive.
When word got out that he was discussing a party change, his staff resigned en masse.
Van Drew received praise from the president for his decision to defect to the Republican Party. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy mentioned the rare coup drawing over a lawmaker from the other side in his remarks to the convention thisweek.
Van Drew said, “When the Democrats tried to order me around, I was ready to say I had enough of their radical social agenda.” He questioned whether Joe Biden would be able to stand up to national Democratic leaders and said they were trying to install him “as their puppetpresident.”
In an effort to reach out to other Democrats considering backing Trump, Van Drew said, “Be true to who you are now, not who the Democrats used to be.”
Amy Kennedy, wife of former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, is running against Van Drew, and the House Democrats’ campaign arm is putting a priority on winning the seatback.
White House’s South Lawn Buzzing As Guests Await Trump’s AcceptanceSpeech
A tightly seated, largely maskless crowd of hundreds of supporters are gathering on the South Lawn as President Trump prepares to officially accept Republicans’ nomination for president. Speaking from the White House will break the longstanding tradition of not using the executive residence for campaignpurposes.
As people began to file in, an administration official told NPR that people in close proximity to the president had been tested for the coronavirus, but it was unclear what the campaign had done in relation to people seated fartherback.
The white folding chairs were arranged about a foot apart from each other, and very few people wore masks as they milled about taking selfies and chatting in the hours before the speech was scheduled to begin. Some people moved closer to the stage, while others filed in together near theback.
Numerous members of Congress were spotted along with some supporters in “Make America Great Again” hats and masks. Flags are flapping in the wind at the front on the stage, some wrapped around theirpoles.
Patronus Medical earlier in the day released a statement saying it had worked with the Republican National Committee to put in place safety restrictions for the Thursdayspeech.
“Patronus Medical, a leading medical, safety, and health company, has worked in partnership with the Republican National Committee to make certain proper protocols are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals at convention venues,” Robert G. Darling, chief medical officer at Patronus Medical Corp,said.
“These strict protocols are in full compliance with multiple guidelines set forth by the United States Centers for Disease Control, the District of Columbia Department of Public Health, and other leading authorities on health safety. Patronus health professionals have been on site to make certain screening has been done on a consistent basis to ensure the convention meets the highest standards of publicsafety.”
Trump’s decision to deliver remarks from the White House stems from the Republican National Committee’s reluctance to cancel a traditional, in-person convention because of the coronavirus, as Democrats had already done, and instead for months continued to plan to hold a live event — first in Charlotte, N.C., and later Jacksonville, Fla. The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic rose to 180,000 lives lost onThursday.
House Minority Leader McCarthy: ‘As Americans, We Carve Our OwnDestiny’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, one of the first speakers of the convention’s final night, emphasized what he called American ideals of overcoming obstacles and lookingforward.
“A great nation because of great people,” McCarthy said. “And no one has done more to protect and advance it than PresidentTrump.”
In a recorded video, McCarthy emphasized that what he called better economic times can be recreated again. He also pointed to the Trump administration’s efforts on immigration, tax and energypolicy.
McCarthy slammed Democrats, equating them with socialism and decline and emphasized that he believes “the best is yet tocome.”
McCarthy also touched on facing an invisible enemy, without naming the coronavirus directly.
“We will defeat it. We will defeat it because America is where innovation happens,” McCarthy said. “And we are developing a vaccine in recordtime.”
The California lawmaker was elected to Congress in 2006. He became House majority leader under a Republican majority in 2014 and took over the top GOP spot last year when the Democrats won back the lowerchamber.
McCarthy has become a key Trump ally on Capitol Hill, repeatedly running defense for the president and leading his policy fights. The two also talk by phone regularly, and McCarthy has become a fixture at many of Trump’sevents.
“A friend of mine, another great leader and somebody that’s going to be speaker of the House, hopefully, next year, Kevin McCarthy, our leader, Kevin McCarthy,” Trump said as he introduced McCarthy at a New Hampshire rally in February. “Oh, will that be nice to have Kevin, a pro. You’ll see things get done like you’ll neverbelieve.”
Publicly, McCarthy was one of Trump’s early supporters in 2016 and said his candidacy could boost the GOP’s House majority. Privately, McCarthy told other GOP leaders during a June 2016 conversation that he thought Trump was compromised byRussia.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said, also referring to former California Rep. DanaRohrabacher.
Later, McCarthy said the statement was made injest.
"It was a bad attempt at a joke," McCarthy said after the conversation’s details were revealed in a May 2017 Washington Post story. He added that no one believed his statement to betrue.
Since that time, McCarthy has become a key figure leading Trump’s charges on Capitol Hill, directing a tightly unified House Republican defense of Trump during his impeachment last year. McCarthy has also remained a staunch defender of Trump’s policies on immigration, trade andtaxes.
‘Unite Our Hearts’: Franklin Graham Offers OpeningPrayer
Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of the late Rev. Billy Graham and a nationally known religious leader in his own right, kicked off the final night of the Republican National Convention with a prayer acknowledging Hurricane Laura and the recent protests in Kenosha, Wis., stemming from the shooting of JacobBlake.
“As we come tonight, our country is facing trouble. Tens of thousands are in the path of a deadly storm; the pandemic has gripped millions of hearts with fear. We’re divided. We have witnessed injustice. Anger and despair have flowed into the streets. We need your help. We need to hear your voice at this crucial hour,” hesaid.
“We ask that you would unite our hearts,” headded.
Graham heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relieforganization.
Graham’s daughter, Cissie Graham Lynch, spoke at the convention on Tuesday night, praising President Trump as a “fierce advocate” for people of faith during his time in the WhiteHouse.
Graham is a strong supporter of the president, selling “Pray for 45” T-shirts in 2018 to “lift up our president inprayer.”
In 2019, after Christianity Today called for Trump’s removal from office, Graham wrote that his father would have disagreed with the magazine, which he hadfounded.
“I have not previously shared who my father voted for in the past election, but because of this article, I feel it is necessary to share it now. My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald
Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump,” Grahamwrote.
After Trump was widely condemned for deploying National Guard troops and police to physically clear out demonstrators to allow for a photo op in front of St. John’s Church in June, Graham defended the president on Facebook.
“This made an important statement that what took place the night before in the burning, looting, and vandalism of the nation’s capital – including this historic house of worship – mattered, and that the lawlessness had to end,” Grahamsaid.
Graham added that he was disappointed that members of the clergy publicly criticized the president and stressed that the problem facing the country “is a spiritual and moralproblem.”
4 Years In, Trump Is ‘More Circumspect,’ He Says InInterview
President Trump said four years in the pressure cooker of the White House hasn’t changed him that much. “I think I’ve just become more guarded than I was four years ago,” Trump said in a new interview with The New York Times for a story that published just before his big convention speech thisevening.
“I think I really am a little bit more circumspect,” Trumpsaid.
In the interview, Trump struggled to articulate his priorities for a second term, the Times said. “But so I think, I think it would be, I think it would be very, very, I think we’d have a very, very solid, we would continue what we’re doing, we’d solidify what we’ve done and we have other things on our plate that we want to get done,” hesaid.
Nearing the end of his term, Trump still sees himself as the upstart, said Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, who helps run hiscampaign.
“He’s still an outsider, but he’s built a band of outsiders with him,” Kushner told the Times. “The hostile takeover he started four years ago is nowcomplete.”
Biden Says He Will Campaign In Swing States After LaborDay
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has largely campaigned virtually since the coronavirus pandemic spread in mid-March, said he plans to visit some key battleground states after LaborDay.
“We plan on [getting out campaigning], without jeopardizing or violating state rules about how many people can in fact assemble,” Biden told supporters in a virtual fundraiser this evening. “One of the things we’re thinking about is I’m going to be going up into Wisconsin and Minnesota, spending time in Pennsylvania, out inArizona.”
Biden maintained that his in-person campaigning will be “totally consistent with being responsible,” while saying President Trump has been “totally irresponsible” with rallies and convention events outside the WhiteHouse.
Biden added: “I’m a tactile politician. I really miss being able to, you know, grab hands, shake hands — you can’t do that now. But I can in fact appear beyond virtually, in person, in many of theseplaces.”
Biden said the in-person campaigning would occur “beginning after LaborDay.”
The comments, which Biden made in a Q&A session during a fundraiser with Illinois trial lawyers, come as some recent polling has shown a slight tightening in crucial swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin over the past month, though Biden still holds leadsthere.
Biden has indicated that he may go to Kenosha, Wis., which is reeling after police shot a Black man in the back seven times, paralyzing him from the waistdown.
So far, Biden has kept his in-person events to his home state of Delaware and nearby Pennsylvania, and the occasions have often been televised remarks to largely emptyrooms.
Trump, after completing his party’s convention tonight, will hold a campaign event in New Hampshire onFriday.
Trump To Announce Deal For 150 Million Rapid CoronavirusTests
President Trump is expected to announce a $750 million deal to purchase 150 million rapid coronavirus tests from Abbott Laboratories, according to a White Houseofficial.
The White House says this is a major expansion of testing. The Trump administration has been under pressure to increase testing, shortages of which, experts argue, has delayed efforts to reopen businesses andschools.
“This is a major development that will help our country to remain open, get Americans back to work and kids back to school,” White House senior adviser Alyssa Farahsaid.
The plans could come up in President Trump’s remarks tonight, as he is expected to address his response to the coronavirus pandemic during his keynote speech at the Republican NationalConvention.
“We are doing an incredible job on the China virus, but I’m going to talk to you about that Thursday night,” Trump said, teasing the speech during a surprise visit to Charlotte, N.C., this week to speak to delegates at the RNC. “Will anybody be listening on Thursdaynight?”
The White House has publicly resisted the notion that not enough testing is taking place. Trump has repeatedly argued without any evidence that it’s possible to test toomuch.
It’s unclear what political impact the announcement will have. Polls show Americans largely believe the president has handled the pandemic poorly. Just 31% of Americans say they can trust the information coming from the president on the coronavirus, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.
Scientists have long pressed for additional testing to track how the virus spreads and to make sure infected people without symptoms quarantine. The Abbott rapid test is roughly the size of a credit card and can return results in about 15minutes.
‘It’s No Wonder People Are Taking To The Streets,’ Harris Says Of BlakeShooting
In her first solo campaign outing as the Democratic vice presidential nominee, California Sen. Kamala Harris excoriated President Trump hours before he is to speak on the final night of the Republican NationalConvention.
“Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a president of the United States: He failed to protect the American people,” Harris said from an auditorium at George Washington University in Washington,D.C.
Harris accused the president of ignoring an America in crisis, afflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, but began her address by discussing the recent protests stemming from the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of police in Kenosha,Wis.
“It’s sickening to watch. It’s all too familiar, and it must end. Thankfully, he is alive today, but he is fighting for his life and he shouldn’t have to be,” shesaid.
“People are rightfully angry and exhausted. And after the murder of Breonna [Taylor] and George [Floyd] and Ahmaud [Arbery] and so many others, it’s no wonder people are taking to the streets, and I support them,” Harrissaid.
Harris made it clear she and Joe Biden stand with the peaceful protesters, but added, “We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including the shooter who was arrested for murder. And make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path tojustice.”
Harris passionately called for the need to address systemic racism and pass what she labeled “meaningful police reform and broader criminal justicereform.”
“The reality is that the life of a Black person in America has never been treated as fully human, and we have yet to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law,” shesaid.
She then shifted to address the coronavirus pandemic and reflected on the “quiet desperation” that has taken root in households across the country, reeling from the public health and economic impacts the virus haswrought.
“That is the reality of America right now, a reality completely absent from this week’s Republican National Convention,” shesaid.
That Republican convention has largely sidestepped referencing the impact of the coronavirus on Americans’ lives. Instead, speakers have touted the Trump administration’s steps to contain the spread of thevirus.
Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, noticeably described the pandemic’s effect in the pasttense.
First lady Melania Trump was one of the few speakers to acknowledge the nation’s struggles with both the coronavirus and racialunrest.
“The Republican convention is designed for one purpose: to soothe Donald Trump’s ego, to make him feel good,” Harris continued, adding that Trump has shown a “reckless disregard” for the well-being of the Americanpeople.
“Instead of rising to meet the most difficult moment of his presidency, Donald Trump froze. He was scared. And he was petty and vindictive,” Harrissaid.
Pence Commencement Speech Called Off By Wisconsin LutheranCollege
Vice President Pence will no longer deliver the commencement speech at Wisconsin Lutheran College this weekend. The school announced Thursday that it has decided to switch speakers amid continuing unrest inKenosha.
The speech had been scheduled to follow a swing of campaign stops across the Midwest for Pence immediately following the Republican National Convention. Pence is also scheduled to headline campaign events in Michigan andMinnesota.
Pence has already made seven trips to Wisconsin since October. The state is one of three key battlegrounds, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, that Trump and Pence carried in 2016 and that their campaign says it needs to win again inNovember.
The college didn’t give additional details about its reasoning, but the vice president backs the decision, according to his spokesman, DevinO’Malley.
“Vice President Pence understands and supports Wisconsin Lutheran College’s decision to prioritize the safety and well-being of their students,” O’Malley said, “and wishes the students well as they celebrate the accomplishment of graduating from college and as they embark on their nextjourney.”
The college, which is roughly one hour from Kenosha, announced the change after discussions between administration officials and school officials. Pence will be replaced by the Rev. Mark Jeske, the senior pastor at St. Marcus Lutheran Church inMilwaukee.
Trump To Blast Biden In Speech; Biden To Counter With New Ad TrollingPresident
President Trump will deliver what his campaign is calling “a tough” speech from the South Lawn of the White House tonight as he formally accepts the Republican presidentialnomination.
According to excerpts of the speech leaked to Politico and confirmed by the campaign, Trump will say, “At no time before have voters faced a clearer choice between two parties, two visions, two philosophies or twoagendas.”
The president will say that his administration has “spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years” and that Biden’s agenda “is the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major partynominee.”
According to Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh, the news media has “ignored or glossed over” criticism of Biden’s record, and Trump’s blistering criticisms tonight are “the only way to really punchthrough.”
Murtaugh said Trump will talk about his effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic and contrast it to what he called Biden’s “useless suggestions.” Trump will also address the unrest in Kenosha, Wis., and elsewhere in response to police violence against Black Americans and say that “police must be allowed to do theirjobs.”
The message won’t focus entirely on Biden. Trump is expected to say, “The Republican Party goes forward united, determined and ready to welcome millions of Democrats, independents and anyone who believes in the greatness of America and the righteous heart of the Americanpeople.”
“This towering American spirit has prevailed over every challenge and lifted us to the summit of human endeavor,” Trump is expected tosay.
While the Trump campaign was previewing the president’s remarks, the Biden campaign previewed a new TV ad it plans to run tonight during coverage of the Republican NationalConvention.
It shows a vigorous Biden, running and biking, and juxtaposes that with a clip of Trump cautiously walking down a ramp at West Point thissummer.
“Some people are always in a hurry,” the narrator of the two-minute spot says. “When Joe Biden’s president, America is just going to have to keepup.”
Trump Said ‘I Alone Can Fix It’ In 2016. Tonight, He Gives TheSequel
There’s one line that has endured from the convention speech that Donald Trump gave four years ago: “I alone can fixit.”
His message in 2016 was that the nation was in crisis, even though it was a time of relative peace and prosperity, compared with today, when the nation has been in upheaval over racial injustice and roiled by the coronaviruspandemic.
Trump reflected last week on his “I alone” line. “You know, when I made that statement, I was a little embarrassed by it. Because it sounds so egotistical,” he said. “But there’s no other way to say it. We have to win theelection.”
His sequel address tonight, at a critical moment in his reelection campaign, comes as he has been saying a lot of the same things he said in 2016. “I’m the only thing standing between the American dream and total anarchy, madness and chaos,” he said last week, even though the images he often describes are things that have happened on hiswatch.
Pollster and political-messaging guru Frank Luntz said it would be a mistake for Trump to revive the “I alone can fix it” theme, explaining it tested poorly in focus groups of voters back in2016.
“If he’s about ‘I alone can fix it,’ then the public will think, ‘Well, wait a minute. Over the last six months, you haven’t.’ And that is the wrong message for him at the very wrong time,” Luntz toldNPR.
President Trump’s speech tonight from the White House South Lawn will round out a Republican National Convention packed with the president’s family, conservative activists, right-wing cultural figures and loyalists from his Cabinet andCongress.
Tonight, Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, will get prime billing. He’s one of the last remaining members of Trump’s original Cabinet, achieving longevity in a world where some Cabinet agencies have seen massive turnover at thetop.
The Republican congressional leadership is also on the agenda. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is facing his own reelection bid this year, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have both been loyal partners to thepresident.
This week, the convention featured first lady Melania Trump and three of Trump’s children. Tonight, the Trump family member with one of the most robust, official roles in the White House, Ivanka Trump, will speak.
Here’s who else is speaking on this final night of theRNC:
Sen. Tom Cotton: The Arkansas Republican is one of Trump’s biggest supporters in Congress. He recently made a visit to New Hampshire and is talked about as a potential 2024contender.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew: Van Drew is the New Jersey Republican who was a Democrat until last year. He was one of only two House Democrats to oppose formalizing the impeachment inquiry last year and later switched his party affiliation. Trump has endorsed Van Drew’s reelectioncampaign.
Ja’Ron Smith: A deputy assistant to the president, Smith is the highest-ranking Black official in the WhiteHouse.
Ann Dorn: Dorn is the widow of retired St. Louis police Capt. David Dorn, who was killed in June. He was found shot to death after he responded to looting at a pawn shop. The incident occurred amid unrest in the city following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Trump also invited Dorn to the White House this summer to help highlight his “law and order”message.
Debbie Flood: Flood is president of architectural hardware and castings manufacturer Melron Corp. in Schofield,Wis.
Rudy Giuliani: The former mayor of New York City, Giuliani served as Trump’s legal counsel during the president’s impeachmenttrial.
Franklin Graham: The evangelical leader has been a vocal supporter of Trump and has helped bolster the president’s support among evangelicalvoters.
Alice Johnson: Johnson had served more than 20 years in federal prison on a first-time drug offense when Trump commuted her sentence in 2018 at the urging of reality TV star Kim Kardashian West. She will likely highlight the First Step Act, criminal justice reform Trump signed intolaw.
Carl and Marsha Mueller: The Muellers’ daughter, Kayla, was a 26-year-old humanitarian aid worker who was killed in 2015. She had been captured by ISIS shortly after crossing into Syria. ISIS later claimed she was killed by Jordanian airstrikes, but her parents believe she may have been executed byISIS.
Dana White: White is the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and a longtime friend ofTrump’s.
How Trump’s ‘Law And Order’ Message Has Shifted As He Seeks A 2ndTerm
Three words have never been far from President Trump’s lips this summer: “law andorder.”
As the U.S. has recoiled against police brutality, sparking protests across the country, Trump has used the well-worn phrase over and over again in speeches, at times tweeting it in allcaps.
The message has taken center stage again at the Republican National Convention, as Trump presents himself as a “tough on crime” leader protecting the suburbs from the violence of cities.
It’s a variation on a theme that has been central to Trump’s political rise, and now Trump is betting that it will help get himreelected.
The specifics of Trump’s rhetoric have evolved over time to fit a changing political landscape. But certain themes — such as allowing the police to get “tough” — have remained thesame.
Trump’s first major foray into public commentary on crime happened in 1989 when he took out a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the death penalty against five Black and Latino boys accused of attacking a woman in CentralPark.
“What has happened to law and order … ?” Trump said in the ad. “Let our politicians give back our police department’s power to keep us safe. Unshackle them from the constant chant of ‘police brutality’ which every petty criminal hurls immediately at an officer who has just risked his or her life to saveanother’s.”
The boys were exonerated years later, but Trump has never apologized for thead.
In his first campaign for the White House, Trump linked urban crime to illegal immigration, even though studies have shown that people in the country illegally are not more likely to commitcrimes.
“Many of these gang members are illegal, and they’re tough dudes. They will be out of there so fast, your head will spin,” Trump said in 2015, talking about Chicago andBaltimore.
Throughout 2016, Trump made the case that electing him would make these citiessafer.
Now, as president, he has placed the blame for crime mostly on local Democratic leaders. He argues that reelecting him will protect the rest of the country from the turmoil of U.S.cities.
Trump’s rhetoric and actions are not helping to deal with actual root causes of crime, like lack of services and opportunities, said Tracy Siska, the head of the Chicago Justice Project, which pushes for data-based solutions to violence in thecity.
“It’s completely rebuilding that social fabric in those communities,” Siska said. “Everyone says in Chicago and around the community, ‘We’re not going to arrest our way out of it.’ And then all they do is try to arrest their way out ofit.”
Read more about the history of Trump’s “law and order” message here.
As President Trump prepares to formally accept the Republican nomination tonight, staffers for three previous GOP nominees have released letters blasting Trump and endorsing Democrat Joe Biden in the Novemberelection.
“We need someone who will quickly course correct and show us the path forward. We need Joe Biden to restore character, integrity and decency to the White House,” says the letter from 43 Alumni for Joe Biden, a group of former officials from the George W. Bush administration led by former commerce secretary Carlos M.Gutierrez.
While not mentioning Trump by name, the group left no doubt about itstarget.
“The onslaught of insults and vulgarity we have witnessed in recent years must stop,” the letter reads. “Our children are watching us. If we explain away misogyny and racism as political tactics we are complicit in normalizing completely inappropriatebehavior.”
In a similar vein, former aides to 2008 nominee John McCain and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney also announced their support forBiden.
In a post on Medium, McCain Alums For Joe Biden write, “These are unusual times, and this is not an easy decision for Republicans to make. Many of us disagree with the positions espoused by the Democratic ticket, but we are heartened by Joe Biden’s history ofbipartisanship.”
This week marks the second anniversary of McCain’s death. The Arizona senator and Trump had a long history of animosity. During his campaign in 2015, Trump said McCain was a war hero only because he was a prisoner of war inVietnam.
“He’s a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said at the time. “I like people who weren’t captured.” McCain cast the deciding vote against repeal of the Affordable Care Act in 2017, defeating a Trump-led effort to killObamacare.
Mark Salter, a longtime aide to McCain, told NPR’s Asma Khalid that while he may have differences on policy issues with Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, “They’ll be a responsible president and vice president who will respect American values, not shatterthem.”
“We can’t speak for John McCain, he’s no longer with us, but he showed us how to recognize a choice between country and party, and when we had to do the right thing and break with our party,” Saltersaid.
The Romney letter was written by veterans of the 2012 campaign. Noting that they worked then to defeat Biden when he was President Obama’s running mate, they wrote, “What unites us now is a deep conviction that four more years of a Trump presidency will morally bankrupt this country, irreparably damage our democracy and permanently transform the Republican party into a toxic personalitycult.”
Romney has been one of the few GOP senators to criticize Trump publicly, and was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump on an article of impeachment during his Senate trial earlier thisyear.
President Trump’s campaign was forced to deal with sudden focus on two major news stories — mounting national unrest about racial injustice after another shooting of a Black man by police in Wisconsin, and Hurricane Laura, which is threatening "unsurvivable"storm surge — on the third night of the Republican NationalConvention.
Here are three takeaways from the third night of theRNC:
1. Republicans highlighted a law-and-order message as the nation grapples with racial unrest that speakers didn’tacknowledge
Vice President Pence was the one speaker who did make a reference to the situation in Wisconsin, but he didn’t acknowledge the serious blowback that it triggered in communities across the country, or offer any commitment to address the underlyingissues.
Instead he grouped it in with mentions of other incidents across the country in recent weeks. "Let me be clear: the violence must stop — whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha," hesaid.
2. Republicans featured speakers and messages aimed at regaining slipping support from suburbanwomen
Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, recounted her personal story of deciding to undergo a preventative double mastectomy in 2018 after being diagnosed with the genetic condition for breast cancer. She said the president called her even though she had only met him a few times, saying she was "blown away" by his personal interest. The story was part of an attempt to show a softer side of thepresident.
McEnany did not acknowledge that the Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit that would dismantle the requirement that insurers provide coverage to those with preexistingconditions.
3. Republicans tried to shift the November election from referendum on Trump to a choice between starkly differentvisions
Unable to gain traction on the administration’s record in recent months, the Trump campaign reverted to a traditional approach of framing the election as a choice — with speaker after speaker on Wednesday maintaining that Democrats were prepping a massive shift to government control over all aspects of life and trillions in dollars of tax increases, while the Trump-Pence ticket was preserving freedom and a goodeconomy.