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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.

Hundreds of former aides to George W. Bush, John McCain endorse Biden for president

WASHINGTON — Several hundred former aides to President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain announced Thursday that they are endorsing Joe Biden for president.

The statements of support for the Democratic nominee come as President Donald Trump prepares to accept his party's nomination on the final night of the Republican National Convention.

A political action committee, 43 Alumni for Biden, that launched last month posted a list of nearly 300 members of the Bush administration or campaigns who are publicly backing Biden. The names range from members of the Cabinet, including former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and former Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, to ambassadors, to White House and advance staffers.

Meanwhile, more than 100 former staff of McCain's congressional offices and campaigns also endorsed Biden for president.

Read more on the endorsements.

Harris speech will 'prosecute the case against Trump,' aide says

Just hours before Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech tonight, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris, is expected to unleash her harshest criticism yet of the president and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“She will prosecute the case against Trump,” one Harris aide told NBC News.

Harris will speak at 3 p.m. in Washington “on President Trump's failures to contain COVID-19 and protect working families from the economic fallout” and the “Biden-Harris plan to contain COVID-19 and build a different path forward in America,” according to a press release.

 

Harris has done some virtual campaign events but this will be her first public appearance since the Democratic convention. The campaign is framing this as a response to the RNC and a prebuttal of the president. She isn’t taking questions afterward and neither she nor Biden have traveled anywhere since she was named his running mate in contrast to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who have crisscrossed the country over the same period.

The Democrats had previewed a robust counterprogramming effort this week, and while some top surrogates have held phone calls and briefings with reporters, so far their efforts have failed to break through, particularly against the backdrop of another Black man being shot and killed by police, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Hurricane Laura. Harris will “address Kenosha with emphasis,” an aide said.

Harris is also expected to focus on Biden’s plan for fighting COVID-19 by increasing rapid tests and imposing a mask mandate, and to excoriate Trump for his handling of the pandemic.

ANALYSIS: Pence is afraid that Biden doesn't scare voters

WASHINGTON — The only things Americans have to fear, Vice President Mike Pence suggested Wednesday, are their neighbors and his out-of-power predecessor.

"Joe Biden would double down on the very policies that are leading to unsafe streets and violence in America's cities," Pence said on the third night of the Republican National Convention. "The hard truth is, you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America."

Pence's tack reflects a larger Republican strategy for the convention and the broader Trump re-election campaign that tries to focus voters on a generic fear of the unknown rather than problems at hand. It is, of course, Trump and Pence who have presided over the coronavirus crisis and its devastating impact on the economy, the civil unrest in the wake of police killings of Black men, women and children, and the emboldening of white supremacist militia groups.

Read more of Jonathan Allen’s analysis of Day 3 of the RNC here.

FIRST READ: Real world chaos undercuts Trump's convention message

WASHINGTON — For most of this year, the events of 2020 have overshadowed the actual presidential campaign. And it’s happening again — as the Republican convention concludes and with 68 days until Election Day.

A powerful hurricane has slammed into the Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast. The shooting of Jacob Blake by police has resulted in unrest, further violence and the arrest of a 17-year-old charged with murder during the protests. Also because of the Blake shooting, professional athletes — from the NBA and WNBA, to Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and tennis star Naomi Osaka — walked off their respective courts and playing fields.

Two things can be true at the same time. One, this presidential election is so consequential, as Democrats and Republicans continue to remind us. And two, the actual campaigns — whether it’s the conventions or the limited campaign activity — seem so small compared with everything else.

Read more of Thursday's First Take here.

5 takeaways from the RNC, Night 3

On the third night of their national convention, Republicans warned "you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America" while largely ignoring that more than 1,000 people are dying every day on average of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence joined other speakers in suggesting Trump is the only thing standing between good, peaceable citizens and violent mobs, rampant abortion and the end of America as we know it.

RNC highlights from Night 3

Aug. 27, 202004:47

"Keep America America," said Lara Trump, the president's daughter-in-law. "Make America Great Again — again," Pence added.

Here are five takeaways from the third night of the RNC.

Fact check: Night 3 of the Republican National Convention

Night 3 of the Republican National Convention featured a number of elected officials, second lady Karen Pence and others who made the case for President Donald Trump's re-election during a program focused on "law and order" as protests grow over the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin.

Vice President Mike Pence also accepted his renomination with a speech praising Trump for his leadership, but he frequently distorted the facts.

Read our real-time fact-check.

Praising police, Mike Pence at RNC says 'you won't be safe in Joe Biden's America'

WASHINGTON — Driving President Donald Trump's "law and order" message, Vice President Mike Pence praised law enforcement on the third night of the Republican convention Wednesday against the backdrop of protests sparked by a police officer shooting a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

"Law and order are on the ballot," Pence continued. "The choice in this election is whether America remains America.”

The third night of the RNC — the traditional political pep rally that Trump is hoping will boost his flagging re-election campaign — was held as the country faces turmoil.

A teenager was arrested Wednesday for fatally shooting protesters in Wisconsin demonstrating against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. The NBA postponed playoff games in response to Blake’s shooting. Texas and Louisiana braced for a catastrophic hurricane. Deadly wildfires continued to burn in Northern California. All while the coronavirus death toll rapidly nears 200,000.

Read more about the third night of the RNC here.