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Updates and analysis from Day 4 of the Republican National Convention

The convention concluded with President Donald Trump's acceptance speech.
Image: President Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, will be the keynote speakers on the last night of the Republican National Convention on Thursday.
President Trump and his daughter Ivanka will be the keynote speakers on the last night of the Republican National Convention on Thursday.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The final day of the Republican National Convention took place on Thursday, culminating in President Donald Trump's speech accepting the Republican nomination for president.

Other speakers on Thursday included Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior adviser, and Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer.

Trump delivered his speech at the White House, a decision that critics have said could be a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in certain political activities. The president and vice president are exempt from the law but other White House employees are not.

Fact check: Cotton says Biden 'opposed the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.' This is misleading.

This is misleading. Biden has offered multiple versions of the advice he provided to Obama regarding whether the then-president should move forward the 2011 mission that ultimately killed bin Laden.

In 2012, Biden revealed what he told Obama during a Situation Room meeting where top administration officials were going around the room offering their advice president should or shouldn’t move forward.

"He got to me. He said, 'Joe, what do you think?' And I said, 'You know, I didn't know we had so many economists around the table.' I said, 'We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don't go. We have to do two more things to see if he's there,'" Biden said, according to reports at the time.

Five months later, he told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that he’d privately told Obama after that meeting had ended to, “Follow your instincts, Mr. President” and that Biden had “wanted him to take one more day to do one more test to see if he was there.”

He further leaned into that version in a 2015 interview, saying “that I thought he should go, but follow his own instincts.” Biden then contradicted his initial claims, saying, “imagine if I had said in front of everyone, 'Don't go,' or 'Go,' and his decision was a different decision. It undercuts that relationship.” 

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, in her 2014 book “Hard Choices,” wrote that Biden “remained skeptical” about the raid, while Gates in his 2014 book, wrote that he and Biden were both “skeptics.” 

Fact check: Cotton accurately quotes former Obama defense secretary on Biden

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., leveled several accusations against Joe Biden, mostly regarding his views and actions as vice president on foreign policy. This one, about what a former defense secretary had to say about Biden's judgment, is accurate. 

Cotton said that “Barack Obama's own secretary of defense said Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every major national security decision over the past four decades.”

This is true. Robert Gates, who served as President Obama’s secretary of defense for more than two years, wrote in his 2014 memoir, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary At War,” that Biden had “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

Ben Carson discusses Jacob Blake, says Trump isn't racist

Ben Carson made what appeared to be the first mention of Jacob Blake, the Wisconsin man shot seven times by police, at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.

"Before I begin, I’d like to say that our hearts go out to the Blake family,” Carson said. “The images everyone has seen from this tragic event in Kenosha are heart-wrenching. This action deserves a serene response, one that steers away from the destruction of a community that molded Jacob and his family into the kind of man his family and friends know today."

“In order to succeed in change, we must first come together in love of our fellow citizens,” he continued. “It may be hard to believe now, but indeed our country, our world, have been through worse and history reminds us that necessary change comes through hope and love, not senseless and destructive violence.”

Carson then transitioned his speech into pitching Trump as not racist, echoing several other speakers of color at the Republican convention.

NYPD union boss Pat Lynch underscores Trump’s law and order message

Pat Lynch is the president of the Police Benevolent Association, a union with 50,000 active and retired NYPD officers. While it is unusual for him to speak at a political convention, he has been a bullhorn for law enforcement in New York City and around the country, particularly as officers violently clashed with protesters calling for defunding the police.

Lynch has been at loggerheads with the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, and has generated controversy over the years, such as fiercely opposing the firing of the officer who killed Eric Garner. 

His RNC speech was similar to Trump’s rhetoric about Democratic-run cities. 

“The Democrats have walked away from us. They have walked away from police officers and they've walked away from the innocent people we protect,” Lynch said. “Democratic politicians have surrendered our streets and our institutions. The loudest voices have taken control, and our so-called leaders are scrambling to catch up with them.”

It’s worth noting that, according to The New York Times, major crimes have not risen in NYC and the paper’s analysis of city data shows that the recent spike in shootings is largely because of the number of arrests for gun crimes has sharply decreased.

RNC goes after Bill de Blasio. He’s not on the ballot and already has low approval ratings

The RNC played a montage fearing residents and tenant leaders from New York City’s House Authority buildings, which houses low-income New Yorkers. 

The residents and video slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is not on the Democratic ticket. What’s more, he was not invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention. Since the start of the pandemic and racial unrest, de Blasio has been routinely criticized by both conservatives and progressives. 

A Change Research poll in March put him at a 40 percent approval rating among the city’s residents.

Fox News runs Biden ad during Scavino speech

Fox News cut out of Dan Scavino's speech to show a new Joe Biden ad. 

The two-minute ad promotes Biden as a president who would move fast, particularly on the coronavirus epidemic.

UFC president praises task force that rarely met

Wife of retired police captain killed in George Floyd protests who gave emotional plea is exploiting his death, daughters say

The daughters of David Dorn, a retired police captain who was shot and killed outside a burglarized St. Louis pawn shop during protests stemming from George Floyd's death, told The St. Louis American that his widow is exploiting his death to bolster President Trump’s agenda. 

“We know his wife is a Trump supporter, but he was not,” Debra White, his daughter, told the paper, referring to his widow, St. Louis Police Sgt. Ann Dorn. “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-order agenda.”

Trump has threatened protesters and often muddled the line between those peacefully demonstrating and those who have exploited the protests.

His daughters told the paper that although their father loved being a police officer and knew Trump supported law enforcement, he was still aware of institutionalized bias as a Black man. 

“His passion for law enforcement ran deep,” said his daughter Lisa Dorn. “He was blue through and through, but he also was a man, a Black man, and he knew some not so good things come out of police departments. He tried to make a difference as much as he could, but he was part of a system with systematic racism.”

Ann Dorn, in her speech, gave an emotional plea for peace while talking about her late husband, and implored law enforcement agencies to accept federal help from Trump in the wake of protests. 

"We must heal before we can affect change. But we cannot heal amid devastation and chaos. President Trump knows we need more David's in our communities, not fewer," she said. "We need to come together in peace. And remember that every life is precious."

 

RNC plays video of younger voters denouncing liberalism

A video of unidentified younger voters played at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.

The video featured the voters denouncing liberalism, with some of them saying they had once believed in some of the tenets of the ideology but now support Trump instead.

It’s another example of Trump reaching out to disaffected progressive voters, some of whom voted for him in 2016. 

"The last time we had a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters," Trump said earlier this year. "I think if they take it away from him like they did the last time, I really believe you're going to have a very riotous time in the Democrat Party."

Sen. Bernie Sanders has implored his supporters not to turn against the Democratic party despite his losing the nomination.

At last week's Democratic convention, Sanders said, "My friends, I say to you, to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary, and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake."

RNC features a sports segment amid historic walkouts

One of the many video segments during the fourth and final night of the convention touched on American sports. But it comes at a historic moment.

The NBA is in the midst of a player walkout over police violence, one that has also reached Major League Baseball and the NHL. President Trump earlier on Thursday took a jab at the NBA, claiming its ratings were down. 

It's an odd juxtaposition and a reminder that while the RNC has sought to draw connections between Trump and parts of American culture, many parts of that culture do not feel particularly connected to Trump.

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