The Republican National Convention continued Wednesday with speeches from Vice President Mike Pence, his wife, Karen Pence, and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
Pence delivered the evening's keynote address from Baltimore's Fort McHenry, whose defense of the city's harbor from the British in the War of 1812 inspired the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," and he's expected to lean heavily on patriotic themes as he makes the case for a second term and draws a contrast with former Vice President Joe Biden.
Conway had one of her most highest-profile moments just days before she leaves the White House. The senior adviser, who managed the president's campaign in the final months of the 2016 election, has announced she will leave the administration at the end of the month to focus more on her family.
Other featured speakers included White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany; Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Joni Ernst of Iowa; South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem; the president's daughter-in-law and campaign adviser Lara Trump; and the former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell.
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'There was no violation of law': White House responds to Hatch Act criticisms of last night’s RNC
In response to criticisms about President Donald Trump hosting a naturalization ceremony and pardoning a convicted felon during Tuesday night’s RNC broadcast, a White House official said "there was no violation of law."
"The president held a naturalization ceremony and pardoned an individual, which were official White House events," the official said in a statement. "The White House publicized the content of both events on a public website (Tuesday) afternoon and the campaign decided to use the publicly available content for campaign purposes."
The Hatch Act bars federal employees besides the president from engaging in political activities in their official capacity. Critics charged that acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf's presiding over a pre-taped naturalization ceremony during the convention may have been a violation.
Violations of the act can result in disciplinary actions or removal from the government, though such a strong response has not taken place in light of high-profile instances. On Tuesday night, another potential violation occurred when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke in a taped speech from Jerusalem.
In an interview with Politico on Wednesday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Pompeo was "talking in his personal capacity and used no federal assets to do that."
"Can they campaign from their official office? Absolutely not. But we also know that those lines are blurred," Meadows said.
FIRST READ: Republicans seek to sell kinder, gentler Trump
WASHINGTON — On Monday night, it was (mostly) fire and brimstone. Last night at the GOP convention, there was more of an effort to soften President Trump’s image.
Trump oversaw a naturalization ceremony — to counter his policies and rhetoric towards immigrants.
He pardoned a Black man — to counter the perception that he’s a racist.
And his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, expressed sympathy with those killed by the coronavirus and talked about the racial unrest — to counter the reality that her husband has spent too little time on these subjects.
Call it the Donald J. Trump Image Restoration Project.
It’s unclear this effort will work, especially when the president takes center stage on Thursday and for the rest of the campaign.
But they’re trying.
ANALYSIS: Trump's 'alternate reality' TV convention tests his beliefs about people
As he asks voters for a second term, Donald Trump has turned the Republican National Convention into a fantasyland version of his presidency. In this carefully curated world, staged by federal officials in Washington and Jerusalem, Trump has defeated coronavirus, saved the economy, built a border wall, established peace in the Middle East, recalled U.S. forces from theaters of war, and even become a champion of immigrants at a time when he is sharply curtailing their access.
The distance between reality and Trump's presentation is both a glaring weakness for the president and a gap in which he sees strength heading into the November election.
6 highlights from the RNC, Night 2: Melania, the Trump family, did anyone say COVID?
WASHINGTON — The White House was the star of the second night of the Republican National Convention as President Donald Trump's campaign trampled norms against using "The People's House" for campaign politics to cast it as the backdrop for first lady Melania Trump's keynote address.
Three of Trump's relatives spoke at the convention, which highlighted Trump's work on criminal justice reform, in contrast with his frequent warnings about crime, while largely ignoring the coronavirus crisis.
'An alternate reality': Biden campaign calls RNC a cover-up for Trump's COVID failures
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden's campaign said the second night of the Republican convention Tuesday was an attempt to create an "alternate reality" to cover up for President Donald Trump's failures.
Biden's deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, accused the GOP of papering over the continuing deaths and economic suffering in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"President Trump's RNC is an alternate reality," Bedingfield said. "Donald Trump’s continual refusal to take this virus seriously has given the United States the worst outbreak in the world, and his convention's refusal to come to grips with reality or acknowledge the magnitude of the loss is a stark reminder to Americans of his complete failure to lead."
The evening offered "no plan for overcoming the pandemic," she said.