The Republican National Convention kicked off Monday morning in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the official convention business took place place, with the vote on the formal nomination of President Donald Trump.
On Monday night, viewers heard from a long list of Trump supporters, including former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley; the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who controversially waved firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters outside St. Louis, Missouri, home earlier this summer, also delivered remarks.
Trump also appeared in a video with six people who his administration helped free after they had been taken into custody in countries around the world and held sometimes for years.
Follow coverage of the day's news on NBC News and MSNBC. NBC News NOW will livestream the convention each day, and NBCNews.com will have breaking news, analysis and fact checks.
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Sen. Tim Scott believes the debates will be the 'determining factor' in 2020 presidential election outcome
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the headliner of the RNC Monday night, said Tuesday that he believes the presidential debates will help determine how ultimately wins the presidential election in November.
In an interview on NBC's "TODAY" show," host Savannah Guthrie asked Scott if he thinks the current polls showing Biden ahead of President Donald Trump are off the mark.
"I mean the polls were off in 2016 I would not be surprised if the polls are off now but more importantly, we'd better use the next 70 days to sell our case. I think we're going to do so. I think October is the month to remember. In my opinion, elections don't really start until after Labor Day so where we are right now in this election cycle is less important than where we'll be in October," Scott said.
He added, "I'm looking forward to actually seeing this race sharpened, and then the debates will be the determining factor, in my opinion, of how this election turns out."
Fact check: Do Democrats want to give tax breaks to Manhattan millionaires?
Republicans repeatedly criticized Democrats for including a tax break that would affect high-earning taxpayers in states like California and New York in COVID-19 relief bills Monday night.
“And now Joe Biden wants to come for your pocketbooks. Unless of course you’re a blue state millionaire. I'm serious. That’s one of their solutions for the pandemic. They want to take more money from your pocket and give it to Manhattan elites and Hollywood moguls so they get a tax break,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said. Trump Jr. made a similar remark, too.
It's accurate to say that Democrats have advocated for repealing a Trump tax change that capped state and local tax deductions from federal taxes. The so-called SALT deduction benefits high-income earners in high-tax jurisdictions, like Manhattan and Hollywood. That said, Scott oversimplifies how tax cuts work — the SALT cap repeal isn't taking money from the poor and giving it to the wealthy, it's lowering how much blue state taxpayers pay on their own income.
It's also a decidedly partisan issue: the people hit by the SALT tax cap are typically from blue states like New York and California, both of which pay far more money into U.S. tax coffers than they receive in federal funding, making up for other states that receive more federal funding than their taxpayers put in. And this cap was written into Trump's tax overhaul to help pay for other tax cuts that benefited wealthy individuals and corporations.
Fact check: Scott says Biden's 1994 crime bill 'put millions of Black Americans behind bars'
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said Monday night that, “in 1994, Biden led the charge on a crime bill that put millions of Black Americans behind bars.”
The crime bill Scott references contributed to mass incarceration, studies have shown. Here's more context for the claim.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, or the 1994 crime bill as it became known, earmarked billions in funding for states to build new prisons, train and hire additional police, expanded the federal death penalty and instituted a federal "three-strikes" life sentence mandate.
Biden, then a U.S. senator from Delaware, helped write the bill, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Critics in both major political parties — not only Trump, but several of Biden’s former rivals for the Democratic nomination, including Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who is now his running mate — have said it contributed to mass incarceration.
Different studies have come to different conclusions. Some — like a 2016 Brennan Center analysis — have noted that though the bill was not the root cause of "mass incarceration," it was "the most high-profile legislation to increase the number of people behind bars.
The crime bill granted states billions to build prisons if they passed laws requiring inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences, the Brennan Center said, noting that 30 states introduced or amended laws between 1995 and 1999 so that they would be in compliance and receive the money. By 1999, 42 states had "truth-in-sentencing" laws on the books, which contributed to an increase in imprisonment.
But a 2019 report titled "Racial Disparity in U.S. Imprisonment across States and Over Time," published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, found that while the law increased overall mass incarceration, it did not widen the existing disparity between Black people and white people being imprisoned.
"Whatever its other effects, this suggests that the 1994 crime bill did not aggravate the preexisting racial disparity in imprisonment," the report said.
Others like Marc Mauer, the executive director of The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform and advocacy group, have said that suggestions that the bill was the key driver of mass incarceration were “off base.”
“Prison populations began to rise in 1973, and reached double-digit annual percentage increases in the 1980s. This was a national phenomenon, largely taking place at the state level, where more than 85 percent of prisoners are housed,” Mauer wrote for NBC News in 2016. “During these years virtually every state adopted some form of mandatory sentencing and harsher penalties for juvenile offenders, while also ramping up arrests for drug offenses.”
New Republicans-against-Trump group includes current officials, founder says
Former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor confirmed on Monday the creation of an anti-Trump group called the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (REPAIR). The group is made up of former U.S. officials, advisers and conservatives and organized by ex-Trump administration officials, Taylor said.
Taylor says at least two "senior officials" currently serving in the administration are joining the group, "anonymously at least at the outset," predicting that their presence will "irk" the president.
"We’ll have a broad group of Republicans focused on denying Trump a second term and, most importantly, planning for a post-Trump GOP and America," he said.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
No platform, a reverence for Trump: 4 key takeaways from Night 1
While the Democratic convention focused on persuasion and de-emphasized base mobilization, the Republican convention so far is focusing on base mobilization and de-emphasizing persuasion.
The president and his allies said the nation is spiraling into chaos and violence, promising that he will work to address it. The convention painted a dark and dystopian vision of the country if he were to lose to the Democratic ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, who were portrayed throughout as beholden to "radicals."
The effectiveness of the approach remains to be seen, but the mood on opening day was far from the "very optimistic and upbeat convention this week" that Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller previewed on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
Tim Scott's speech gets high marks on Twitter
Biden, Democrats focus their RNC counter-attack on Trump's 'failed' COVID-19 response
The opening night of the Republican National Convention railed against socialism, cancel culture, "woketopians," labor unions and calls to defund the police. But Democrats ignored much of that to keep their focus on President Trump's coronavirus crisis.
Democrats didn't engage with the red meat GOP speakers tossed to the virtual crowds and instead just referred back to the chaos they say Trump has caused in office.
"What (voters) will hear from Donald Trump this week are the last things our country needs: more desperate, wild-eyed lies and toxic division in vain attempts to distract from his mismanagement," said Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the Democratic nominee. "What they won't hear is what American families have urgently needed and been forced to go without for over seven consecutive months: any coherent strategy for defeating the pandemic."
Tim Scott, GOP's lone Black senator, ties his personal story to Trump’s re-election
Tim Scott, one of the most prominent Black Republicans in America, gave a stirring speech on Monday tying his personal journey from college dropout and son of a single working mother to lawmakers to Trump’s vision for the country’s future.
"Do we want a society that breeds success, or a culture that cancels everything it even slightly disagrees with?” Scott in his speech — which was notably different than other speakers on the main stage in that Trump was not the main focus — touted his legislative relationship with the president on the economy and education.
He painted Biden and Harris as the leaders of “radical Democrats” who want to turn American into a “socialist utopia.”
His speech was also designed as a pitch to Black voters, who almost universally support Biden and the Democratic ticket. Scott, who is the first Black senator from the South since Reconstruction, talked about Biden’s role in crafting the crime bill in the '90s and his gaffes on race.
"Make no mistake, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution. A fundamentally different America,” he said.
Fact check: Did Biden call Trump a racist over his coronavirus response?
“The president quickly took action and shut down travel from China. Joe Biden and his Democrat allies called my father a racist and xenophobe for doing it,” Trump Jr. claimed during his primetime Monday night address.
Biden has not directly called the president's travel restriction — which shut down some travel into the U.S. from China in earlier days of the pandemic — xenophobic and racist, but he did denounce Trump's coronavirus response as "xenophobic" both a day after the travel restriction was announced and in another tweet in March.
Was Biden describing the travel ban or the racist term Trump uses to describe the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan? Here's the tweet.
Biden has, more generally, characterized Trump as a racist.
“The way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” the Democratic nominee said in July, when asked about the president's repeated use of the racist term for the virus. “We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed. They’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.”
Fact check: Echoing Trump, McCloskey warns that Biden wants to abolish suburbs. (He doesn't).
Patty McCloskey, who along with her husband was caught on video brandishing firearms at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their St. Louis home in June, used her Republican National Convention speech to accuse Joe Biden and "radical" Democrats of wanting “to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning.”
“This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into now thriving suburban neighborhoods,” said McCloskey, who, along with her husband, Mark, was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon for the June incident.
These claims are all false.
Her statement echoes a key campaign claim by Trump, who has pointed to Biden’s support for an Obama-era rule designed to combat racial discrimination in housing as the basis of this allegation.
The policy pushed by Biden, however, only aims to help the federal government work with local government agencies to create more affordable housing units in all communities. That includes in “communities where U.S. government policies purposely excluded their ability to buy homes and rent homes” — like the suburbs.
The broader rule in question, the Affirmatively Further Fair Housing rule (AFFH), was designed to help implement provisions of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
Political analysts, including NBC News’ Jon Allen, have pointed out that Trump, in saying that Biden wants to abolish the suburbs," is actually saying that Biden just trying to enforce a federal rule designed to counter segregation in housing.
“His campaign sounds more like George Wallace than Ronald Reagan," Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins told Allen last month. "His message is clear: 'Elect me and I’ll keep Black people out of your neighborhoods and out of your schools.'"
Suburbs, of course, are, loosely defined; they are simply the areas around major metropolitan areas with more wealth and less housing density. And while it is accurate to say the racial composition of suburbs has changed significantly over time (in 2018, Pew reported that the white share of the population in suburban counties had fallen 8 percent, to 68 percent, since 2000), communities within suburbia remain highly segregated — for a complex set of reasons, Allen noted.
Trump, however, has said as much, arguing that local agencies should get federal housing subsidies even if they refuse to desegregate.
"The Democrats in D.C. have been and want to at a much higher level abolish our beautiful and successful suburbs by placing far-left Washington bureaucrats in charge of local zoning decisions," Trump said at a White House event last month. "Our plan is to protect the suburbs from being obliterated by Washington Democrats, by people on the far Left that want to see the suburbs destroyed — that don’t care. People who have worked all their lives to get into a community and now they’re going to watch it go to hell."
Trump Jr. blasts Biden, calls for 'an end to racism' in convention speech
Donald Trump Jr. delivered the penultimate speech at Monday night's Republican National Convention programming, blasting Democrats and Joe Biden, whom he called the “Loch Ness Monster of the swamp.”
He also lamented the so-called cancel culture and said, "Biden and the radical left are also now coming for our freedom of speech and want to bully us into submission."
"If they get their way, it will no longer be the 'Silent Majority,' it will be the ‘Silenced Majority.'"
The president's eldest son also called for putting “an end to racism,” though, peeling off from sentiment expressed by other speakers who said criticism of America as racist was misplaced.
"All men and women are created equal and must be treated equally under the law," Trump Jr. said. "That’s why we must put an end to racism, and we must ensure that any police officer who abuses their power is held accountable. What happened to George Floyd is a disgrace. And if you know a police officer, you know they agree with that, too."
Trump Jr. did have a couple of missteps in his speech, such as when he called the abbreviation for personal protective equipment "PP and E."
Nikki Haley claims American is 'not racist.'
In a speech featuring the notable claim that “America is not a racist country,” former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley spoke about a Republican vision of an America with a few problems that sort of, kind of, have a bit to do with race, but not ever racism.
Haley claimed that America — a country which enshrined equality in its foundational documents while millions of Black people living here would remain enslaved for 89 years after its founding — is not a nation riddled by racism. She instead spoke of growing up a “brown” girl in a black-and-white world. She spoke of her father’s work teaching at a historically Black college. However, most historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were created during Reconstruction, in the period just after the Civil War, at a time when most Southern institutions barred Black students from enrolling. Those conditions remained until the 1960s. Reconstruction was also the period in American history when the Klu Klux Klan formed to combat and ultimately end the brief period of Black empowerment and inclusion in public life.
Haley then referred to a racist mass murder at a Charleston, South Carolina church during her time in office. At the time, Haley said the state had “stared evil in the eye,” and should not forget its history, a “tough history,” as she ordered the Confederate flag removed from the South Carolina state Capitol grounds. Today, Black Americans lag behind white Americans on almost every major measure of economic and physical well-being tracked by researchers. Haley criticized those demanding wholesale change as the wrong focus and wrong approach to improving Black life in the United States.
A few speeches later, Sen. Tim Scott reminded viewers that the Civil War also began in South Carolina.
Telehealth has expanded under Trump — but largely due to the pandemic
Telemedicine has been expanding under the Trump administration, as Amy Ford, a registered nurse, said Monday night at the convention, but that's largely due to the health crisis created by the coronavirus.
Physicians and other medical personnel were forced to meet with patients virtually as hospitals and clinics became loaded by those with COVID-19 and potentially infected.
The Trump administration expanded the services that Medicare beneficiaries could get through telemedicine in March and the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that other restrictions on privacy and on e-prescriptions for controlled substances have been loosened. Insurers, too, have made changes to increase its use.
But technological disparities in the country — communities that lack broadband and people who have little digital-savvy — mean telemedicine is not available to everyone and may make some health gaps even worse. Also, KFF reported coverage and reimbursements are not uniform and most changes to telemedicine are temporary.
Fact check: Trump suggests Democrats want to get rid of the Postal Service. That's false.
During a televised conversation with frontline workers, the president falsely suggested Democrats are the party of “getting rid of our postal workers.”
“We’re taking good care of our postal workers,” Trump said. “Believe me, we're not getting rid of our postal workers, you know? They'd like to sort of put that out there. If anyone does it's the Democrats, not the Republicans.”
Democrats have spent months pushing for more funding to the U.S. Postal Service. This past weekend, the Democratic-controlled House bill advanced a bipartisan bill that put $25 billion in emergency funding toward the struggling USPS. President Trump has opposed such funding, in part because he has said he does not want to see increased mail voting, but said he's open to a compromise.
Fact check: Trump Jr. praises father's fast response to COVID-19 threat. The U.S. lagged.
Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, said Monday night that as the coronavirus "began to spread, the president acted quickly and ensured ventilators got to hospitals that needed them most.” He claimed that Trump “delivered PP and E to our brave frontline workers” and that “he rallied the mighty American private sector, to tackle this new challenge.”
Doctors, public health experts and a prominent Republican governor on the front lines of the pandemic have sharply criticized how slowly the Trump White House responded to the coronavirus, including the delays in the distribution of ventilators and personal protective equipment. Trump Jr.'s remarks omit Trump's own comments from January to March, months in which the president downplayed the threat and predicted the virus would disappear — time public health experts have contended cost the U.S. in terms of all-important testing.
Maryland’s Larry Hogan, a Republican, ripped Trump’s slow and “bungled” federal response on testing, ventilators and other equipment. Hogan, in fact, was so frustrated with the federal government’s inability to help the state acquire testing kits that he cut a deal with the South Korean government himself, going around the Trump administration, to acquire 500,000 testing kits for his state.
“I’d watched as the president downplayed the outbreak’s severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals. Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death,” Hogan wrote in an editorial for The Washington Post last month.
Trump, meanwhile, said on March 18 that he was going to invoke the Defense Production Act — a 1950 law allowing the president to force American businesses to produce materials in the national defense, such as ventilators and medical supplies for health care workers — but waited a week to actually invoke it, finally using it on March 27, to force GM to make ventilators.
During that key stretch, even hospitals and doctors implored the administration to use the Defense Production Act to increase the capacity to produce needed equipment. In a March 21 letter to Trump, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association all urged Trump to, "Immediately use the DPA to increase the domestic production of medical supplies and equipment that hospitals, health systems, physicians, nurses and all front line providers so desperately need.”
Meanwhile, Trump repeatedly dismissed how necessary masks were in helping to contain the spread of the disease until the middle of July — even though public health experts had long said that wearing masks in public is one of the best tools people have to cut down on transmission of the virus — saying at various points that he wanted "people to have a certain freedom" and that "masks cause problems, too."
In April, most Americans agreed that that Trump was too slow in his initial response to the threat, according to Pew Research.
Major GOP donor gives emotional speech
Maximo Alvarez, owner of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors in Florida, delivered an emotion-filled speech in favor of President Trump and against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
What stands out about Alvarez, aside from his personal story, is the amount of money he gave to Trump and the Republican National Committee before he spoke. The total, according to Federal Election Commission records, is just short of $220,000 over the last two election cycles — $150,000 for Trump and $68,900 to the RNC.
It is unusual for a political party to reserve a primetime speaking slot for someone who is both a major contributor and has not held a significant elective office.
A window on the real suburbia
A vision of the suburbs on repeat at the RNC Monday night was a crime-free zone of peace, and tranquility populated by white, gun-loving residents.
But the reality of the American suburbs and, by extension, America’s cities is something a bit different. In a series of analyses released by the Pew Research Center in 2018, researchers found that in America’s cities there is, collectively, no racial or ethnic majority. In the suburbs, white Americans make up about 68 percent of residents and Blacks and Latinos together another 25 percent. Immigrants, while still clustered in cities, are a fast-growing part of the population in suburban and rural areas too. What’s more, about 49 percent of immigrants – almost half – live in suburban areas and small cities. About 23 million poor people called the suburbs home before the pandemic. And about 35 percent of suburban residents described addiction as a “major problem” in their community, along with 50 percent of those who live in cities, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey.
The suburbs have changed so much that despite the constant RNC references to suburban utopias — ignoring the racist codicils and redlining that played a huge role in determining who could live where — the Trump campaign has said it is reconsidering this messaging.
Trump praises dictator in segment with freed hostages
In a recorded segment at Monday night’s RNC, President Trump praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while speaking with rescued American hostages, including Andrew Brunson, a pastor who was detained in Turkey — by Erdogan — several years.
"To me, President Erdogan was very good," Trump said at a meeting with hostages released under his administration.
According to Brunson’s Twitter bio he “was accused of being part of a terrorist group, the Gulen movement, and was arrested on October 7, 2016, by Turkey, latter charges of spying were added. Released October 12, 2018.”
Trump has never hid his praise for strongmen, such as Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
About those Nikki Haley VP rumors...
Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is speaking Monday at the Republican National Convention.
She will not be joining Donald Trump on the Republican ticket, however, as Vice President Mike Pence was renominated on Monday — squashing many months of rumors over whether Trump would replace his running mate in hopes of attracting new voters.
While speculation on the potential swap was rampant, it was not backed up by substantial reporting.
Fact check: Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
Trump brings up unproven COVID-19 treatments in segment with front-line workers
During a conversation with front-line workers aired during the RNC, President Trump again talked up unproven treatments for COVID-19 — hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc — and implied that partisanship had infected the studies that found hydroxychloroquine to be an ineffective treatment.
Speaking to a detention worker in California who had recovered from COVID-19, Trump asked what doctors have given him as treatment. The worker said he was given a Z-pack, or azithromycin, as well as cough syrup.
“OK, and I won't even ask you about the hydroxychloroquine,” Trump said, while talking with a front-line worker who had contracted the coronavirus and said he’d taken azithromycin. “It's a shame what they've done to that one. But I took it. I took the Z-pack also. And zinc.”
Trump has said he took those medications prophylactically this year, but there is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug often used to treat lupus and rheumatoid diseases, is an effective treatment for coronavirus. Studies around the world have found it to be ineffective or harmful to patients. In June, a slew of studies dampened hopes around the drug's ability; the National Institutes of Health halted a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine after concluding the treatment was “very unlikely” to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Studies have also not found that the drug acts as a prophylactic, either. There’s no evidence that anything other than the scientific method has been inflicted on the study of hydroxychloroquine.
And finally, azithromycin — commonly known as a Z-pack — and zinc have not yet proven to be effective treatments for COVID-19.
A tale of two conventions
Gun waving St. Louis couple says no one will be safe if Biden wins
The first night of the Republican convention was billed as presenting an “optimistic” look at the country. Meanwhile, a gun-waving St. Louis couple who went viral for taking on protesters in front of their home said no one in the U.S. will be safe if Joe Biden wins this fall.
“But in all seriousness, what you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country,” Patricia McCloskey said. “And that’s what we want to speak to you about tonight.”
“These are the policies that are coming to a neighborhood near you,” she added. “So make no mistake: no matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”
Mark and Patricia McCloskey spoke to bolster Donald Trump's rhetoric around ongoing nationwide anti-police brutality protests. Personal injury lawyers, the McCloskeys have since been charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon after going viral for their confrontation with protesters in June.
“Not a single person in the out-of-control mob you saw at our house was charged with a crime. But you know who was? We were,” Mark McCloskey said. “They’ve actually charged us with a felony for daring to defend our home.”
In Missouri “it is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in nonviolent protest,” St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner has said.
MAGA, can you hear me? Kimberly Guilfoyle gives high-volume speech to empty room
In a forceful speech Monday night that could likely be heard by everyone, Trump surrogate Kimberly Guilfoyle defended the president’s politics and trashed his rivals for impeding his progress.
She said that “this election is a battle for the soul of America,” a phrase also used by the Biden campaign.
"They want to enslave you to the weak, dependent, liberal, victim ideology, to the point that you will not recognize this country or yourself,” she also said.
The reaction to her speech on social media was largely not about its dark, brooding message but her speaking volume, which may have worked in a crowded conventional hall, not an empty room.
A new contribution to the genre of official Black-friend testimonials
Former football player Herschel Walker took on the now recurrent ritual of attesting to be the Black friend of someone credibly accused of racism. Walker’s contribution to the genre: He said takes it as a personal insult to hear anyone suggest that he would be friends for 37 years with anyone who is a racist.
“It hurts my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald,” Walker said. "The worst one is 'racist.' ... People who think that don’t know what they are talking about. Growing up in the Deep South, I have seen racism up close. I know what it is. And it isn’t Donald Trump.”
Trump’s résumé in the racism arena is long. In 1973, the U.S. Justice Department sued Trump Management, then run by Trump and his father, for refusing to rent to Black tenants and operating a system to prevent any such rental agreements. The matter was settled by consent decree in which the Trumps had to meet certain court-monitored conditions. The day that he declared his intention to run for the White House in 2015, Trump falsely described Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and people with “lots of problems,” “bringing drugs” and crime into the country. And in January 2019, during a White House meeting with a bipartisan group of senators, Trump described Haiti and a series of African nations as “shithole countries” sending unwanted immigrants to the U.S. Trump them bemoaned the limited number of immigrants from places like Norway. The list goes on.
Vernon Jones, a Black Democrat and Georgia lawmaker, comes out in support of Trump
Last week’s DNC featured a slew of Republican voices coming out in support of Biden.
The RNC’s answer to that on Monday night was to feature a speech from Vernon Jones, who serves in the Georgia statehouse. Jones ripped into his own party’s leaders (Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer) and touted Trump’s agenda.
"The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave the mental plantation they've had us on for decades,” he said. “But I have news for them: We are free people with free minds."
Jones resisted calls to resign from party leaders. He slammed the direction of the Democratic party and signaled to Black voters to support Trump.
“I’m here to tell you that Black voices are becoming more woke,” Jones said.
St. Louis couple who waved guns at protesters speaks during Republican convention Monday
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who made national news after they were seen waving guns at protesters as demonstrators neared their St. Louis area home in June, are speaking at the Republican National Convention on Monday to further bolster Donald Trump's rhetoric around ongoing nationwide anti-police brutality protests.
The McCloskeys, who are both personal injury lawyers, have each since been charged with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last month, the couple is "almost always in conflict with others, typically over control of private property, what people can do on that property, and whose job it is to make sure they do it."
The incident was the subject of scorn on the left while gun rights advocates and conservative media hailed the two as heroes for their actions.
Jim Jordan seeks to promote Trump's 'empathy' after DNC zeroes in on Biden quality
After blasting Democrats, Rep. Jim Jordan sought to paint Donald Trump as an empathetic leader — a quality Democrats spent days promoting in Joe Biden at their convention last week.
Jordan discussed how Trump connected with his family after a nephew died in a car accident two years ago.
"For the next five minutes, family and friends sat in complete silence, as the president of the United States took time to talk to a dad who was hurting," Jordan said. "That’s the president I know."
Fact check: Republicans claim Democrats want to defund the police. Biden isn't in favor.
Republican speakers made misleading claims about calls from some politicians to reform or defund the police during the first night of the RNC.
“The police aren’t coming when you call in Democrat-run cities. They’re already being defunded, disbanded. Blaming our best and allowing society's worst? That's the story they write in Hollywood,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said in his remarks.
“Democrats spent a lot of time talking about how much they despise our president. But we heard very little about their actual policies. Policies that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. Policies like banning fossil fuels, eliminating private health insurance, taxpayer-funded health care for people who come here illegally, and defunding the police,” Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel said shortly after, referring to last week's Democratic National Convention.
While there are some on the left who have embraced calls to cut police funding, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are not among them. Biden says he supports adding funding for local police forces and using more psychologists and social workers to do police work. The official Democratic Party platform, approved last week, does not include any references to defunding the police.
Asked recently by ABC News if he supports defunding the police, Biden said “No, I don’t.”
There are some cities run by Democratic mayors that have sought to reduce police funding — New York City shifted $1 billion in funding out of the police budget — and some, like Minneapolis, have considered a fundamental rethinking of policing. But that doesn't mean Americans have been left without police. New York City’s police still has a $5 billion operating budget. Efforts to disband the Minneapolis police through a ballot initiative have so far failed.
Trump revives racist term when talking about coronavirus
When President Trump spoke to a group of essential workers, some of whom survived COVID-19, in a maskless, not-so-socially-distanced meeting at the White House he revived a racist term for the virus.
"I'm for the nurses. I'm for the doctors. I'm for everybody. We just have to make this China virus go away and it's happening,” Trump said in a segment.
Despite being criticized for using it and the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, Trump continues to use the phrase in press conferences and on Twitter.
Trump hosts a group chat that echoes Biden's from last week
In one of President Trump's first prime-time convention appearances, he spoke in a recorded segment from the White House with a handful of people on the front lines of the coronavirus battle including nurses, police officers and postal workers.
The segment echoed Biden's video roundtables from last week, which were done through video chats rather than in person.
Republicans play misleading video praising Trump's coronavirus response
A video played at the Republican National Convention tonight mocked Democrats and experts for their early remarks and analysis on the coronavirus and praised President Trump as the only leader who took quick and decisive action.
But the video left out any reference to Trump's own remarks from January through early March on the virus, during which he was downplaying entirely whether the country faced any threat from it.
“We have it totally under control,” Trump said in January. “It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
In fact, Trump continued to downplay the virus and recommendations from health experts on how to stop the spread. Experts told NBC News recently that the administration's mixed messaging on masks cost lives.
Welcome to the RNC. This is Trump Country.
In the first minutes of the RNC, early hints of its overarching themes emerged: Republicans are the only real and loyal Americans; they love Trump, support capitalism, and believe that Trump has done more for Black and Latino Americans than anyone else, especially that 1994 crime bill architect, Joe Biden.
And, here to tell you about it: a smattering of people of color and mostly white Americans in public office who approve of the content of the Trump presidency or campaign. There are also private citizens who came to national notoriety for assorted displays of insensitivity or racism, such as the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters, and several people who are known for defying the scientific consensus about the spread of the coronavirus.
Coronavirus counterprogramming from Dems
The Democratic National Committee is using a projector to counterprogram the Republican convention, turning the wall of a nearby building into a giant screen to attack Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Fox cuts off RNC chair McDaniel
Matt Gaetz throws red meat to base, knocks Democratic 'woketopians'
Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican who is one of Donald Trump’s most loyal congressional backers, filled a speech with anti-Biden jokes and outlandish claims about Democrats.
Gaetz criticized what he deemed “woketopians” in the Democratic Party and claimed Democrats “will disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door. And the defunded police aren’t on their way.”
Blasting Biden for campaigning from home during the pandemic, labeling him “basement-dwelling Joe Biden,” Gaetz spent much of the speech launching attacks on Democrats while praising Trump for having a mind “as powerful as any brick and mortar.”
DNC offers some counterprogramming in Washington
Kim Klacik, a Black Republican, gets a national debut at RNC
Republican congressional candidate Kim Klacik, a nonprofit founder and member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, was one of the first group of speakers on Monday night.
Klacik went viral this month and got the attention of President Trump when she released a campaign ad of her marching through streets of vacant houses in Baltimore and placing the blame for the city’s issues squarely on Democratic leadership — an oft-repeated Trump-ism.
"The Democrats have controlled my city, Charm City, for over 50 years and they have run this beautiful place into the ground," she said in her speech.
Klacik, who is Black, is running for a House seat she is unlikely to win — it’s a blue district that Elijah Cummings represented for more than 20 years until his death in 2019. Nevertheless, her speedy rise to prominence may signal a future in the national party, which struggles with attracting Black support.
Pompeo to address RNC in unprecedented appearance for America’s top diplomat
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a defender of the president, will address the RNC but it will be in his personal capacity, a senior administration official told NBC News Monday.
“No State Department resources will be used. Staff are not involved in preparing the remarks or in the arrangements for Secretary Pompeo's appearance,” the official said. “The State Department will not bear any costs in conjunction with this appearance.”
However, Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, raised serious questions about his appearance, saying in a Monday statement that two internal State Department documents suggest Pompeo “will violate legal restrictions on political activities” by appearing. (The Hatch Act prohibits government employees from engaging in certain political activity.)
Traditionally, Secretaries of State abstain from politics, and there is no example of a sitting Secretary of State speaking at a political nominating convention in modern American politics. Pompeo is traveling abroad in Israel and will most likely tape his remarks.
Who is Charlie Kirk? Conservative provocateur speaks first at RNC
Charlie Kirk is the first speaker on Monday's RNC program.
A 26-year-old conservative activist, Kirk founded Turning Points USA, a conservative nonprofit, when he was 18 and has become one of the biggest rising stars in the Republican Party. He often does outreach to other youth groups and young adults to join the conservative movement.
Kirk is an ardent Trump supporter, and the president has spoken at Kirk’s organization a number of times. He has often amplified some of the president’s debunked conspiracy theories, such as those about the coronavirus and Chinese spying.
Opening RNC video features actor Jon Voight
The opening video of the RNC featured a familiar voice: Jon Voight.
Voight is one of the most outspoken Republicans in Hollywood and has been a staunch supporter of President Trump. Voight regularly posts videos to his Twitter feed extolling Trump and urging voters to support him.
Trump Jr. speech was pre-taped
Donald Trump Jr.'s speech was expected to be live, but a source familiar with the matter says he recorded it earlier Monday.
President Trump criticized the DNC last week for using pretaped remarks.