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RNC Night 2, two killed in Wisconsin protests and Hurricane Laura barrels toward Gulf Coast

The White House, Marines and immigrants were all used as props by President Donald Trump during Night 2 of the RNC.
Image: First lady Melania Trump addresses the Republican Convention during its second day from the Rose Garden of the White House
First lady Melania Trump addresses the Republican Convention from the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

After several searing attacks, the RNC took on a softer approach on Night 2. Police protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, turned deadly and Hurricane Laura is gaining strength as it heads for the Gulf Coast.

Here's what we're watching this Wednesday morning.

Trump uses White House perch during unprecedented RNC reelection pitch

After several Republican speakers attacked former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democrats, bemoaned the cultural battles and derided "cancel culture," first lady Melania Trump offered a rare unifying message to conclude the second night of the Republican National Convention.

"My deepest sympathies go out to everyone who has lost a loved one, and my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering," she said in the most direct acknowledgment of the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken.

The first lady also took time to address the racial unrest across the country, saying "we are not proud of parts of our history. I encourage people to focus on our future while still learning from our past."

But, the use of the Rose Garden as a venue for her speech was just one of several moments where President Donald Trump's campaign trampled norms against using the power of the White House for campaign politics.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also under fire for delivering his precedent-busting address to the convention from Jerusalem — violating his own department's legal guidance and potentially federal law.

House Democrats have already launched an investigation into Pompeo's apparent intermingling of diplomacy and partisan politics.

And that's not all, Trump even conducted a naturalization ceremony and granted a presidential pardon from the White House as part of Tuesday night's convention — blurring the lines between the presidency and the campaign.

RNC highlights from Night 2

Aug. 26, 202003:54

2 dead, 1 injured after Wisconsin protests over police shooting erupt for third night

Two people were killed and one was injured as shots rang out during the third night of protests in Kenosha, Wisc., according to the city's police department.

The protests were sparked after a video shared on social media showed Jacob Blake, 29, being shot at close range police on Sunday.

Blake was shot seven times by an officer and he is now paralyzed from the waist down, family attorney Patrick Salvi said Tuesday. Doctors don't know if the condition is permanent.

"They shot my son seven times, seven times, like he didn't matter," his father, also named Jacob Black, told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "But my son matters, he's a human being and he matters."

Hurricane Laura grows stronger as it barrels toward Gulf Coast

Hurricane Laura strengthened to a Category 2 storm early Wednesday as it approached the U.S. Gulf Coast, with forecasters warning it is expected to get stronger still and be a "major hurricane" by the time it makes landfall.

The storm, which became a hurricane Tuesday morning, was "rapidly intensifying" at 2 a.m. Wednesday and had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

It was forecast to approach the upper Texas and southwestern Louisiana coasts Wednesday evening.

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THINK about it

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Quote of the day

"We've had a four-fer, with COVID, a heat wave, wildfires and the threat of roving power outages."

Janet Upton, a spokeswoman for Napa County and a former deputy director of Cal Fire, said about the multiple crises in California this summer.

A memorial lives on

Three months after George Floyd died at the hands of police and sparked a wave of protests around the country and the world, the site of his death has become a "sacred place."

Locals and visitors regularly gather at the spot throughout the day to remember Floyd and mediate on America's past and the ongoing struggle for racial equality.

"There’s a spirit that's here," Clifford Dodd, a Black vendor who was born and raised in nearby St. Paul, told NBC News.

A local Christian group prays at the site of his memorial in Minneapolis on Tuesday.Ed Ou / NBC News

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Thanks, Petra